Despite his recent fame over the past year, highliner and BASE jumper Andy Lewis knows there’s still a lot for him to learn in these extremely dangerous sports. Worldwide recognition from his appearance dancing on a slackline with Madonna at the 2012 Super Bowl halftime show put this wild-haired daredevil squarely on the map. But rather going on the tour with the Material Girl, Andy is working at building a solid base of skills to take his high altitude antics to a new level. This week instead of jumping off cliffs near his home in Moab, Utah, he’s making leaps from a tall building, the Kuala Lumpur Tower in Malaysia
“The thing I am enjoying most is getting tons of experience with really experienced people,” Andy shared in a Facebook exchange. “I mean the information that they can give you is invaluable, and it may save my life one day.”
Along with world-class BASE jumpers such as Chris “Douggs” McDougall, Jill Kuz, and Jordan Kilgore, Andy is hurling one jump after another during the annual KL Tower BASE jump. With an admission fee of $400, he’s getting a bargain education.
“The most important thing I have learned so far is probably based around respecting and embracing the progression of jumping,” Andy said. “I feel as if I have spent a lot of time trying to skip steps which in the end has made me take longer to learn specific lessons and skills.”
Organized by Gary Cunningham, the event running from September 27 to 30, draws about 90 BASE jumpers from all over the world. Each is required to have at least 100 jumps logged before they can even apply. But with easy access to top of the 1,300-foot tower via elevator qualified athletes can get in 50 leaps throughout the week.
Andy said spending this kind of time training with the best of the best is giving him a new appreciation for the sport. “I really have realized that the pleasure of BASE comes from the continued journey,” he said, “most of which is staying alive and healthy.”
- Nat Geo Expeditions