In this week's edition of Extreme Exposure—a weekly column featuring news and photography from the world of action and outdoor sports—Kelly Slater just made the world title chase even more intriguing.
BASE Jumper Broadcasts Death on Facebook Live
It was a pretty horrific couple of weeks in the world of BASE jumping. Three prominent pilots died in a span of days: Uli Emanuele, who flew to fame in 2015 with incredible footage from Switzerland where he used a wingsuit to fly through a rock crevice, perished in the Dolomites. Then BASE pioneer Alexander Polli died after he reportedly impacted a tree in a chute high above the mountain town of Chamonix, France. To top it off in horrific fashion, Italian Armin Schmieder was confirmed dead while flying in the Swiss Alps after a jump he broadcast to the world on Facebook Live went terribly wrong. (No word on exactly why he crashed.)
In the broadcast, Schmieder talks the audience through his preparation then puts his phone in his pocket. You can hear the wind whipping through his suit then the impact and silence, other than what sounds like cowbells. It was a gruesome end that an audience witnessed live on social media. Admittedly, BASE jumping and wingsuit flying are incredibly dangerous endeavors. But this string of deaths seems rather unprecedented. BASE athletes enjoy a large audience on their social channels, hungry for daring feats caught on film—one of Emanuele’s videos had more than 13 million views—so it doesn’t seem that any of these fearless pilots will slow down any time soon.
Kelly Slater Suddenly Back in the World Title Chase
Last week I wrote that this year’s title chase is turning into one of the most intriguing in years for the World Surf League and now—thanks to recent events—I’m doubling down on that statement. In Tahiti this week, John John Florence took over the ratings lead while Matt Wilkinson, relegated to second, holds a slim 300-point lead over former world champ Gabriel Medina. Oh yeah, then there’s this guy named Kelly Slater, who of course won his 55th event at Teahupoʻo.
Slater—now 44—brought himself out of rankings purgatory with a win at the barreling left, beating Florence in the final. So not only are the best young surfers in the game vying for titles, the greatest ever is now nipping at their heels. Slater will probably need to win at least one, if not two more events to take his 12th title but nothing is out of the question with this guy. And with Florence—arguably the world’s most popular modern wave rider—looking for his first championship trophy, it’ll be a more than worthy finish as we head into the back end of the season. As fans, we can only hope the title will be decided at that place called Pipeline in December.
Travis Rice’s Fourth Phase Looks as Epic as it Sounds
One thing is certain: Travis Rice and his production crew do not do things in small fashion. Everything is big, bold and seemingly better than anything done before. This week Rice, along with his sponsors GoPro and Red Bull, released a trailer in 4k that has fans amped for winter. And if the movie can live up to the trailer (below), then Rice will have successfully followed up on his Art of Flight.
The new film, The Fourth Phase is a look at the north Pacific storm track as Rice and friends like Pat Moore, Brian Iguchi and Ben Ferguson follow the storm track from Alaska to Russia and beyond. The film actually debuts in Los Angeles September 8th. Red Bull TV will host the entire film for one day for the world to watch (free) October 2. Rice will also appear with Sports Illustrated’s Maggie Gray Sept. 27 on SI Now.