BASE Jumping in Kuala Lumpur

October 7, 2010 at 11:42 pm

“It doesn’t seem to make much sense when you actually think about it,” my photographer remarked as we were both standing nearly 270 metres above the ground, watching as yet another wave of jumpers prepared for their jump. We were at the top of the Kuala Lumpur Tower on a bright yet cloudy day, along with a bunch of other people, to cover one of Malaysia’s most interesting annual events, the KL Tower International Jump Malaysia 2010. Why is it interesting? Simply because it is one of the few organised events worldwide that cater for the extreme sport of BASE Jumping.

Skywalker ... not Luke

Skywalker ... not Luke

Yes, BASE Jumping is a dangerous sport. And yes, most countries in the world frown on people throwing themselves from any building, antenna, span or earth (BASE) objects, even if they have a chute strapped to their back and have every intention of staying alive to tell the tale. So the real question that I had as I watched the BASE jumper launched himself off the tower with backflip was not why do BASE jumpers to do it, but rather, why does Malaysia, or more specifically, Menara Kuala Lumpur Sdn Bhd, the company that manages the tower, welcome them.

Speeding towards the ground

Speeding towards the ground

I was not the only one doing some deep thinking there, as a firefighter on duty at the jumping area turned to me and wondered out aloud, “What do you think they feel when they step off?”

“You’ve got me there, my friend. But it IS a good question.” I replied, then we both chuckled as we heard a yell of Yeehaw! by a jumper who had just stepped off a second before. My photographer was by then busy taking shots of the action, sitting on the raised parapet on the edge. Firmly attached to a firm railing and wearing a harness, he was perfectly safe from any possibility of becoming a jumper himself. And so it went on, jumpers coming from the elevator, checking off with the security personnel, who were actually keeping count of their jumps, before exiting the tower to the jumping area.

Lemming

Lemming

Onto the edge they go, some with cameras on their helmets, some on their hands, solo, in groups of two and three. And sounding off to the Jump Master, who was co ordinating the jumps, informing him of their landing zone and the number of jumpers. Then off they go, kinda like lemmings, but with more precision, organisation, and of course, parachutes. The lively atmosphere and the giant smiles on the jumpers’ faces, their eager and cheery voices all show how much fun they are having. It isn’t everyday that they get to make repeated BASE jumps, and the meticulous planning and coordination by the organisers are definitely appreciated by the jumpers. Which is why, according to an Australian BASE jumper who I waylaid at the jumping area, the KL Jump event is highly anticipated by jumpers all over the world. This year is his ninth at the event, and being the avid BASE jumper that he is, he plans to head to Sibu for the BASE jump event there after KL is done.

Making my way down the tower via elevator, I think about what my photographer said, that these jumpers’ lives depend on one small pack strapped to their back, all the effort they put into this sport, to travel here, for some, from halfway around the world. All of that, just for it to be over in under a minute. It really doesn’t make much sense. But then again, that’s not what really matters. Sometimes it isn’t about sense, nor is it about how long it lasts. For these jumpers, it is a passion, something they look forward to and live for.

Ready to take off

Ready to take off

As I leave the entrance at the base of the hill, I notice two jumpers who have landed walking towards the guard house. Suddenly remembering the firefighter’s question, I greet them and ask as I walk alongside them, “By the way, how do you feel when you step off?”

The first joked, “Like having sex!” and laughed. The other grinned and then quipped, “It’s not THAT good.” I chuckled and thanked them.

My final thoughts on this? Even if it isn’t that good, it’s good enough for them to keep coming back for more!

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4 Responses

  1. i love to basejump, evn though my dad died!

  2. Karin Shaw says:

    2011 and my daughter is jumping there for the first time…….how do I feel as a mother? ……..So excited for her and wish I could be there to watch! But South Africa is a long way away :-( We gave her the wings to fly and now she must in Gods hands.

  3. victor says:

    i strongly believe that it is the most so exciting moment to fly by, it is not that easy! my greatest prayer to all that is paticipating on basefly, is may ALMIGHTY GOD wonderfuly and maximumly guid and protect them all 2 d core!

  4. victor says:

    2those who hopfully to fly, let them believe that they are highly protected by ALMIGHY GOD AMEEEEEEEEEEEEN!

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