Extreme Exposure: Is this surfing’s most interesting title chase ever?
In this week's edition of Extreme Exposure—a weekly column featuring news and photography from the world of action and outdoor sports—BASE jumper Uli Emanuele dies in the Dolomites.
Wilkinson, Medina, Florence Make for Most Exciting Title Hunt in a Decade
Teahupo’o wasn’t exactly showing its teeth this week as the Pro Tahiti kicked off in less than large conditions. Thus performance surfing became the emphasis on a wave that usually requires more of a big wave-mentality from the world’s best surfers. Still, there were small barrels on offer and the excitement of a world title race. Matt Wilkinson, who currently owns the yellow leader’s jersey, had to fight his way through the second round while John John Florence (#2) and Gabriel Medina (#3) earned automatic berths into Round 3 with their first round wins.
I have to admit, Wilkinson is starting to make a believer out of me.
He’s found a way to be consistent on a tour that absolutely requires it after ups and downs the last couple of years. The guy who proudly wore wetsuits with tuxedos painted on the front and often came off like the class clown—a trait that’s actually kind of endearing away from the seriousness of the tour—has found focus and resolve while still keeping some form of individuality with his long, wild locks. With former World Champ, Medina, and the ever-popular Florence, breathing down his neck (and without anyone named Fanning, Parkinson or Slater in the chase), this is shaping up to be one of the most exciting world championship runs in years.
BASE Jumper Uli Emanuele Dies in the Swiss Alps
Unfortunately, news like this pops up all to often in the BASE jumping community. Last week, Uli Emanuele, an Italian BASE jumper revered for his meticulous approach and fun personality, died in the Dolomites while filming a video part. There aren’t many details about the accident other than he apparently filmed his own death.
The World Wingsuit League, which Emanuele was a part of, released a statement after his death: “We are saddened to announce (we’ve) lost another great wingsuit pilot and a beautiful human being. Uli Emanuele, thank you for your contributions to our sport and thank you for sharing your exceptional talent with the world. RIP. You will always be a part of the WWL family and your legacy lives on forever.”
Last year, Emanuele released the video below of an extremely technical BASE jump above the Swiss municipality of Lauterbrunnen, where he flew through a six-foot wide crevice. “We use a little bit of luck,” he said. “In life we need a little luck. I try to not use luck in the jump. I try to use my luck in the normal life.”
Shaun White Accused of Sexual Assault by Former Bandmate
It was not a good week for Shaun White. Lena Zawaideh, a drummer in the band “Bad Things,” which White was a guitarist in, and leader of, from around 2008 to 2013, filed a civil suit accusing the snowboarder for failing to pay her wages she earned, as well as sexual harassment.
Court documents released this week contained ugly testimony from Zawaideh where she accused the Olympic champion of forcing her to watch pornography, sending her suggestive texts (screenshots from some of the alleged texts were included) and failing to pay her more than $40,000 in back wages. White vehemently denied the allegations, admitting that he did exchange texts with Zawaideh, but that they were done so when the two were friends and that she is now using them in what he calls a “bogus” lawsuit. No word yet on a court date.