Base jumpers taking off on Hawaii high rises - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Base jumpers taking off on Hawaii high rises

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii is full of extreme sport enthusiasts from big wave surfing to skydiving. One activity that is growing in popularity is base jumping, but it's also extremely dangerous.

Base jumping is climbing to the top of a tall structure, like a high rise building, and parachuting down. It's estimated 20 people have based jumped in Hawaii and 10 do it regularly. It's almost unbelievable but those that do it have video to prove it.

The video shows guys jumping off Ala Moana Hotel and the Waikiki Sunset Hotel. Those that do it don't think it's crazy, they say it's cool.

"Right when you get to the edge of a building and you're ready to go, that's the climax," said TK Hinshaw, who is in the videos base jumping. "Of course we understand it's really dangerous, but the thrill we get out of it outweigh our fears. It's not about being crazy or trying to cheat death, it's more of the feeling of being free and enjoying life and I think base jumping is really about life."

He says that even knowing one of his close friends is now paralyzed from 'ground launching,' which similar to paragliding off a cliff, but with a parachute.

"There have been several times when I came close to losing my life and the only reason I'm still here is quick reaction and experience," said Hinshaw. "After the initial shock of knowing that you almost died you realize how lucky you are and how well you handled the situation."

Near death experiences only make the 19 year old want to jump more. He started less than a year ago and has already jumped 50 times. He also says he has skydived thousands of times and says that experience makes him a better base jumper. He admits base jumping is not for everyone.

Because base jumping is new there isn't any law against, but police say depending on the circumstances you could still be charged with things like trespassing, disorderly conduct, destruction of private property or even burglary. Of course, you have to be caught first.

"I have not been caught in the act. I have not come close. I consider myself pretty intelligent about how I go about things," said Hinshaw.

He says they study a building height, the wind conditions, landing area and getaway access before jumping. They gain access simply by renting a hotel room or they know someone in the building who will let them in.

"I know for a fact we're not going to stop jumping, and the reason why people think it's rare, it's actually not rare in Hawaii it's just we're really good at not being seen. We like to think of ourselves as ghosts," said Hinshaw.

The Honolulu Police Department issued the following statement: "This type of stunt is obviously dangerous. The Honolulu Police Department discourages individuals from participating in any action or stunt, such as the one seen in the YouTube video, as it could lead to serious injury or death."

To see the YouTube video, click http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=base+jumping+hawaii&search_type=&aq=f


2009 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly