Tag Archives: Extreme sport

Someone You Should Know… Andy Copland

His handle was “Pikey Base” on the Basejumper.com forum, had a smart dry-wit  attitude one would expect from a member of the Cincy BASE crew.  He would cuss you up one side and down the other before you realized and then do it again.   He’d tell you where to shove, stick, put, push, or squeeze it and then some.  In short, he can be a arse.

Andy Copland

Andy Copland

Yet, you can’t help not taking a liking to the guy.  If anything he is honest and that you have to respect.  Even if at times it’s too much information, such as announcing in his Facebook status that he just took his morning dump.

Andy was one of a handful of BASE jumpers to reach out to me 4 years ago when I began writing about BASE.  In fact, I tease Andy not only was he mentoring a newbie then, but me as well.  I would text him questions 24/7 and he’ll tell you, “I would answer them after gripping, “bloody hell woman”.

Regardless of my silly questions, he would meet me online early each morning for a chat while we read the morning news and had coffee.  I can always count on Andy to answer me with a straightforward reply and although I might not always want to hear the answer given, he’ll never shy away from telling it to me.

Anyone who has taken up a conversation, stood at the edge and had the pleasure of making his acquaintance can appreciate having that pleasure and the fear of almost losing him.

Eight months ago, Andy suffered a horrific accident when his parachute failed and his body slammed into the ground at the DZ where he works.  Suffering from chronic pain while he is in need of further surgery to repair the leg and continue the healing and rehabilitation process.  Unable to acquire that medical attention here in the states, his best hope is to return to England where the care is provided for free to its citizenry.

Andy and Sarah

Recently, Sarah Ann, began an online Etsy store Snowflake Stitching selling her handmade scarves to supplement their income and save up to move to England. Sarah Ann is one tough woman, she has to be if she is marrying Andy, come on, have you been reading what I have written?

That being said, let’s put in a business plug for Snowflake Stitching, Sarah Ann’s the creative talent, while Andy makes for an excellent sales rep.   He says the scarves are “soft and warm” having tested them against his freshly shaven face.  The man is secure in his masculinity and unabashedly proud of Sarah Ann; not to mention madly in love.

Snowflake Stitching

Snowflake Stitching

Name of Business: Snowflake Stitching

Website:Snowflake Stitching Etsy Shop

Social Network: Facebook

Industry Type: Handmade clothing accessories

Date Business Opened: December 6, 2013

Description: Snowflake Stitching is an Etsy business that I created to offer custom-made scarves for people all over the world.

Most Rewarding Experience: The most rewarding experience that I have had so far is, I get to make two scarves for two young girls that are in a local foster home, for their Christmas. These girls have not received anything for Christmas in a few years, and I get to make something for them to enjoy.

Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge that I have had so far is time management. It’s hard to make time for everything in your life, especially your loved ones.

2014 Goal: My goal is to simply supplement my income so I can stop working three separate jobs. To offer something classically stylish and a scarf that is timeless.

Personal sales pitch: Scarves use to be a part of every woman’s wardrobe. With our modern design we aim to make your scarf the centerpiece of your outfit once again.

Please pass along the Snowflake Stitching links to your friends and family.  The scarves make unique thoughtful custom gifts, as well as support friends within the BASE community.


Without further ado,

~15 Questions with Pikey BASE~

Name: Andy Copland

Age: 29

Marital Status: Engaged

Children: Unknown

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Hometown: Newmarket, England

Education: College Dropout

Number of Jumps: 300+

Year of first Jump: 2007

BASE number: 1338

Year of first Skydive: 2005

Container: Apex DP/Prism

Canopy: FLiK 220 3 of 7 and Mojo

Profession: Skydiver

Nickname: Candy Opland. Don’t Ask.

Something else we shouldn't ask about???

Something else we shouldn’t ask about???

1. What will your epitaph read?

If you are reading this then you are wasting your day.

2. What is your greatest fear in life? Falling, cliché

3. When someone contacts you and asks you to personally teach them to BASE jump, what advice do you offer them first?

Just this week I had another person ask me to teach them and I haven’t agreed as such as I am injured but did agree to teach him to pack and learn some things before his FJC. Generally people asking tend to be either too humble or too cocky. I am more about mental preparation and attitude than jump numbers. There are guys out there with 10,000 skydives who I wouldn’t touch and some guys with 100 jumps I would. The too cocky ones I tell to beat it, the too humble ones I remind them that they have to think for themselves as very few things in this sport are really in stone and there is a lot to learn whether it’s from a bloke with 100 jumps or 1000.

