Every year during the Fall season in Moab, there’s been a growing number of adventure sport athletes who converge in this incredible desert landscape to enjoy the elevated views and seek out exciting new ways to get the blood pumping through our veins. Amongst the two main groups of people who gather here are the BASE jumpers and highliners, who come from all around the world for the annual Turkey BASE Boogie (ongoing for more than 10 years) and G.G.B.Y. highline gathering (with its 7th annual celebration). Both groups come to the same desert playground to communally celebrate life together and push themselves in new innovative ways with their respective sports, but often we’re spread out across the vast red cliffs experiencing different adventures with land and air. The highliners spend long periods of time honing their focus in space walking across long one-inch wide pieces of webbing while the jumpers gather in masses across cliff edges to throw themselves into the abyss for a wild and fast paced flight back to the canyon floor below. Both activities attract different crowds with varying dangerous interests, but the fact remains that we all love this shared desert paradise for the same reasons of its undeniable beauty, solitude and freedom. Despite our differing focuses, we all love being immersed in nature and spending time with our friends in a quiet environment.
This year’s gathering, however, felt noticeably different than all others in the past for one main reason… The “Mothership Space Net Penthouse” was born and both groups found themselves working together as a team in order to rig and share the same air space of the pentagon shaped hammock which was suspended 400′ above the rocky desert floor. Highliners attempted to walk across the five different legs of the net, varying in lengths up to 80 meters long (262 feet), BASE jumpers leapt daily from the human sized hole in the middle of the net and paragliders made several flybys while dropping world-class wingsuit pilots from high above so they could buzz by over groups of friends hanging out in space. This upgrade of size to the space net concept was a massive scale up from the 2012 three sided “Space Thong” design, which was also shared by both groups but with less cohesiveness. A big undertaking during its time but clearly just the first steps toward bigger goals and dreams for one person in particular, Andy Lewis.
This all would not have been made possible with out the rigging genius of Andy’s progressive vision for constructing such creative and ambitious projects, alongside the huge communal effort it took to hand weave this net by more than 50 different BASE jumpers, highliners and friendly volunteers over a 3 day period prior to its one day installation in space. This was without a doubt one of the most unique Thanksgiving gatherings we’ve had out here in the Moab desert, where not one athlete was injured or maimed during the duration of such dangerous stunts. In the end everyone was very thankful for the new relationships and community that came together because of something bigger than any one person. We all eagerly await next years’ gathering as history has shown the progression of these sports coming together to create quite the vertical circus of new achievements never before thought possible or conceived…
CHECK OUT THE VIDEO BELOW
“Space Net” Concept Creator: Andy Lewis
Athlete: Matt Blank
Cameras: Matt Blank, Brian Mosbaugh, Kyle Berkompas
Music: Let it Rain by Keys and Krates
More Images and some words from Andy Lewis:
“Some say that ‘too many chefs spoil the broth,’ but regarding The Mothership Sky Net Penthouse Suit of slacklife glory, this was simply NOT the case! In fact, the list of all the chefs is as long as it is diverse. It’s quite baffling actually and I’m sincerely thankful for everyone’s tremendous efforts in this project and all others past. This was a massive undertaking, AND WE TOTALLY ROCKED IT!!! The knowledge for the successful construction/use of this net has evolved over the last 8 years… Grifin Anderson first showed me some basic net weaving techniques back when I was still in college and since then I’ve learned by experimentation weaving other nets in many locations with other friends including Shaun Cordes, Andrew Tysinger, George Upton, David Gumbiner, Scott Antipa, Jimmy Peterson, Daniel Moore, Nick Williamson. Over time these nets eventually led to the 3 sided Space Thong constructed in 2012, a successful first attempt at what was deemed a “Space Net.” However, it wasn’t until just a few weeks ago that I thought the pentagon idea was actually possible. I calculated the approximate size I wanted the net to be (~2000 square feet) and acquired the proper materials to build it. This took a few years as well considering that every piece involved needed to be extremely strong, redundant and therefore expensive. Since the moment the last of the pieces arrived on my door step I’ve literally had help every step of the way to complete this truly monstrous project. From Brent Cain providing the ultimate perfect net weaving habitat, to Will Fryer providing many ratchets to pre-rig the beast, to Sylvan Christensen who weaved for literally 3 days straight with me and the 30 plus other people who helped including Canyon Cain, Hayley Ashburn, Scott Rogers, Brian Mosbaugh, Ian Flanders, Matt Blank, Adam Krum, Ryan Sorg, Sarah Taz and many others. Among the final rigging team there was more than 50 people who helped set up the pentagon in space, which allowed for more than 200 people to experience the comfort of true net chilling glory, to the 10 people who helped build the nets second layer, to the MANY slackers who helped maintain the rig while I was gone, from adding padding to edges, to re-locking carabiners, to helping people in and out of the net, covering the pink hole for my parachute landing, to the highliners who helped crush 4 out of the 5 legs including Mickey Wilson,Ryan Robinson, Keagan French, to Dan Dewitt and Nathan Pertuset for towing me up in a paraglider for a chance to land in the net! There were also nearly 200 successful BASE jumps made from the net including TARDs, gainers, hanging nonsense, Rudy and Richard Webb with their wingsuit fly-bys, multi ways, a zip line, and at least 1 game on, and I have to give thanks to the BASE community for having not one injury during the entire event. Also a VERY special thanks to the 40 plus people who helped de-rig and carry everything back to my car. I literally was left with nothing to carry back and it was amazing. It was a true and perfect thank you from the community. All I’m thinking about now is how insanely empowering the cumulative strength of an entire community is when brought together by an idea and a dream, watching the paper towel sketched construction and experiencing something brand new that can only be defined as “next generation,” has left me truly inspired and humbled. You are all amazing, and without YOU this never would have happened. From the bottom of my heart I truly and sincerely appreciate everyones work and commitment! I LOVE YOU ALL!!! WOOLALALALLALAL.”
~Andy Lewis (Mr.firstname.lastname@example.org)