A New Era of Aerial Space Net Rigging
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 exciting new ways to get blood pumping through our veins. Amongst the two main adventure groups 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 15 years) and G.G.B.Y. highline gathering (with its 8th annual celebration). Both communities come to the same desert playground to 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 having different adventures with land and air. The highliners spend long periods of time honing their focus walking across long one-inch wide pieces of webbing in space while the jumpers gather in masses across cliff edges to throw themselves into the abyss for a wild and fast paced flight 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 to rig and share the same 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 wingsuit pilots from above to buzz by groups of friends hanging out in the net. 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.
This all would not have been made possible with out the huge communal effort it took to hand weave this new space net by more than 50 different BASE jumpers, highliners and friendly volunteers over a 3 day period prior to its one day installation between the canyon. 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 during the duration of such dangerous stunts. In the end, everyone was very thankful for the new relationships and community that came together because it represented something bigger than any one person.
Athlete: Matt Blank
Cameras: Matt Blank, Brian Mosbaugh, Kyle Berkompas