4. What is your jump philosophy and what shaped that philosophy?

I’m not really sure how to answer this question…. I guess my philosophy is ask yourself why you are doing this. It isn’t playing chess, but by the same merit it also isn’t russian roulette. But it is a high risk activity and the consequences can be dire. It’s always that first solo that makes it all make sense. You have no jumpers with you, no ground crew, no one. It gives you a chance to reflect on the risk vs reward, and is it ever rewarding for me. In a nutshell….My philosophy is treat the sport as a lifestyle, not a hobby or it just isn’t worth it for me. I think what shaped that thinking is just being in BASE a few years I seen people get hurt from silly mistakes because they were a yearly Perrine jumper and I’m a snobby cunt.

5. What do you do to de-stress?

Junk food and movies with my girl away from the drop zone and everyone associated with it.

7. Do you foresee “enough ever being enough” for you when it comes to seeking out new adventures?

Never. I have always been a day dreamer and those day dreams are usually full of travel and adventure

8. Do you see a common thread in all jumpers, regardless of place, gender or skill level?

Absolutely, this sport just transforms the meaning of friendship and it doesn’t matter their skill level or gender up there; it’s about being in that moment with good friends. I like to think we all share that, but maybe I’m a corny romanticist.

9. Name a jumper who you most admire and why so?

Oh Christ…. So many to mention. Lonnie Bissonnette of course for his sheer determination to never give up. Brett Kistler may come as a surprise to some, but he balances travel, culture and BASE jumping nicely even if he does look like the Hitler youth. I have a real admiration for those who just go out and get the job done quietly too like Jimmy Kensill who was also my mentor and has well over 1000 BASE jumps by now. Also everyone at Anti Gravity BASE  are committed to helping injured jumpers. They helped me out in my time of need.

Sarah Ann, Lonnie Bissonnette, and Andy

Sarah Ann, Lonnie Bissonnette, and Andy

10. How much do you adhere to the old school BASE ethics?

I cared about them a lot more when I started as I didn’t want to step on any toes but eventually I realised that as long as you are not burning someones city to the ground then it’s fair game. I try to contact the locals every time, if I can’t get hold of them I’ll go find something to jump at night. Now if it’s my backyard then you can’t tell me how to play in it, my yard = my rules and if I want to jump a building at noon that’s my prerogative

11. What is more frightening, planning a wedding or standing on the edge of an exit point?

I’ve never planned a wedding so I would guess the wedding. I’d be too scared to even attempt something as crazy as that. I’ll let Sarah and her friends deal with that mess.

12. What was the biggest challenge in your life this past year?

Recovering from an accident at work. I had a freak accident and my canopy collapsed. At work I fly an 84sq/ft canopy so when it collapsed at 50-100 ft there was no recovering from it. I impacted hard and broke my L4, my right femur, my right heel and my left tib/fib compounded so badly I severed an artery in my leg and crushed the ankle. It was really in the air as to whether they would be able to save my lower leg as they worked for a pulse. I’m 8 months in and still unable to walk for long periods of time let alone get back to work.

13.  Where did you gain your strength to overcome the challenge?

Without a doubt Sarah has been the rock during all this, she has suffered from the accident almost as much as me. Also everyone at Skydive The Farm has been great supporting me.

14.  Where do you foresee yourself in 5 years?

I would like to be back in Europe, preferably on a beach and close to a drop zone. Anywhere as long as I am jumping again, that is my goal in the coming years.

15.   Do you have any regrets about your BASE jumping career?

I wouldn’t say they are regrets, but I do wish I got all the footage of my jumps from some of my mates before they went in! Jokes aside, not really no. I try not to live with regrets as regrets tie you to the past, and I am a firm believer in looking ahead.

Andy Copland

Andy Copland















Brett Kistler aka Hitler Youth Poster Child

Brett Kistler aka Hitler Youth Poster Child

2013 World BASE Race

Two jumpers in gear at the back of the exit ramps,

The starter will ask…

“Jumper A ready?” – confirm,

“Jumper B ready?” – confirm

Jumpers take your starting position at the edge.

The starter begins countdown, “5 – 4″

A single signal is repeated 3 times, bip, bip, bip

Welcome to the World BASE Race

Envision two men standing on wooden platforms at the edge of a mountain cliff. Each man is dressed in what appears to be a flying squirrel suit. At the signal, they jump and race head-on to the finish line, deploying their parachutes and gliding to a safe landing. Mind blowing? Extraordinary? A testament to man’s intestinal fortitude? Innovative genius? A sporting event unlike any other in the world? If you answered yes to all of the above, then let me introduce you to an event that P.T. Barnum would have billed as part of “The Greatest Show on Earth”.

It’s been four years since I first wrote those words regarding the World BASE Race of 2009.  Base jumping was new to me and wingsuit racing was new to the sport itself.  Co-founder and former director of the event Paul Fortun spoke of the race becoming the greatest public party for the athletes and spectators alike.  

