Over the past many years I’ve been fortunate enough to live a simple life of travel and balance, meeting amazing people along the way and accumulating a massive collection of video footage and photographs. I try my best to publish and share these documented moments with everyone but the reality is I mostly prefer spending my time outside creating new memories rather than sitting in front of a computer processing hours of footage and crunching away on long stints of editing. I like to think that in modern times I’ve found a delicate balance between these two experiences, which has allowed me to support a life of continuous adventure, but not too long ago I was only living out of my car devoted to the outdoors more than any other thing in life. Which brings me to my meeting with a friend named Jon Lang back in Oregon, whom a couple years ago approached me with an interest to edit some of my archival footage to use in a college assignment back at Oregon State University. We started hanging out together and began bouncing ideas back and forth about starting a production company and how we could go about getting a bit more professional with our documenting habits and obsession, but to summarize a long story short, we eventually went our separate ways as Jon was pursuing a career in the free skiing world and I moved out to Moab, Utah where my life became sculpted by the awesome community and sandstone cliffs that I now interact with everyday.
The video above is comprised of my collected archival footage from an expedition to Thailand with the Moab Monkeys, highlines in Joshua Tree/Moab/Yosemite, along with some additional video footage Jon compiled of the first annual Smith Rock Highline Gathering I organized and the many deep water solo lines I developed in central Oregon with the help of many rad friends. Looking back on all these memories always makes me smile and reminds me of the footprints I’ve left behind and gets me excited for the new adventures to come. There’s been so much progression in the sport of slacklining over the years that it’s obvious the passion and pursuit of balance will always see leaps and bounds as long as this passionate community continues to devote their lives to its obsession and progression. Jerry Miszewski has been a huge influence in the community, pushing the limits of length, endurance and innovation with the sport while Andy Lewis has been exposing the world to his ‘slacklife’ philosophy with his many crazy shenanigans, world traveling pursuits and awesome combination of parachute sports alongside a one inch piece of webbing. Both athletes are featured in this short video, alongside countless other individuals who have also spearheaded the progression of slacklining in so many other ways. Much of this footage has been locked away with my collection of hard drives and has yet to be seen by the public until now. So, sit back and enjoy this fast paced edit created by Jon himself.
In closing, I just want to say that it’s been an honor sharing these smiling moments of balance in nature with so many talented artists and I look forward to the new friendships and adventures that wait on the horizon. Until that next line is established or plane ticket purchased, slackers keep up the high life and stoke of balanced progression. The world really is watching and we’re just having a good ol’ time cultivating a happy life of smiles, vertical challenges and real adventure with our closest friends and heroes. What a time to be had!
A beautiful and cinematic short featuring some of slacklines greatest moments and evolving athletes over the years. In recent times highlining has seen some incredible progressions and Grant Thompson has dedicated his life to passionately telling the stories of so many of these balanced individuals playing in nature, from the staggering heights of Yosemite to the urban playground of Poland. Watching his storytelling craft continually improve over the years has been an absolute pleasure to see and I hope you enjoy his artistic pursuit and vision as much as I have. There is much to be said about this person but I prefer to let his work tell the story for him… If you wish to see more of his inspiring shorts just CLICK HERE and give him your support and stoke wherever possible.
After mourning the recent deaths of some close BASE jumping friends I needed a break from Moab to explore new sceneries and reset the brain. My immersion into the sport of BASE jumping has been one of the most incredible adventures of my life, however, it also comes with extreme moments of sadness and joy oscillations. In order to clear my mind from the desert dust, I decided to spend all of December living in a noisy airplane hanger at Lodi, California. It was a unforgettable adventure spent skydiving everyday, learning new aerial skills and improving my canopy control with inspiringly talented people. The world of air sports never ceases to amaze me with the diverse and awesome crowd it attracts. This sky tribe devotes more time learning to relax in the air than standing on the ground, which breeds incredibly coordinated aerial acrobats who literally play amongst the clouds. Everyone smiles a lot and learns to tolerate the noise and smell of airplane engines daily. After all, flying out of aircrafts some 13,000′ above the Earth’s surface definitely requires sacrifices of sorts. If you haven’t had the pleasure of falling with your friends in pure air I highly recommend you do so. It’s proven to cure your mind of all the petty mental obstacles we manifest and is guaranteed to put you in the flow of each moment. In general, skydiving may not be the solution to your financial debt problems, but I once heard it cured cancer for someone… It’s science, don’t question it!
