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Posts from the ‘Ropeswing’ Category

Behind the Lens

 

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 moments of doubt and periods where I feel a bit disoriented without a real schedule to abide by, but the flip side of this coin is a self-directed path where I’m moving in unexpected directions of joy and new terrain. Throughout the many years of traveling out of my vehicle seeking various opportunities to play in nature, I’ve stumbled across many groups of interesting and uniquely gifted people who often think, act and live outside of the box. A modern tribe of pseudo-rebels and trouble makers defining their own rules to life, often far from the concrete jungles and confined indoor cubicles of urbanized society. Most of them happen to be outstandingly creative and coordinated athletes, while others are inspiring artists and free spirits who live by a similar code of passion in everything they do… I’ve concluded this to be the recipe for a truly meaningful life of creation, and I’m continually surprised by the many forms it manifests all around me. Whether your passion is growing a garden or walking a slackline high above the ground, it seems whenever you dedicate your life to cultivating meaning through personal action and interaction, a positive life is carved out in front of you. Decisions and experiences tend to gravitate toward a community of like minded people on a similar path of happiness and progression, and this is the real source of momentum that keeps the wheels spinning and the engine turning over time.

So who is Kyle Berkompas?… Many years ago I found myself in the desert of Moab during the Thanksgiving season, at yet another highline gathering of balanced athletes and artists from around the world. It was there that I noticed an unfamiliar face amongst the small accumulated crowd, which at that time was something of a rarity since our family of slackliners was even smaller and more close knit then. The popularity of Moab as a highline mecca, just 3 years ago, was still hidden under the radar and these gatherings were pretty small, exclusive and lesser known. When I first saw Kyle he was on the edge of a cliff, assembling a long camera crane for an upcoming video shoot with Andy Lewis. I became suddenly aware that a high budget film was being made and Kyle was at the forefront of documenting the slacklife-style which we had all been living. Upon striking up conversation, I learned he was working for Sender Films and was creating a piece on Andy which would later be featured in the Reel Rock film tour traveling the globe. We started working and spending time together then and I offered to help with the production over the next week… I think there was a moment of realization that came with this, that slacklining was slowly blowing up in popularity and the media coverage about our adventure lifestyle would eventually become a bigger catalyst for spreading our balanced gospel worldwide. Since that day, Kyle and I have cultivated a great friendship and we occasionally get the opportunity to team up on video projects together, primarily documenting the progression of the Moab Monkeys and other inspiring athletes who push the boundaries of outdoor adventure.

 

Over the years, Kyle’s camera skills have become more refined and his ability to get the epic shot in any outdoor setting has exponentially improved with his evolving craft. From commercial shoots with Alex Honnold to his upcoming film Exposure Vol 1, it seems Kyle is always traveling the globe documenting the most progressive achievements with the best “extreme” athletes alive today. Currently working for Chuck Fryberger Films and doing freelance projects on the side for large companies, Kyle is a committed artist ready to document the adventure anytime, anywhere. The success he has created over the years continues to inspire me as an aspiring professional cameraman and friend, and I’m very proud to support and share his work here at Slackline Media.

The above short videos are samples of his recently edited work with the Moab Monkeys and other desert nomads who seasonally call this dry paradise home. I was fortunate enough to be hired on as the camera assistant/behind the scenes documenter for these projects, during which time I learned a lot about the industry and what it takes to capture adventure sports from unique perspectives. Utilizing state of the art camera equipment and progressive flying technologies, we teamed up with the amazing aerial filming experts at SkySight, based out of Boulder, CO, to capture these incredible sceneries from never before seen views using the RED Epic camera… For those of you unfamiliar to the world of modern camera equipment, this technological set-up with flying octocopter included, costs around $70,000 in total. The RED Epic is capable of capturing digital video at an incredibly impressive resolution of 5K and at mind boggling slow speeds for ultra awesome slow-motion sequences! This was the first time in history that these two technologies had been paired up together! It was an absolute honor to have them record the evolving shenanigans of the Moab Monkeys and Mason Earle’s newest/hardest crack project in our desert backyard. So as usual, sit back and crank up the volume on these presented short films! If you feel the love, share them and spread the works of Kyle Berkompas, SkySight and the Moab Monkeys as we constantly push the limits of outdoor adventure and human achievements.

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

~Brian Mosbaugh

WORLD RECORD FREE SOLO HIGHLINE WALK: 180′ without a leash

 

On August 17th of 2011, Andy Lewis officially became the first person to walk 180 feet on a slackline suspended more than 200 dizzying feet above the desert floor… WITHOUT A LEASH. To those of you who don’t understand climbing or slackline terminology, this is referred to as free soloing, where the practitioner is void of any back-up connection or protection to the slackline outside of his/her own ability to stay balanced on top of it step by step. The options here are: to either flawlessly walk the line from one end to the other, to fall but subsequently latch onto the line for dear life, or the the third alternative, being the most obvious and most dreaded, is death. It’s a specialized discipline of highlining which the majority of all slackliners and highliners world-wide will never attempt, which isolates an even smaller community into another sub-section of the most trained and confident balanced practitioners. It requires a sharp mind, a trained body, flawless movements and an unparalleled confidence in your own ability to fully live in the moment and respond to the slacklines energy. For many years, Andy has been developing these skills to achieve this type of perfected feat in a relatively safe fashion. I say “relatively safe” because nothing is guaranteed in this pursuit, but risk can be mitigated with proper preparation. Don’t be fooled, however, despite his composure in the above video Andy actually did bail/catch this monstrous highline on two different attempts before successfully walking its full length without a leash.

