By Lika Borzova
Wow, many exciting events happening in the world of skydiving and BASE jumping this year! In reading my Facebook news feed, I can’t stop smiling – my friends are such a superheroes! People within both sports have dreamt up new ideas to challenge themselves, joining with a partner to collaborate at times, then recruiting the team members to execute. Setting World Records along with the main goal of having a lot of fun.
Yes I said Facebook — short story long. 🙂 A while ago some very BASE passionate Brazilian girls created a group, of course it was kept a secret at the time. The group is called “BASE Ladies” and it looks as if we finally have a comprehensive list of 120 women from around the world who are active BASE jumpers. The members post their videos and comments they consider worth sharing, there is always a lot of happy faces with beautiful smiles, exchanging of high fives on video. The group page is perfect for sharing plans of together attending different events and adding in some cool chick jumps on our own at the same time.
There was a post inquiring how many ladies were going to be in Kuala Lumpur for the KL Tower BASE jump 2012. So the idea was seeded online to attempt a record jump should all the elements be in place.
The KL Tower BASE jump 2012 in my opinion is the best, best, best event of the year thus far. The event was 4 days and 2 nights of jumping from the 335 m/1,099 foot roof while the antenna adds 86m/282 feet to the broadcasting tower’s height. The 2012 event hosted 91 BASE jumpers from 17 countries completing over 2200 BASE jumps during the event, plus one Women’s World Record.
The event boasted such a cool crew of very high skill leveled jumpers,supported by super nice sponsors and partners (including a coffee one, which fit in perfectly with my personal coffee addiction 🙂 Even the briefing was more akin to a skydiving event, the most experienced BASE jumpers were introduced to the public on hand for the event. The more seasoned BASE jumpers were open to sharing their knowledge, and in a way “coach” others, they debriefed videos, and followed the progression of the newly baptized KL jumpers. Even without mentioning the Women’s Big Way BASE jumping World Record, the KL event with it’s high number jump count, all the sunshine and good weather, the laughing, silly exit plans, crazy flips, cool videos, and a super awesome party at the end of the event made it in one word: EPIC!
Following the event briefing Chris”Douggs” McDougall, a famous Australian Skydiver/BASE jumper who many consider to be legend and a great person, asked all the female jumpers to gather for a talk. The subject of this meeting was that of a World Record Big Way in BASE. Douggs offered his help in organizing the jump, since he was the person who organized the previous Women’s Big Way BASE jumping World Record. The standing record was an 8 way in Kjerag, Norway back in 2004, by jumpers Karin Sako, Karina Hollekim, Winnie Chang, Karen Thomas, Elin Gripen Risvik, Geraldine Fasnacht, Seven and Ginny Stone from Exit 6.
Doing a ten way jump from a 1009 foot building sounded a bit sketchy when we first began talking, as I’m sure it did to you also, right? It is sketchy and this is why we did it the right way with thoughtful preparation. We had to take into account and consider the experience, canopy sizes and types and wing loading and for this we turned to Douggs who devised the exit plan.
We were divided into three groups, standing a safe distance away from each other creating horizontal separation. Individual jumpers in each group were suppose to do different types of delays, from PCA (no delay) jump, to approximately a 6 second delay.
To be honest I was freaking out a bit about the long delay slot, the possibility of people for whatever reason falling into my canopy was terrifying. And, yes, that was a slot I was assigned (maybe it had something to do with me being Russian) The day was spent invoking the mantra “Go low!”.
The second day of KL Tower BASE jumping event began with a beautiful morning for a jump. I found myself standing on the open deck of the tower with Livia Dickie (New Zealand/Norway), Kjersti Eide and Hege Ringard (Norway), Suz Graham and Jill Kuzman (USA), Maria Steinmayr (Austria), Anna Lepeshkina (Russia), Justine Edde (France), and Jenny McZolla (Switzerland). We walked the jump over and over again before breaking out in dance to raise the our spirits and get pumped up.
Douggs rule the exit calling out, “Female World Record jump at KL Tower 2012. Are you ready?” Along with three extremely experienced exit assistants in unison we replied “We are ready!” giving confirmation to proceed.
