Orgasm of the soul - Adrenalin rushn
Staring death in the face is all in a days work of extreme sportsman Christopher McDougall, a 29-year-old from Wollongong who has a well-earned reputation for being one of the most hardcore base jumpers on the planet.
McDougall, the 2003/04 world champion, has completed about 4900 skydives and 1200 base jumps in 22 countries. He travels the world six months of the year from his base in Norway and returns to Australia for the other six months, working as a tandem skydiving instructor in Bulli to pay off his debts.
"I arrived home a month ago with $31,000 on my credit card. I live on rice and work really hard," he says.
"Base jumping at the moment is where skateboarding was 25 years ago with Dogtown and the Z-Boys. We're trying to push it out there. The French are leading the way." he says
"You're looked after in Australia as long as you're a footballer, a basketballer, a tennis player. . etc, however, We (Base jumpers) get no support at all in Australia. It's legal, but what they get you on is trespassing, reckless endangerment, things like that.
The media in Australia is pretty down on the sport, always looking for an angle to condemn. It would be nice for a change if they'd just tell it like it is."
McDougall, a carpenter by trade, likens base jumping to big-wave surfing - "only we're tucking into barrel of rock at about 200 kilometres per hour."
"We did a jump in China this year from 666 metres —the devil's number," McDougall says. "Three days up the Yangtze River and a long trek through the highlands. Crawled out on a cable for 1000 feet. Dropped 2000 feet into an engulfing hole that had a raging river, waterfalls, no landing area. Full-on, mate."
"Alot of people think you're crazy jumping off cliffs. As far as I'm concerned a lot of people working dull 9 to 5 jobs are crazy. I know the score. I might die doing what I'm doing one day, but I m living a true and free life.'' says McDougall
Extract from The herald Weekender December 17, 2005