There’s a lot that happens behind the scenes leading up to this accomplishment, which is rarely acknowledged in a short 4 minute video. Having the courage to confront falling twice on this line, while still mustering the energy to try a third time is something poetically crazy and beautiful. It was somewhat nerve racking to film this walk on my behalf, but considering Andy’s long training background, my experience around his risky shenanigans and bold decisions, accompanied by the events leading up to this day I was ultimately supportive of the dream he had been chasing down for so many years. After walking the “Great Bongzilla” over 10 different times with various types of leashes, offering minimal safety and protection, and having free-soloed over 60 different highlines that same year without injury or death, it was obvious if anyone was prepared enough for such a challenge it was Andy himself. He was physically capable of walking the line without any safety aid, he just had to put confidence into action… That being said, understanding something is possible and actually experiencing it as a LIVED reality are two very distinct achievements and epiphanies to have. Knowing that you can confidently walk a slackline without stumbling or having a mis-step 99% of the time is one thing, actually doing it is quite another. With the added mental stress of exposure alongside the fact that your body is absolutely free of any attachment whatsoever can be difficult to manage physically and mentally. It requires an advanced level of focus matched with a philosophy of detachment, which allows you to fully let go of the future and only acknowledge the present moment. This, I assure you from experience, is a very different mental place to be in while trying to calmly balance across a single inch-wide piece of webbing, which moves with the wind and is constantly oscillating up and down/left to right because of your body’s response.

The above video piece is an original production put together by Andy Lewis for EpicTV. It features the above mentioned current world-record free solo walk at its conclusion with an awesome soundtrack of lyrics and guitar beats that match the tone and narration of the theme. It was an honor to be there that day, to witness, to document and be a part of history being made right in front of me. There were no commercial interests involved, or any other bullshit dramas to dilute the purity of what was happening on a very deep level for Andy. Step by step, he made a dream manifest into reality after years of perseverance and dedicated hard work on the line. The setting was merely a handful of friends gathered around a small campfire in the desert playing some music on the guitar. We were doing what we all love most, which was simply balancing on slacklines in space, isolated in the deep desert environment of beautiful Moab. I’m proud to say, this is the exact expression of what Slacklife has come to be for me and my fellow monkey friends. We live and die to fulfill our biggest dreams and try to never underestimate the moment to moment happenings all around us. Cheers to a life well lived, a dream come true and many more adventures to come along the way…

~Brian Mosbaugh

230′ Rope Jump is Reborn…

 

About 3 years back while highlining in the vast desert of Utah, a new and innovative rope swing concept was born and put into practice. As a balanced community of highliners who constantly seek out elevated challenges, we’re regularly spanning gaps in space and above slot canyons which present new opportunities for recreating with gravity. In this case, the idea of using the middle of a highline as a potential floating anchor emerged between the creative minds of Jan Galek, Faith Dickey, Jordan Tybon and myself… As a warm up and trial rig for larger rope swing opportunities in mind, we created a “short” 70 foot pendulum swing over a shallow bowl of sandstone. The jumps were successful and the rigging was solid. We all laughed and rejoiced in the fun we were having, then moved onto our next highlining destination as usual. This new location presented greater potential for free fall into space and as we considered the project we were undertaking, our butt holes puckered and our hearts began to race. Upon finishing the trial rig, we anxiously stared into the abyss below and imagined ourselves hurdling through the air in the biggest pendulum swing we had ever seen or considered possible. Since it was my birthday, my generous friends, needing a willing guinea pig, offered me the first jump to test out the rig and to check the clearance between the canyon walls (note that we first used a weighted haul bag as a test). After the adrenaline subsided and grinning faces transitioned into nervous expressions, everyone was psyched about what had been accomplished.

 

Flash forward many years later… After hundreds more highlines had been rigged and experience was gained in the elevated world, I was approached by my Moab Monkey teammate, Scott Rogers, to supervise the construction of my previous ground breaking rope swing. The video montage I had edited after the first rig was completed surprisingly captured the attention of over 400,000 YouTube viewers and was even featured on several Japanese television shows and CNN in the United States. With a greater following and viewing of what we had made, a new group of successful film makers were eager to repeat the experience and capture it in a new innovative way. Devin Supertramp, who boasts over 870,000 YouTube followers and over 150 million views on his video channel, was excited about the new project. What I originally thought would be a time of supervising and monitoring the safety of this complex project became a more involved undertaking for both Scott and I. We became directly responsible for the rigging, safety and preparation of over 15 jumpers during the course of a 2 day filming period. With great pride, no one was injured or hurt during the frigid conditions, and everyone left with a HUGE smile and greater appreciation for our creative pursuits. Scott and I also were able to help film and document the experience from high angle positions, hanging from ropes in precarious places in the 400 foot abyss, where other film makers were unable to access and document with comfort. This is where we are most naturally talented, hanging in space and maintaining a calm smile is where we shine as highliners. We give into the pulling gravity and intimidating positions, allowing for us to focus on getting the shot and help out new friends to create this wonderful masterpiece which you now can see. Several of our shots were used in the final edit and the Moab Monkeys had the awesome opportunity to network with new and inspiring film makers… We look forward to the brainstormed projects to come this spring and fall with Devin and his crew, to give a greater perspective of BASE jumping and highlining in new locations.

Featured above is the final edit of Devin’s hardwork and editing skills put into practice, and below is the video which tells the behind the scenes story of how it all went down. I hope you all enjoy the finished products!

 

P.S. Stay tuned for a full edit of another rope swing I rigged at Smith Rock State Park… Here’s a sneak preview of the jump, sorry for teasing so much.

~Brian Mosbaugh