Pretty interesting article on BASE jumping over at Outside Online, including detailed explanations of why people die BASE jumping (38% are no pulls where for some reason or another the jumper fails to deploy the chute) a list of the top ten most deadly sites (Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland has racked up 28 fatalities); and, a cool but macabre timeline of some of the most spectacular deaths of the sport (in 1991, a guy rode a jet ski off of Niagra Falls, but his chute failed to open and he drowned).
Outside describes BASE jumping as "an incredibly risky pursuit that has claimed at least 180 lives since 1981," and attributes their statistics to the online magazine Blinc, which maintains the official BASE jumping fatality list or BFL - an accounting of the who, when, where, and how people have died participating in the sport.
While the deaths are spectacular - they're really not that numerous, averaging six per year. I understand that there are vastly more skiers/riders/surfers/climbers/etc. risking life and limb than BASE jumpers, and so the comparison is a little off kilter, but those sports are pretty dangerous too and people die from them regularly.
Hell, lots and lots of people die doing things they love every year, like smoking, driving drunk, eating shitty food, and commuting to work. Sadly, five hundred kids a year die from accidentally shooting themselves or getting shot by their friends or siblings. I guess you could say, having a loaded gun in a house full of children is an "incredibly risky pursuit" like 84 times more risky than BASE jumping.
Holy crap, did you guys watch the Superbowl? Perhaps we're just over-reacting, but did we witness probably the best free press coverage for a niche sport in the history of outdoor sports? Did slacklining just become the rollerblading of the new millennium? Listen, we're no experts in the outdoors p.r. biz, that would be Drew and Geraci. But are you kidding us? Before the Superbowl halftime show, only famous slackliner anyone could name in the world was probably Dean Potter, if you even knew what slacklining was. Now the biggest thing to come out of the Superbowl besides MIA's finger was Bay Area native Andy Lewis, the red headed little cherub slackliner kissing Madonna. Sweet baby j, Gibbon must be besides themselves right now. Articles all over the place about Lewis, slacklining, Gibbon, and how old Madonna looked. Even made the NY Times, in an article titled, "That Guy in the Toga? Call Him a Slackliner." If you have a chance to invest in Gibbons, do it, because they're going to be selling a few slacklines after all this press. Nice work. In fact, The Clymb has a daily deal going on today with 40% off slacklines, so jump on it before you miss the trend and look silly in your toga.