After completing 75 new skydives I decided it was time to speed off from the drop zone back towards Moab, Utah. As soon as I got back to the desert I shared a loving embrace with my girlfriend and promptly rode off into the sunset on an adventure down south toward Puerto Rico. We spent close to a month practicing traditional yoga, acroyoga, slacklining, climbing, surfing and dancing with many wonderful people at the Redefining Balance retreat, that my dear friend Adi Carter hosts every year. If you’re ever wondering how to spend your January or February months, and you have a week or more of freedom to indulge yourself (preferably as much time as possible) I recommend booking a cheap ticket down to this wonderful island paradise where you’re guaranteed to experience an overwhelming amount of natural beauty and radical community all around. This little island hosts a huge abundance of natural waterfalls, jungles, beaches and relaxing island culture in every directions of its small land occupancy. Adi is an amazing teacher, masseuse and yoga master who will guide you toward better balance, beauty and relaxation to spice up your life. So to put things simply, I spent many weeks improving my balancing skills, playing in the tropical blue waters of the ocean and sharing continuous smiles with amazing people… After many layovers and several connecting flights, I once again returned to my desert playground of sand and stone in Moab, Utah.
With only two days of getting settled in my own bed I began packing yet again for another trip, one that swept me off toward Arizona where I started a new chapter of adventure film making, producing an upcoming web series called Exit Point. This project is all about documenting the lives of some of my many talented female BASE jumping friends as they travel the globe and explore the limits of human flight together. Collectively they’re an awesome bunch of people who come from different backgrounds and share a committed passion of flying. This is only the beginning of a huge unfolding adventure which is taking on more momentous creativity with the Exit Point team.
Aside from a million details left out here and there, that’s the run of things as they happened since November of last year. As mentioned, keep checking back as I continue sharing links to the upcoming videos and adventures of the Exit Point team of female bad asses.
Death is inevitable. We all come in the door and out another at some mysterious time. The reality of not being invincible remains a commonality for all mortal beings where death eventually confronts us in the end… During the past 10 days, international headlines have bleed regularly as 7 BASE jumpers/wingsuit pilots have died flying from various cliffs in different parts of the world while pushing the limits of human flight. Tragically so, a recent addition to this growing list happened to be a local Moab hero, and one of the most talented jumpers worldwide who boasted an impressive history of over 20 years in the sport without any severe injuries. This discussion of risk vs reward has always been a common topic of discussion amongst the adventure sports community, which understands these risks far too well, as participants take on a high level of commitment in their passionate outdoor pursuits. Due to all the recent fatalities I felt inclined to share some perspectives on life and death as a whole, and provide some insight to the stories that are created in between.
It’s easy to attribute mistakes and death in the BASE world to inexperience and a lack of awareness, but when one of the most accomplished pioneers of the sport goes in, your mind can feel a bit jolted and confused about personal risk assessment decisions. This question of risk vs reward that comes up seems even more pertinent than ever before, leading to new ways of approaching everyday circumstances for some of us. The death of a friend or family member is so very real, more so than any personal injury or temporary physical pain, because it penetrates to the very soul of everyone around you, your family and the community. It illustrates tangibly the incredible influence that everyone has on each other in this world. While sustaining a life of adventure, death hides behind every corner you approach, leading its participants to think differently, live differently and appreciate all aspects of daily life differently. Confronting mental obstacles, physical set backs and potentialy fatal scenarios regularly, at some point puts you in a position of balancing the unknown outcomes of your personal decisions with the adventure you’ve committed to. When pushing the extremes in high risk sports, life and death simply become a bigger part of your daily thought process and chosen path. You begin to ask, what are your real motivations? At what point is the pursuit of adventure worth the outcome of not coming back on your next expedition? The questions go on and on and I don’t claim to know the universal answers, just the personal ones… There exists no universal response, in fact, but at some point when you’re putting it all on the line you have to be brutally honest about what you’re seeking in life. Is the pursuit of freedom worth dying for?… For some of us it is. This distinction is inherently what defines our personalities as extreme athletes and we accept the give and take of living so fully, while losing so much from time to time.