If the caliber of athletes, gear and number of spectators gathering pre-race day is any indication, I’d say there’s about to be one hell of a party.

To all the athletes have a safe race.

Enjoy last years teaser video.

Someone You Should Know…15 Questions with BASE Jumper Matt Frohlich

Rick Harrison, Tracy Walker, Chris McDougall, Lonnie Bissonnette, I would have expected a “thanks, but no thanks” reply to an interview request from any of these personalities. Busy, busy men with their plates loaded full of commitments all vying for their time and attention.  So which of these men were the most difficult to garner a personal interview with? None of the before mentioned; all gracious with their time and fully committed to partnering with me to create a stamp in time with their interview pieces.

However, this guy, Matt Frohlich, at times it seemed as though the US Congress had a better chance of balancing the budget than of him coming forth with his answers.

Matt Frohlich

The month and year, November 2010, this is when fellow BASE jumper Jamie Crawford wrote to me and suggested that I interview Matt.  Yes that says, 2010.  Jamie sent me Matt’s email and telephone number and I sent Matt an introduction letter and basic questions to get the ball rolling.  Since that first  set of questions I  sent two more sets, all went unanswered.  At one point I wrote to Jamie letting him know I appreciated his help, but it just wasn’t working out.

Matt and I remained in touch, becoming friends and during the past 14 months we have spent a fair amount of time conversing via online chat. All of which was off the record, until the 2012 Arizona BASE Boogie.

This event, the brainchild of Matt and his fiancé Kat has set him to talking.  After completing an article on the event itself, I managed to keep him talking and answering questions up to a point.  I had finally learned the secret of interviewing Matt, only ask him questions he wants to answer.

Question number 24: On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being the worst, how would you rank doing these interviews?

Matt: Haha, these interviews are great.  It makes it even better when I conveniently skip the questions I don’t want to answer!

Was he worth the wait? Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “No great man ever complains of want of opportunity.” At the age of 31, Matt might not yet  be considered a great man by some, but there is no doubt he will not want for opportunity as he is the type of person who creates his own opportunities.

With that being said, I present to you Matt Frohlich, a young man blessed with the intelligence to navigate the air in many venues, the skill level to “go hard” at a record pace in BASE jumping and the charm to be a politician-circus barker all rolled into one.

Matt Frohlich

        • Name: Matt Frohlich
        • Age: 31
        • Marital Status: Engaged to Kat Noonan
        • Children: 0
        • Location: Arizona
        • Hometown: Landrum, South Carolina
        • Education: Bachelors in Pol Sci/History.  Almost completed second Bachelor’s in Aviation Science.
        • Number of BASE jumps: 1000+
        • Year of first Jump: 2006
        • BASE number: 1164
        • Year of first Skydive: Made 1 AFF jump in 1999, but didn’t really start   until 2006.
        • Container: 3 Apex DP’s and TL’s on the way
        • Canopy: Vented FLik 266 and 293
        • Profession: Pilot, University Student
        • Nickname: Matt, Frohlich, Fro…

First up, every-ones favorite question…

1. What will your epitaph read?

I’m bionic, so I don’t have to worry about it.  Having an ankle full of metal counts as bionic, doesn’t it?

2. What is your greatest fear in life?

I fear missing out on life because of fear and I don’t just mean in BASE.  I try to push myself into uncomfortable situations and consciously ignore fear.  The more fear dictates your actions, the more it ultimately controls you and defines who you are as a person. 

3. When someone contacts you and asks you to personally teach them to BASE jump, what advice do you offer them first?

It depends on the situation.  If they are ready, then I am more than willing to teach.  It really is based on the individual though.  I hae met a few guys that really weren’t ready.  I am not afraid to offer advice but I’m not willing to teach someone who is unprepared.  Skydiving and building canopy skills is pretty cheap insurance in the long run.  If someone is looking for a short cut that they are really just hurting themselves in the long run.

4. At 5 years in the sport and just over 1000 jumps, do you consider yourself of veteran of BASE?  If not, at what stage in your career do you consider yourself?

I’ve never really thought of it as advancing from one stage to the next.  I have advanced in the sport in the sense that as my experience level increased, I began jumping more technical objects, flying wing suits and free-falling lower.

5. For you personally do you view BASE jumping as a sport, stunt, hobby or exploration into flight?  Or is it something else altogether? 

It could be any of those, depending on the situation.  For me, it is a sport, hobby and a lifestyle.  I started jumping because I wanted the experience.  Five years later and it hasn’t changed. However, the friends I have met along the way really took it to another level. 

6. What is your jump philosophy and what shaped that philosophy? “Go Big or Go Home”

You really need to stop reading Douggs book.

At the end of the day though, I want to enjoy what I’m doing.  I push when I feel like pushing and relax when I feel like relaxing.  This is supposed to be fun!  If I am risking my life, I want to enjoy it!

