The Art of BASE Jumping with Matt Gerdes

Matt Gerdes | BASE Jumping | Combat Flip Flops

By Jack Sercu  |  Photo: Neil Kelly

"I never fear death or dying, I only fear never trying."

Do you have the courage to BASE? IS it even hard?

It is essentially parachuting from any fixed object, and very high up. Yeah, it’s pretty hard. BASE is an acronym which stands for Building, Antenna, Span, and Earth (cliff). BASE includes jumping from any of the above objects with or without a wingsuit - either way, you’ll always need a parachute. 

5 Steps To learn BASE jumping:

  1. Learn to skydive well: 

    This step is very important. People have tried to skip it, but no one has ever claimed that it is a good idea. Skydiving provides the foundation of canopy skills and freefall control, which is a part of every BASE jump that you make. Once you take an AFF course from your local skydiving center and complete 150-250 skydives, then you can move on to the next step.

  2. Find a first BASE jump course:

    For very small and focused BASE courses with great attention to detail, check out Sean Chuma’s site.

    Visit the world’s largest BASE school, in Twin Falls, ID, USA. 

    This French BASE Association runs the most professional curriculum in Europe.

  3.  Find a mentor:

    Once you have completed your first jump course, you still won’t know enough to BASE jump safely on your own. It is crucial to become part of the BASE community, where you will find people to help you and advise you. Expect to help them logistically in order for them to want to help you.Matt Gerdes How To BASE Jump

    BASE jumping is no part time sport. It is highly important to maintain a level of currency with skydiving and BASE jumping in order to jump safely.

    You will learn something from every jump and interaction with other BASE jumpers if you pay attention. In BASE, knowledge is safety. Ignorance and complacency are the leading causes of fatal accidents.


    All of your hard work will come to this moment…The second before the jump. Make the most of it. 


Matt Gerdes is the Chief Test Pilot and co-desginer for squirrel wingsuits. He has completed over 1200 safe BASE jumps, and his book, “The Great Book of BASE” is well known around the world. He has also worked in the paragliding industry for over 15 years.

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