Australian Greg Henderson wins international BASE jumping competition in China

By Dan Smith
Updated November 11, 2015 12:09:36
External Link:The 2015 China International Base Jumping Tournament in Guizhou

Photo: A BASE jumper leaps off the Baling River Bridge in China. (YouTube: CCTV)

Map: China

An Australian man has won an international BASE jumping competition in China, beating over 30 jumpers from around the world to take the prize.
The BASE jump challenge was held in south China's Guizhou province from Baling River Bridge, one of the world's highest at 375 metres above the river below.
Greg Henderson, who took out first place in the competition, said he was "surprised and elated".
"I wasn't expecting to win," he told the ABC.
"I'm just proud that I could represent Australia at the event."

Photo: Australian BASE jumper Greg Henderson said he was surprised to win the competition. (Supplied: Chris Carnahan)

Henderson said most jumpers did not see the event run by the Aerosports Federation of China to encourage tourism in the area as a competition.
"Most of the event is really about having fun with friends and just enjoying the jumping," he said.
"But there's also the accuracy component ... it was judged in three rounds, so you got three rounds to land as close to the centre of the target as possible.
"And I managed to hit the centre on the first one, and then I thought I may as well keep trying, so I got really close on the other two jumps as well and managed to take out the win."
BASE jumping which stands for building, antenna, span, Earth is a form of parachuting in which participants jump off fixed objects.
"In some ways it's like flying," Henderson said.
"Everything kind of floats by, you get to see the world from a different perspective which is really nice.
"When you're doing your first few jumps it can be a little scary, but after you've been jumping for a while, it becomes more enjoyable than scary."

Photo: American BASE jumpers leap off the bridge at the competition in China. (Supplied: Monica Cianelli)

'It's a shame athletes are seen as criminals in this country'

The sport is currently difficult to practise in Australia, with most locations that are prime for jumping declared private property and requiring rarely given permission.
Henderson said it was "disappointing" Australia was so far behind supporting athletes who parachute, and called for the sport to be made more accessible.
"It'd be wonderful to see some opportunities to do something similar in Australia off any kind of object," he said.
"Because it's a shame that athletes are seen as criminals in this country.
"Jumpers in Australia are forced to either travel overseas, which can be very expensive, or jump incognito, with risk of persecution."
The sport is one of the most dangerous according to a 1995-2005 study in Norway, the odds of dying while base jumping are one in 2,317 jumps, compared to one in about 100,000 jumps for skydiving, the British health care blog Bandolier Journal said.
Despite the risks, sanctioned BASE jumping events are becoming more common around the world, taking place in countries including the United States, Malaysia, Turkey, Norway and Spain annually.

Photo: Baling River Bridge in Guizhou province, China, is one of the world's highest bridges. (Supplied: Chris Carnahan)

Topics: sport, extreme-sports, china
First posted November 11, 2015 11:57:44