BASE Jumping at Bridge Day 2015
Our new BASE consultant is bringing creative ideas to Bridge Day 2015, including options for background checks, an antenna for jumpers, and an exit plank. Mark Kissner, a veteran jumper, former exit point coordinator, and the founder of TandemBASE who brought tandem jumps to Bridge Day, will be taking over as volunteer BASE consultant, because he wants to see the historic event continue to thrive.
“Bridge Day is a historically significant event for BASE, not just because it is the largest BASE event worldwide, but it is also the oldest and the original BASE event,” he said. “BASE jumping essentially started in 1977, so Bridge Day launched along with the sport, and they have grown together ever since.”
Updates on the event:
1. A Finger Scan Alternative Mark worked with Bridge Day Commission chairperson Sharon Cruikshank to find an alternative to finger scan background checks after jumpers expressed concerns about the scans. Now, BASE jumpers, rappellers, vendors, and others required to get clearance have two options: they can go through the finger scan process at the event, or opt for a third-party background check that is provided by private 3rd party vendor, which would be processed in advance.
“We have been trying to work on a solution since the feedback began,” Sharon said. “It took some time and some legwork, but we’re glad we’ve finally been able to provide alternatives.”
2. An Antenna for Jumpers BASE stands for Building, Antenna, Span, Earth— the 4 objects you can jump from. Mark said many parachuters only get to BASE jump at Bridge Day, so they only have the opportunity to leap from one of those objects. So, he added a new one to the mix: an antenna towering over the bridge.
“The feeling of being on and jumping from an antenna structure is quite different than the platform at Bridge Day,” he said. “At 24 feet tall, the view from up there will be unique, looking down at 100,000 people who are all looking at you. And of course the extra altitude never hurts either.”
It will be better for the spectators, too, since the height will make it much easier to see.
3. "Walk the Plank" Another fun addition is “Walking the Plank,” an upgrade to the decade-old diving board. At only 4 inches wide and extending 15 feet over the edge, jumpers will have to test their balance, and their focus.
“It’s pretty easy to walk on a balance beam at ground level, but 880 feet up, it will be quite the mind game,” he said. “I expect that most people will fall off trying to walk to the end. It should be a blast to attempt and a riot to watch!”
More on Mark Mark is not only joining the team as a BASE consultant, he is doing so as a volunteer (in past years, the position was a for-profit contract) just to help grow the event, which he said is significant because of its history and close ties to the BASE community.
“Bridge Day is an immersion into the sport and subculture of BASE, and all of the people who make it so interesting,” he said. “Everywhere you look, everyone you talk to, the entire vibe is BASE.”
But it’s more than that, he said.
“Every year around 100 jumpers do their first BASE jump at Bridge Day, and while there really is no way to explain to someone what that first jump is like, it is easy to understand why it is something that can never be forgotten,” he said.
Now with about 600 jumps himself, he said watching the eager first-timers is his favorite part of the event.
Are you excited to see the antenna and plank at Bridge Day in 2015?