“Sunshine Superman” review

“If there are mountains let’s climb ‘em. If there are buildings let’s jump off of ‘em.”

For a long time, Carl Boenish has been a legend to skydivers and BASE jumpers. He is considered the father of BASE jumping, and his innovative videography of skydiving and BASE was hugely influential in spreading awareness of those sports to the mainstream in the 1970s and 80s. But outside of airsports communities, today almost no one knows who he is.

Sunshine Superman, the new documentary by Marah Strauch, is poised to change that. I attended a press screening of the film in April, and I can safely say that this film is going to appeal to the mainstream in much the same way that Carl’s work did.

The movie features countless clips of Carl’s original 16mm footage alongside interviews with everyone from his wife and BASE partner Jean Boenish to Bill Wednt, the Yosemite park ranger responsible for first deciding to officially allow BASE in the park on a limited permit basis, then responsible for banning it. The film includes some reenactments, of things like a car driving along a road, but all of the skydiving and BASE footage is of the actual original jumps and jumpers. I cannot exaggerate how amazing this is, and how rare. How often when history is being made is one of the key participants a filmmaker who insists on filming every last bit of it?

And the footage is spectacular. When Carl and his friends did their first jumps from El Capitan in Yosemite, Carl had multiple cameras running including setups rigged to the jumpers’ helmets. For the first building jump his crew completed, in Houston, Texas, Carl actually hired a helicopter to get outside video. For him, the filmmaking was as important as the jumping, even when it added extra complications. Nick Di Giovanni’s writeup of BASE history includes a quote from Tom Start stating, ”You never want to go anywhere with Carl Boenish. He makes you walk up and down the same sections of the trail over and over as he films from this angle, that angle, then another angle.”

However frustrating his obsession with recording might have occasionally been at the time, the payoff for us, his future audience, is absolutely priceless. Marah Strauch’s team has done an amazing service in restoring much of his footage (100,000 feet of 16mm film in reversal stock!), and Jean Boenish has given us all a big gift in protecting it and now sharing it.

I felt that the one deficit in the film was the lack of tying Carl’s work to the modern BASE world. What Carl started with modified sky gear, notes scribbled at a coffee table, and sheer gumption has exploded into a diverse world of specialized equipment, ever-expanding possibility, and milestones realized all over the world. (The closest the film gets to hinting at this is the final scene, of a wingsuiter successfully completing the jump that took Carl’s life.) It touches only lightly on the controversies that arose around BASE, resulting in its status as a generally illegal activity today—at least in the US, the very country where it began. People outside the community watching the film will end with little knowledge of what BASE has become today, although the spirit of the activity does shine brightly throughout the film.

But those of us in and connected to the community—we know. And what we see in the film is a joyous, madcap, intelligent, shining reflection of BASE and BASE jumpers today. It rings deeply true, from the baffled park ranger asking, “How do you herd of a bunch of cats?” to the circus antics. From the intersection of intellectual analysis and physical exuberance to the wide grins and joie de vivre, from the dreams dashed to the dreams achieved—it’s all there.

Like Carl, this film is going to speak to skydivers and BASE jumpers, while also acting as an emissary to the rest of the world about why we love this crazy sport. Like Carl, it uplifts, inspires, and moves the progression of humanity and our dreams further along. We can’t ask for more than that.

Mara Schmid

Contributor

About the author: Mara Schmid is a writer, skydiver and the Editor-In-Chief of Hussy Magazine, www.hussymag.com.

BSBD Dean Potter, Graham Hunt – wingsuit BASE accident in Yosemite

BSBDcropDean Potter and Graham Hunt were killed during a wingsuit BASE jump in Yosemite Valley, California on Saturday, May 16, 2015.

The plan was to have been for a wingsuit BASE jump from Taft Point in Yosemite National Park (7,500 feet). When support crew was not able to make contact following the jump, a rescue mission was launched. Reports mention that neither parachute had been deployed. Both were highly experienced and skilled as jumpers and climbers, with solid knowledge of the area.
The accidents remain under investigation. BASE jumping is not currently legal in the national park.

Our deepest sympathies to their families and friends around the world.

News Reports: Outside.com, BBC News, Time

Job Opening: Para Concepts seeks Rigger



 

PC logo

Para Concepts is seeking a Master Rigger, or Senior Rigger with Master aspirations. We are a mid-sized loft, focusing on custom rigging solutions, canopy repair, relines, and swoop accessories, with a steady customer base from the area drop zones and a very busy internet/ mail order presence as the ICARUS Factory Service Center.

Typical projects include: Inspection and repacks, major and minor canopy repair, relines, jumpsuit repair, harness repair, fabrication of paramotor risers, linesets and sliders, gear consultations, and sales.

The ideal candidate will have the following:

  • Senior Rigger Certificate.
  • 3 years minimum rigging experience.
  • Strong sewing skills.
  • Flexibility in daily tasks and scheduling.

Para Concepts is a year-round facility, so we are looking for someone who would like to move to the area. We are located in Ottawa, IL, just minutes from Skydive Chicago, and within driving distance of 2 wind tunnels, several drop zones of all sizes, and the stunning skyline of Chicago.
We offer rigging courses and a DPRE on site for applicants wanting to add a rating or test for the Master Rigger’s Certificate. As a member of PIA, we are very focused on continuing education for our staff and our customers.

Applicants must be legal to work in the USA.
Please send resumes to sales@paraconcepts.com

Contour and iON Cameras Announce Merger

Cont-iON

The Contour camera has been a pretty popular choice in the POV market in recent years, well liked by the adventure sports crowd. The sleek, low-profile design made it a favorite amongst skydivers who favor mounting the camera on the side of a helmet rather than on top (like the GoPro).

Founded in 2004, the Contour cameras faced stiff competition from GoPro and other POV ‘action cameras’. In the fall of 2013 Contour shut it’s doors and announced closure, but reemerged early 2014 for another go.

Now Contour has merged with iOn Cameras, likely to take on the GoPro giant. We are happy to see the Contour stay on the market, and hope that this merger will yield some more options for skydiver. The iON action cameras have long appealed to the budget conscious customer, so hopefully we will see the best of both worlds in future releases.

 

Click here to read press releases on the Contour website (or the iON website). 

 

 

 

Jetman Dubai: Young Feathers 4K

Phenomenal video from Jetman Dubai: Young Feathers 4k.

Yves Rossy is well known for his pursuit of engine-powered flight for humans – outside of the traditional vehicle of aircrafts. The second person in this phenomenal duo is Red Bull athlete Vince Reffet. Vince hardly needs an introduction in the world of skydiving or BASE jumping. Named Yves’s protegé, Vince and Yves are now flying together with amazing precision and choreography.
The desolate sand dunes and bustling city of Dubai provide an amazing and hugely contrasting backdrop for the aerial dance of two jet-powered humans.  The video is just over 11 minutes long and will hold you captivated from start to finish. 

Perhaps my most favorite part of the video is where Yves says:

“I’m not playing with death, I am playing with life”.

 

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