Extreme Exposure: BASE jumpers' fate, the swell of the decade, more

Monday June 29th, 2015

Welcome to another edition of Extreme Exposure, a weekly column bringing you the best photography and news from the world of action and outdoor sports. The hype machine goes into full production as an Indian Ocean swell lives up to its billing, the World Trade BASE jumpers learn their fate, and more. 

The Long Tour

This weekend marked the start of the BC Bike Race, a seven-stage, 200-mile journey on some of the best single track in Western Canada. Six hundred and fifteen racers started in Cumberland on Vancouver Island Sunday and will race a new trail each day as the peloton makes its way to Whistler for the finale next weekend.

The mountain bike race includes competitors from 25 different countries, but is as much about the tour as it is competition. “We’ve got guys at the front givin’ ‘er,” says event marketing director Andreas Hestler. “And a win is a big accomplishment, but it’s like the New York City marathon—the top notch are few and 95% of the racers are weekend warriors who want to hit the beer lounge at the end of every day. We’re throwing a party for people who like to ride bikes in our backyard and we want to showcase our best trails, whether you’re serious or not.” Hestler, a former professional mountain biker, started the race with friend Dean Payne nearly a decade ago.

Day 1, Cumberland in 15 secs. #bcbr2015 🎥@maxberkowitzvisual

A post shared by BC Bike Race (@bcbikerace) on

A Long, Strange Trip

Last week, nearly two years after BASE jumping off the new World Trade Center tower in New York City, James Brady, Marko Markovich and Andrew Rossig were found guilty of reckless endangerment (a misdemeanor) and of violating the city’s ban on BASE activities, far cries from the felony burglary charges they initially faced.

The case became a nightmarish affair for the three experienced jumpers after the DA’s office refused to plea down the charges during the last 16 months of court proceedings. The felony burglary charge was widely panned as far too harsh. There was a general feeling that the three were being scapegoated by the city for an embarrassing run of security breaches at the tower, aside from their specific mission in September 2013.

The case inspired magazine articles, social media campaigns and even T-shirts supporting the jumpers. But as lead defense attorney Timothy Parlatore told the New York Daily News, the proceedings never had to go this far: “This verdict is the same as the plea we would have taken a year ago.” Still, the long, drawn out case and the jumpers inherent guilt doesn’t make the footage captured that night any less riveting. Here’s Rossig, with the gnarliest gainer you’ve ever seen.

Swell of the Decade

In what was a swell that lived up to its hype, the Southern Indian Ocean lit up last week, sending XXL waves to Western Australia, Indonesia and beyond. The storm developed days ahead of landfall, giving big wave riders plenty of time to prepare.

Speed zone: Saints WR Brandin Cooks training to get even faster this season

Talented Australian chargers, Jamie Mitchell and Justin Holland, got more of an adventure than they bargained for while surfing Cow Bombie, a massive, offshore wave near Margaret River, WA. “We were the only team out,” Mitchell tells SI.com. “It was too windy to paddle, so Justin jumped on the rope and I whipped him into five or six (on the jetski).” Holland’s last wave was an absolute bomb, a 60-foot-plus monster some in Australia are calling the biggest wave ever caught on the continent.

Unfortunately the lip detonated on Holland, and with his front foot caught in the tow board’s strap, the powerful force broke the experienced waterman’s femur, leaving him writhing in pain in the middle of the ocean. “The lip hit directly on my leg and I heard it snap instantly,” Holland says. “I took the second wave of the set on the head and then Jamie was able to come and get me. Exiting the wave zone was unbelievably painful and laying on the rescue sled for five kilometers into the beach was crazy.”

Holland, who also competes on the Standup World Tour, had successful surgery to repair his injured leg while Mitchell was able to paddle back out that afternoon and hook into several more gems.

The Little Zen Monkey

Apologies to any serious climbers reading but I can’t make this stuff up: Last week I wrote about Millie, the climbing cat. This week it’s Ellie Farmer, a 20-month old from Flagstaff, Ariz., who’s sending it in her local climbing gym. “The Little Zen Monkey,” as her parents, Zak and Rachael, both competitive climbers, have dubbed her, has gotten a lot of attention lately. After CNN did a piece on her, this climbing video got some three million views.

And the hype has gotten real for the toddler—her parents insist started scaling boulder problems on her own accord—as they’ve already had to turn down a sponsorship opportunity from an overzealous brand hoping to capitalize.

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