A fearless female base jumper is taking the sport to new heights in a thrilling video that shows the moment she soars through the air at speeds of up to 120 miles per hour.
In the video, professional adventure sports athlete, Clair Marie, 29, of Strawberry, California jumps from the 2,350-foot tall glass skywalk in Yunyang, China, and descends onto Thailand’s exotic islands in another jump.
‘I have always been super interested in outdoor adventure sports. I was born and raised in a very small mountain town where the only stuff to do was outside – back packing, rock climbing and swimming in the freezing American river,’ she said.
New heights: 29-year-old Clair Marie is a professional base jumper who soars through the air at speeds of up to 120 miles per hour
The start of her passion: Clair Marie said that she has always been super interested in outdoor adventure sports
‘I was raised in nature and that really helped propel me in the action and adventure sports direction.’
‘I had, from a very young age, been intrigued with parachute sports, so when I saw base jumping on TV for the first time, I was immediately drawn to it. I was eight years old at the time and I knew that I was going to be a jumper one day.’
Clair Marie went on to spend the next eight years reading about base jumping, researching the daredevil sport and talking about it ‘to anyone who would listen to me’.
And finally someone did. At 16 she was given the opportunity to make her first jump after months of messaging people asking if they would teach her.
The big jump: After months of reaching out to people, someone let her make her first jump at 16 years old
‘It was the most thrilling, relaxing and scary thing I had ever done. My first jump was off a 480ft power tower at 10pm with no moon. It was like jumping into a black hole,’ she said.
‘The moment my feet left the edge and I was falling through the air I knew I was right where I wanted to be and that I had found what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Here I am twelve years later still jumping and working as a professional athlete.’
‘The terminal velocity of a human falling is approximately 120 miles per hour. This takes up to twenty seconds to reach that speed after my feet leave the edge. Most base jumps, at least in the US, are fairly short so I very rarely reach that speed. It is only when I’m jumping objects that are much taller that I reach my max speed.’
Clair started rock climbing and skiing when she was just three years old and said that people are often shocked when they learn what she does for a living.
A jump to remember: She said ‘my first jump was the most thrilling, relaxing and scary thing I had ever done’
‘I knew it was right:’ The moment Clair Marie left the ledge, she said she knew she had found what she wanted to do for the rest of her life
Her advice to others who would like to take up base jumping is to start with skydiving, understand the risks and remain focused.
‘There are risks associated with everything we do, but for me it is about mitigating the risk, rising above the fear and accomplishing the things that people view as impossible. Most of the things that one has to overcome in this industry is the mental and emotional blocks,’ she said.
‘We are our greatest limitations in the world so I actively work towards getting out of my own way, not putting limits on myself and seeing how far I can really push myself while mitigating risk and maintaining a high level of safety.’
‘Unfortunately, serious injury or death is a potential outcome in all of my main sports: base jumping and bike racing, but with proper preparation I can take calculated risks and have a much safer outcome.’
Remain focused: To those who want to take up base jumping, she said to start with skydiving, know the risks and keep the goal a priority
‘Capable of more:’ Clair Marie said she aims to challenge societal labeling in ‘all aspects of my life’
But the the possible dangers, is a risk worth taking for the adrenaline junkie who gets ‘such a crazy range of reactions, from total disbelief and fear to excitement and intrigue’ when she tells people about her profession.
‘Most people can’t believe what I really do and when I tell them it is my living they are stunned and curious,’ she said.
‘I can see the fear and excitement in their eyes and hear it in their voice. Most people can’t seem to really wrap their mind around it and end up shaking their head side to side and call me crazy.’
‘We are all capable of so much more than we ever know,’ the base jumper said.
‘Normal is whatever you make it and society will always try to label and limit people and I aim to challenge that in all aspects of my life.’