I was part of the middle group and stepped off the edge a split second later, I had a great visuals of all the openings to the sides of my exitpoint. I waited on Livia Dickie and Kjersti Eide to do their thing before I opened my canopy just high enough to make the landing zone.
Everybody landed safely and another great day of KL Tower BASE jumping event had begun with lots of happy smiles and energy due to a new Women’s Big Way BASE jumping World Record.
And I love it!
Statements from participants and organizers:
Women’s Big Way BASE jumping World Record. Chris “douggs” McDougall
I just love the fact that the sport of base jumping is attracting more and more awesome chicks from around the world. It is great to have them on the edge of an object as it creates such a cool vibe that can only be positive for our growing sport. Having 10 girls at the KL event made for a great opportunity to do a fun and safe big way from KL Tower. With a bit of strict planning the girls executed a near perfect 10 way from the object to achieve an unofficial world record. As with all the other big ways I have organised there is always room for improvement but overall it went off without a hitch! I hope this will help attract more girls into the sport of base jumping and show women around the world that they can do anything in life and in male dominated sports with beauty and finesse and of course a lot of Pink! I was stoked to be a part of it. Thanks girls.
Cary Cunningham, KL Tower BASEjump organiser
I think it is wonderful that the sport of BASE jumping is expanding with more women and that we had our highest number of females at the KL Tower event this year. I am glad to see this record was set at Menara Kuala Lumpur and hope it will inspire many more to come back in the future. The record is a nice achievement for all the girls in attendance.
Maria McFly Steinmayr (Austria)
This was the first world record I´ve been in, and it was just amazing.
It´s way different to jump with girls and I really enjoy it.
It all started with dancing at the exit point, which was so much fun, everybody loves dancing, right and then the jump itself, it´s just awesome when you step off the edge and you know that you´re falling at the same time together with 9 other girls and looking at them, see them smiling
I´m glad that everything worked out so well and that I was able to meet and jump with every single one of you, thanks for having so much fun together!!
For me it was an awesome experience and I´m really looking forward to the next record, lets go girls, we´ll beat it!!
Jenny McZolla, Swizterland
Being part of the girl’s world record in Kuala Lumpur this year has been an exceptional experience for me. I am normally not one to do big ways but this time it was different. Having Douggs with his experience as the load organizer and knowing and respecting the base ladies that were going to be on this jump made me really want to be part of this event and today I am very happy I was. I loved how we all motivated one another already before gearing up: it was fun seeing how everyone was just as excited as I was. And after having briefed the jump for the last time, it was great how everyone danced and wished each other a good and safe jump. When Douggs started giving the countdown everyone present on the tower counted with us. It was such a special yet intense moment and by the time we stepped off I felt everyone’s positive energy. I only had 3 PCA’s behind me so I got to see 6 girls opening and the visuals were incredible. The part of the jump that actually frightened me the most was being under canopy with 9 other people but as soon as my parachute opened that fear faded and became the most beautiful moment of the jump. Everyone was well aware of the others and between cheers and smiles we landed safely. It’s been an honor to be part of something so unique, but the best part of it was that there were only incredible woman on this jump, which I respect, admire and love very much. A big thank you to Douggs for making this happen and the PCA boys of course Brandon, Charlie & Elliot.
Suz Graham (Canada)
I was so excited and honored to be a part of the womens world record in Kuala Lumpur. It’s rare for me to be jumping with women at all and to be a part of such a talented group of amazing ladies from all over was such an awesome experience. Doing a multi-way BASE jump can be a really dangerous thing so you have to have complete trust in every jumper involved, but with these girls I knew that everyone would do their part and was confident we could pull it off safely, and we did! I can’t wait to be a part of a bigger one!
About The Author:
Lika Borzova is an experienced BASE jumper, known in the sport for her superior tracking skills. Born in Moscow, Russia she now calls the world her home as she travels the globe in search of new life enriching experiences. When you need to add pages to your passport, you’ve been some places. One place you can always find Lika is at: www.unitedflyinggirls.com