I want to BASE jump!
Throwing yourself out of planes isn’t exciting enough anymore, and you want to learn to BASE jump? Cool. First things first. Yes, you can take the easy way: find a friend dumb enough to loan you a BASE rig, and just go jump off something tall. After all, how hard can it be?!
Well, let’s be real—the jumping part is easy. The “landing without broken legs or death” part is a bit harder. Plus, while you might think that being an idiot and breaking yourself hurts only you, it also makes the rest of us look bad. Just don’t.
So let’s talk about the slightly harder, but much safer, way to do things.
Numero uno: rack up some skydives. All reputable BASE courses require you to have at least 200 skydives before they’ll teach you. Now this doesn’t mean that you’ll definitely be ready at 200 skydives. BASE jumping is the kind of sport where more training and preparation will only make you safer, so don’t rush it. If you feel like you still have things to learn at 200 jumps, keep jumping and wait a bit before taking that first BASE jump course. The bridge will still be there when you’re ready.
What type of skydives will help you train for BASE? Well, you’re most likely to learn to BASE jump doing subterminal jumps off a bridge. Your terminal skydiving skills aren’t going to help you there because you won’t be falling fast enough to control yourself the way you do on a skydive. That part you’ll need to train separately. What is important to train in skydiving is your canopy skills. You need to become the best canopy pilot you can.
One great way to do this is to go on some CReW jumps with experienced CReW Dogs. What is CReW? CReW is Canopy Relative Work, or canopy formation flying. CReW is great if you want to learn to BASE jump because you’ll spend your whole skydive under canopy, learning to fly your canopy using all inputs available, and flying relative to other people, which gives you a great frame of reference for how your actions affect your flight. As a bonus, CReW canopies are very similar to BASE canopies—far more similar than standard skydiving canopies. How do you find your local CReW (or CRW) dogs? Ask the organizers at your dropzone or check your local skydiving groups on Facebook.
Now you’ve got over 200 skydives, you’ve done some CReW, you’re feeling good about your canopy skills, and you’ve skydived enough that you feel like you’re good in high pressure situations and you keep your head well. Now you can hit up one of the people teaching first BASE jump courses, or even better, you can take a pre-first BASE jump course from Next Level. You’ll learn to back a BASE rig, jump your BASE canopy on skydives to learn how it flies, and learn some theory so you’re super prepared and ready to go before you even get to your first jump course.
Remember, there’s no such thing as being too prepared or too ready. While money may seem like a big factor, getting the right training is always worth the investment and will more than pay for itself in the long run.
See you on an exit point somewhere!