Reflecting on the recent death of Mario Richard, one of the most genuinely talented and unscathed BASE jumpers/skydivers/wingsuit pilots worldwide, this topic becomes very personal and emotional. I’ve always resorted to the poetic response that a life well lived is better than a life never lived at all, and I often find this to be the common cultural thread of connection in this adventure sports community. In the words of a dear Australian friend, Luke Chappell, who lived and died for the sport of BASE jumping, “everyone dies mate, not everyone lives.” Despite the roller coaster of feelings and emotions between friendships and partnerships living with heavy risks, you start to see the guiding philosophy behind these athletes and compassionate human beings. Accepting the fragility of life and the ever passing moments of time, we’re forced to consider that our physical lives will eventually end at any moment… Not necessarily tomorrow or the next year, but maybe today. Retirement plans begin to seem a scam and organizing life for the very distant future starts to feel like a distraction from living fully in the moment. This lifestyle of flight and gravity is what Read more
Life as a nomadic adventurer has no defined path or “how to” book on finding success. A lot of my personal experience in trying to “make a living” with this traveling lifestyle is built on the foundation of following my own intuition, committing to the adventure and trusting that it all works out in the end. There are occasional moments of doubt and disorientation in my direction, but the flip side of this experience is a constantly evolving path filled with unexpected moments of joy and learning. Throughout the many years of living a simple life out of my vehicle, I’ve stumbled across many groups of interesting and gifted commumities who often think, act and live outside the box
I introduce you to a modern tribe of rebels and desert dwellers who define their own set of rules and guidelines to life, far from the concrete jungles and confined cubicles of urbanized society. Most of these so called “dirt bags” happen to be outstandingly creative and world-class athletes, while others are inspiring artists and free spirits living by a similar code of passion in everything they do. Whether their obsession is growing a garden or walking a slackline high above the ground, it seems whenever anyone dedicates their life’s energy toward following intrinsic bliss, a positive path unfolds. Decisions, experiences and communities of magical people amass over time and the the zest for life is shared forever.
The above short videos are samples of Kyle Berkompas’s work with the Moab Monkeys and other desert nomads who seasonally call this dry paradise home. I was fortunate enough to be the camera assistantant/behind the scenes documenter for these projects, during which time I learned a lot about the adventure film industry and what it takes to capture these experiences from unique perspectives. Utilizing state of the art camera equipment and progressive drone technologies, we teamed up with the amazing aerial filming experts at SkySight, based out of Boulder, CO, to capture these incredible shots using a RED Epic camera. This was the first time in history that these two technologies had been paired together! It was an absolute honor to have them capture the evolving adventures of the Moab Monkeys and Mason Earle’s newest/hardest crack project in Moab.
To check out more work from SkySight click HERE
What’s going on in and outside the office of Chuck Fryberger Films click HERE
Stranger Than Fiction EpicTV Short Film Festival
Week three in Brazil is coming to an end and the Moab Monkeys met up with “Lucky” Luke Chappell and some other Brazilian BASE jumpers to explore the urban jungle of Rio de Janeiro. This week’s episode includes some building BASE jumping adventures and new highlines above downtown Niteroi. The buildings will go unnamed, as frankly we don’t even know what they’re called. The two highlines shown include the “Sweat Shop,” 17m long (established by Allan Pinheiro), and “Sol Opressor,” which is a new line we created in the 45-50m range. Enjoy this week’s episode and keep your eyes out for more. The Monkeys have one more week in Brazil and we’re preparing for our biggest project yet!
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