1000 BASE jumps

1000 BASE jumps
B – 97 A– 60 S – 594 E – 191 O – 58

No. of Objects: 107

100– Flat n stable – Bridge
200– Front flip – Cliff
300– Waterfall – Cliff
400– Handheld – Turbine
500– Handheld – Turbine
600– PCA – Cliff
700– Double Gainer – Bridge
800– Handheld – Bridge
900– Static Line – Building
1000– PCA – Bridge

It’s kinda strange to be sitting here writing this. When I first started jumping I had no idea if I would even make 100 jumps, let alone 1000. I’ve said this many times to people but when you do nothing else the numbers just seem to tick by, almost without you noticing.
When I had about 250 jumps I walked on a six figure salary, got divorced, and moved to Idaho to pursue this full time. I wanted jumping to be a huge part of my life, not just something I did on the side. Now it occupies pretty much all of my decision making in life. I have extremely limited contact with anyone outside of the jumping world and while a lot of people might find that sad it has all been by design.

I grew up doing martial arts and attaining a Black Belt was always the ultimate goal. What I’ve found in many pursuits is that once you reach the place you think you want to be at you find yourself at the beginning of an entirely new journey. There is no ceiling to progression within anything. The higher up the ladder you get you just start to refine things more and more. It’s kinda like once you finish a computer game then go back down through the levels to find all the secret stuff you missed along the way.
I first started looking towards 1000 jumps as ‘my black belt’ when I had about 300 jumps. ‘Then I’ll be a master’ I used to think.

Now that I have ‘arrived’ I am at that new beginning. I still feel like a complete noob a lot of the time. In one particular martial art they say something to the effect of ‘when you get your black belt, then you start really learning.’ For the record I by no means think I have a black belt now. As time goes on I actually feel more and more like a white belt and I’m hopeful that if I keep that mentality that I will be able to do this for a lot longer. What I’ve found in this world is that for the most part people don’t give a fuck about how many jumps you have and I love that. We are all on the same path, some are just a little further along than others. The people ahead of you help those behind you and we all move forward together. Those who jump with me regularly know that I happily walk away when I’m not feeling it, I don’t jump wasted or hungover, and I’m actually pretty conservative. I view my decisions as being very analytical and I train really hard to do the things that from the outside may look risky or stupid.
That’s not to say that I haven’t made some stupid decisions along the way. As the old saying goes ‘good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement.’ I’ve also learned how to live a simpler, less material, way of life. People say this all the time but jumping is just a part of it. It’s being in nature, hiking, having deep conversations with people you’ve just met, traveling to new places, being in the moment, sleeping under the stars. It’s everything.

As a tribute to my mindset of being an eternal student I got PCA’d from the bridge I learned to jump at for my 1000th. What better way to celebrate this milestone by reminding yourself of how it all started?

I’m now fortunate enough to be able to give back to new jumpers and guide them on their own journeys, never pushing in one direction or another, but there for them nonetheless. There were countless people that helped me when I was getting started, most of whom I will never be able to repay. For that reason I take the approach of – If you can’t pay it back, pay it forward.
There is no real earth shattering advice I can really offer to new jumpers as one thing I’ve learned many times is that people are gonna do what they want regardless of what you advise them. It doesn’t matter where someone learns, how structured their introduction, or how prepared they are prior to starting. People are simply people. Whoever you are in your normal life is going to follow you into BASE and one way or another people find out very quickly if this is something they wanna do or not. I promise you that being a BASE jumper is fuckin hard work.
The best advice I c

an give is simply ‘take your time’ – there is no rush and if you do try and rush things you will miss out on the journey which is what it’s all about at the end of the day as clique as that might sound.

BASE is a very personal journey and even though you meet amazing people and get to share some of the most intense experiences in life together when you leave the edge you are all alone. To me there is no equal to the level of personal responsibility, and acceptance of what happens when you leave the edge. Everything in the world disappears during those moments and that’s one of the main reasons I feel we are all pulled into it.

Part of me feels like 1000 jumps is a great accomplishment but a bigger part of me almost wants to hide it. I guess as time has gone on I’ve become more humble and as a result I can help more people out on their own journeys vs having tunnel vision about my own. I started BASE for extremely selfish reasons, a very personal journey, and in the process I discovered that I love to help others follow a similar yet equally unique path.
I do most of my jumping off The Bridge in Twin. That’s where I train, and learn. Then I go on trips to test myself, come back for more training and the cycle repeats. Jumping still scares me and the only way I can stay ontop of my fear is by staying extremely current and by having arguably one of the best objects in the world in my back yard to practice on. People give me shit sometimes for most of my jumps being here but at the end of the day people can think whatever they like. I moved here so I could jump the bridge all the time and I sacrificed fucking EVERYTHING in order to do so. If you wanna downplay that then be my guest. I’ll still be here jumping.

I don’t view my numbers as a representation of skill, competence, or status. They simply represent my commitment, and love of jumping.
This post wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t give a huge thank you to Tom and Cheri. Without them giving me countless opportunities my life wouldn’t exist as it currently does and I will be forever grateful to them for that.
ONWARD.

 

john