How To Get Into BASE Jumping

Friday, April 21, 2023

Ever look up at a tall object and think “I wanna jump off of that!”?  If so, you may be happy to learn that your fixation of jumping from extreme heights is well-founded and fully accepted in our community! However, BASE jumping is an inherently risky sport that dances with illegality in certain areas of the United States – which is why it can be difficult to get into. Luckily, we host our own BASE jumping course right here at Oklahoma Skydiving Center and have everything you need to know about BASE jumping.


Base jumping

BASE jumping is an extreme sport that involves jumping from a stationary object and using a parachute to land. “BASE” is an acronym for Building, Antenna, Span (bridges), and Earth – these represent the four primary exit points that BASE jumpers can jump from.


BASE jumping has actually been around longer than skydiving has, with rough documentation of the ancient Chinese using parachute-devices dating all the way back to the 11th Century! But the sport of modern BASE jumping officially began in 1978 when a California skydiver named Carl Boenish and four other jumpers successfully jumped in Yosemite National Park while using modern gear and techniques. Later on, Carl would go on to coin the acronym “BASE”.


BASE jumping and skydiving seem extremely similar; you jump, you fly a parachute, you land — but they are fairly different when it comes to the type of equipment used, the exit altitude, and the landing areas. The differences are so vast that BASE jumping is actually considered as its own separate category of sport.

The Parachute

  • In skydiving, there are two parachutes within the skydiving rig system (a main parachute and a “back-up” reserve parachute) that are meticulously packed into a complex and high-tech skydiving container. 
  • BASE jumpers use a single-parachute system that is packed into a much simpler backpack type of container.

The Exit Altitude

  • In skydiving, full altitude skydives can be anywhere between 8,000 ft – 14,000 ft
  • BASE jumps are usually performed anywhere from 300 ft to 1,000 ft! This is the main reason why there isn’t a reserve parachute in the BASE jumping rig — there simply isn’t enough time to cut away the main parachute to deploy the reserve parachute.

The Landing Area

  • Skydiving centers usually have a nice, open area that is well-groomed with plenty of options for a safe landing. 
  • BASE jumps are usually performed in less than ideal landing areas such as natural settings with trees or rocky surfaces, streets, buildings, and power lines — these are all landing safety hazards.


The most important difference between skydiving and BASE jumping is the safety risk. BASE jumping has a fatality rate of 1 in every 2,300 jumps. Whereas skydiving has a fatality rate of 1 in every 357,000 jumps. The fatality rate for tandem skydiving is even lower with an average of 1 in every 500,000 jumps over the last 10 years, according to the United States Parachute Association. To keep things simple, BASE jumping is much more dangerous than skydiving – a fact understood by anyone who decides to get into BASE jumping.


base jumping off of a bridge

BASE jumping can be an exhilarating hobby that can help anyone live intentionally and increase their overall awareness. So, how does one go about getting into BASE jumping? Here are all of the BASE course requirements and our learn to BASE jump training information.


BASE jumping isn’t for newer jumpers – it requires a ton of training and preparation while under the supervision of a BASE jumper mentor. If you’re interested in taking the BASE First Jump Course at Oklahoma Skydiving Center, you must have the following qualifications:

    • Minimum of 200 logged skydives
    • Must be a very current skydiver
    • Willing and able to travel to the appropriate BASE jumping destinations
    • BASE specific canopy packing and jump training
    • Completion of advanced canopy skills course
    • Be available to train regularly at the Oklahoma Skydiving Center


At Oklahoma Skydiving Center, we handpick a group of interested skydivers who we think are ready to take on the BASE jumping course. As a member of a cohort, you will be under the supervision of an experienced instructor who will help you build canopy skills while practicing mock jumps in order to gain the experience necessary to take it to the real world of BASE jumping. We are the only skydiving center in this area of the US that provides these types of advanced training courses. The course includes:

    • Development of advanced canopy control skills
    • BASE specific canopies that can be added to the BASER container with a reserve that can be used to practice packing
    • Practice jumps with BASE gear from a plane before doing the real thing


BASE jumping is prohibited in all national parks in the United States but is permitted in the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service territories. Our BASE jumping community will take organized trips once or twice a year to Perrine Bridge in Twin Falls, Idaho. This location is legal all year-round and is a great learning environment for new BASE jumpers. The Perrine Bridge isn’t the only popular BASE jumping location. There is also the New River Gorge Bridge in Fayetteville, West Virginia — home of the famous and largest single-day festival in West Virginia, “Bridge Day.

The best way to get into BASE jumping is to start skydiving, of course! Book your jump with Oklahoma Skydiving Center or give us a call if you’re ready to enroll in our BASE jumping course! Blue skies!

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