7. What do you do to de-stress?

Easy! I go jumping or karting.  Exploring is always fun and just staying at home and watching a movie or reading is good too.  I am usually pretty good at finding ways to entertain myself.

8. Do you foresee “enough ever being enough” for you when it comes to seeking out new adventures?

Nope.  I wouldn’t be able to do what I want to do in 100 lifetimes so I have to make the best of what time I have.  Even if I got bored with BASE one day, I have a whole list of other things I want to do.

9. Does seeing other jumpers’ injuries or additions to the fatality list make you stop and question the ultimate risk involved? And if so, how long does the question linger with you?

It doesn’t get any easier when it happens, but I came into BASE knowing the stakes.  Nothing that has happened has made me think about retirement.  Aside from a few bruises and a twisted ankle, I have been injury-free in BASE.  I don’t think for a second that I am invincible.  If I ever get that attitude, then I will sell my gear that day and never make another jump.

10. Do you see a common thread in all jumpers, regardless of location, gender or skill level?

There is a common thread among most jumpers and camaraderie between jumpers that I haven’t found in any other sport or activity.  Everybody has their own reason for getting into BASE.  My friends in BASE are closer than any friends I have ever had.  These are the guys that can risk their lives and giggle about it afterwards like little kids.  It is ridiculous and it is awesome all at the same time.  There is a shared experience that few people ever get to take part in.

11. Do you feel that with the growth in First Jump Courses offered or mentoring services that it’s become too easy for people to get into BASE?

I have no problem with FJC’s.  I started with Tom Aiello’s FJC.  It would have been much more difficult for me to get started without one.  I never had a home drop zone so getting with a local crew would have been pretty much impossible.  If someone is determined to start jumping, then they are going to stat one way or another.  Giving someone the tools to do it more safely isn’t a bad thing.

After my FJC, I linked up with as many other local jumpers as possible but transitioning from a nice bridge to technical antennas was spicy.  I had a couple of close calls and over time came to realize that with the heavy influx of new jumpers, advance training could actually be very beneficial.  Over the last six months, I have a course designed to transition beginner students away from the bridge and  cliffs and antennas.  I really think that being on an object with a teacher is the best way to learn and really understand what is going on.  Ideally, every student would go home to an experienced mentor.  That is not always the case.  The goal of the course is to bridge the gap for students that either want intensive more training or who will go home without a mentor.

12. Name a jumper who you most admire and why so.

That is a hard one.  I really have a lot of respect for a lot of different jumpers.  I don’t have anyone specific in mind, but I love seeing the guys that go hard and just live without regrets and what if’s. 

13. What was your family’s reaction to your BASE jumping? 

Nobody in my family was too happy.  When I first told them I was going to skydive, I am pretty sure they were convinced I was going to die.  By the time they got used to that, I told them about BASE.  I never say any reason to hide what I did; I didn’t when I was younger and I don’t hide it today.  I prefer to be upfront about what I do.  Eventually, they warmed up to the idea.  My parents have come out to Bridge Day a few times and my Mom even came out in the middle of the night to watch me jump a 240 foot antenna.  My Mom loves BASE jumpers.  We are generally loud and goofy so she apparently finds us pretty entertaining.

14. Have you ever been busted on a jump?  If so, how did you handle it?

I have never been busted…and with any luck, I will keep it that way!  I have made myself disappear quickly a few times but that is about it.

15. How much do you adhere to the old school BASE ethics in comparison to openly discussing and advocating BASE jumping?

BASE is becoming more and more accepted than in the past.  I agree with the idea of maintaining and protecting sites and respecting other jumpers.  Some exits have taken a ridiculous amount of work to find and open.  If they are sensitive exit points, then follow the simple rules of asking the locals.  At the end of the day, the ethics debate really comes down to showing each other respect.  That goes for both the experienced and new jumper.

Matt Frohlich and Kat Noonan Photo Courtesy of Steve Da Fonte

Bonus Questions:

A. What is more frightening, planning a wedding or standing on the edge of an exit point? That depends on the exit point.

What was the biggest challenge in your life this past year? Paper or plastic? Next!

For your viewing pleasure: 2012 Arizona BASE Boogie edited Matt and Kat

And, Arizona BASE Boogie 2012 edited by Hank “Spiderbaby” Caylor

And, Arizona BASE Boogie 2012 Alternate Version edited by Jeff BASE

Subscribe to Blue Skies Magazine to read my article with Matt Frohlich and Kat Noonan regarding the 2012 Arizona BASE Boogie in the March/2012 issue.

Many thanks to Jamie Crawford, Matt Frohlich, Kat Noonan, Hank Caylor, Jeff BASE and Steve DaFonte for their contributions to this article.