JP de Kam has performed the world’s first fire-breathing BASE jump (see video below). The Dutch stuntman combined his two passions last October by jumping from Switzerland’s Lauterbrunnen Valley. Dressed in an animal suit, JP made the 700-meter descent while holding a lit torch and with his mouth full of dragon fuel. The plan was to spin, blow flames into the sky, spin back around, track for a little while, then finally pull his chute and land safely. GrindTV talked to JP recently about the crazy stunt.
The first and most obvious question is: Why?
I am a professional fire breather and an experienced BASE jumper. So when someone asked me why don’t I combine the two, it had me thinking. I did a week of practicing jumps to get my barrel roll perfect and then put myself in a funny outfit and did it.
Has it ever been attempted before?
I can’t find any record or footage of anyone trying this before, so I think it’s a world first.
What were the dangers, both with the jump itself and then the fire aspect?
There are many danger elements involved. First the jump itself. I picked a nine-second rock drop exit. I knew that if I had no track [the technical term of assuming a body position that allows the skydiver to move horizontally while freefalling] or a very bad track, I would still will be able to safely deploy my parachute. Second is the move. We call it a barrel roll. You have to jump and be on your back for the breathing of the fire. Then there is the fire-breathing element and the torch is the last element of danger. The torch has to extinguish in mid-air before I deploy my parachute, otherwise it could burn my lines or even worse, the lifesaving canopy itself.
How confident were you before the jump?
I have been practicing and studying all the elements of the jump, but combining them was the big goal here. And that was scary.
What did it feel like?
It felt pretty warm. Because of the burble—the low-pressure zone in front of my chest and face created by the passing wind—the flame partially was coming back in my chest and even my face. I burned part of my beard, but that was the only damage.
I’m not certain. The one thing I know for sure us that I am not finished yet!
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