No one’s keeping score but it’s no secret women are a minority in BASE. Yet women have been instrumental in making the sport what it is today, from Jean Boenish, BASE #3, who was there from the sport’s inception and who managed BASE numbers and ran Bridge Day for years; to Marta Empinotti, one of the sport’s longest active jumpers and founder of multiple BASE equipment companies from Vertigo to Apex BASE; to Anne Helliwell, inventor of the tailgate. A combination of personal reticence and the presence of more (and louder) male voices in the sport have overshadowed this impressive legacy.
That imbalance was one reason Cassie Hero wanted to put female BASE jumpers front and center by organizing a women’s BASE event at the Perrine Bridge in Idaho this past April. The Ladies BASE Boogie 2018 was sponsored by a who’s who list of brands including Apex, SafeISH, Squirrel, Asylum, Sigma, basegear.net, Team Ill Vision, Adidas, Yogapaws, Evolv, Kraken and Bold Clothing Factory, which provided the event T-shirts. It was the first event of its kind, offering women a chance to jump with and learn from other women in the sport. Around 40 women attended, with a collective 7,568 BASE jumps between them (not including Marta’s approximate 1,500 jumps).
After a windy, weathery Friday, the event kicked off Saturday morning with an accuracy contest. Katie Hansen put her mad canopy skills to good use, winning a Suga yoga mat and water-bottle set. Cassie convinced a number of people to try Chuma’s infamous famous trap door, which, she says, “was my favorite part of the event.” Jumping continued all day, with BASE Mama Luanne Horting out taking fantastic photos of the fun.
After sunset, attendees convened at the Twin Falls Sandwich Company for a women-only dinner and raffle. Cassie acted as master of ceremonies, fully prepared for the occasion in a “Womb Tang Clan Ain’t Nothing to Mess With” shirt. The raffle was followed by a talk from the one and only Marta Empinotti, who shared insights from her career as a BASE jumper and BASE teacher, highlighting recent trends in the sport that she’s noticed. (Details of her talk cannot be printed here, for all present swore a blood oath never to betray sacred LadyBase secrets to any of the male persuasion.) (If you’re especially gullible—that’s all true.)
Sunday was a beautiful day and many more jumps were made. Gear demos from Squirrel and Apex were available even in small-person sizes (!) and knowledge was shared and much fun was had. Props must be given to Cassie’s impressive organizational skills, which showed her undeniable passion and dedication for the event. Mention must also be made Matt Laj (who ran the accuracy comp and was a big help for the overall event) and Pepe Campos, who showed guys what supporting women is all about.
In conclusion, BASE jumping is awesome. Women are awesome. Women who jump are awesome. We need more events for women who jump, so let’s hope this thing becomes a thing.
Thank yous to: Bonnie from Bold Clothing Factory for help with the shirts; Andi for logo design; Team Ill Vision/Avery Badenhop for t-shirts; Johnny from basegear.net for tailgate kits; Sigma for sunglasses; Chuma for Yerba Mate; Marta for speaking; Arlette & Mara for donations; Shane and Twin Falls Sandwich Company for a free space for the event and staying open late.
15 Adidas gift/grab bags to first people to register
ID Base packing stake – Katie Hansen
Blue Skies magazine subscription – Felicia Sturgeon
Blue Skies digital subscription – Shanon Searls
YogaPaws – Rochelle Dixon
Kraken stash bag – Corinne Bartschi
Black Sheep Stash Bag – Daisy Henderson
Safeish hoodie – Caren Bearinger
Safeish hoodie – Marta Empinotti
Apex bag – Jocelyn
Apex bag – Becky Jose (Rebecca Baird)
$200 base gear certificate – Andrea Chan
lady base flag – Cat Vaillencourt
Asylum Toxic PC – Andi Greyling
Asylum Toxic PC – Brandy Lynn
$100 Adidas gift card – Jessica Maviano
$200 Adidas gift card – Jules
evolv shoes – Alyssa Green, Crystal Diaz, Rachel Kanowsky, Emilie Berges
$200 from Squirrel – Cindy Karles
$500 from Squirrel – Taz
VHS & $$ from Ill Vision – Bee Goncalves
DVDs from Ill Vision – Nachelle, Mara, Heather, Bo, Trina
shot glass – Arlo
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