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Tangentially Speaking

393 – Jeff Shapiro (Base Jumper/Wingsuit Flyer)

By September 10, 2019September 14th, 20198 Comments

Jeff is a legend in the extreme sports community. He’s one of those seemingly insane guys who jump off cliffs thousands off feet high — either in a wingsuit or with a parachute. His thoughtful, calm demeanor presents an interesting contrast to the realms of sheer terror he’s drawn to.

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Music: “Brightside of the Sun,” by Basin and Range; “Flip, Flop, and Fly,” by Big Joe Turner; “Smoke Alarm,” by Carsie Blanton.


  • joshuadoey says:

    This guy sounds just like Jim Kwik. I really love the way he looks at life.

  • James Anthony says:

    I listened to the entire interview. Despite his philosophical justifications and charitable work, I still hear a guy motivated primarily by ego and an addiction to the endorphin rush of extreme sport. He has a 15 year old daughter who did not choose to have a father who takes huge discretionary risks with his life. As someone who lost his father as a teen, I can tell you that no legacy of achievement will fill the void of early parental loss. Surely at 44 years old, being a veteran in his sporting community, he can find a safer way to provide for his family that balances his need for adventure with his responsibility to his family.

    • Dave says:

      I’m sorry for your loss, but it doesn’t make any sense to limit your life because of others. Everyone has their path to walk, that’s where their lessons lie. Do you have children? It doesn’t sound like it. Risk is life. We could get hit by a car and killed every time we leave the house! We could choke on our food and die at the dinner table. Listening to how he talks about what he’s doing, it doesn’t sound like he takes any risks. If he climbs the mountain and the weather is bad, he doesn’t jump. He clearly loves life and wants to keep on enjoying it! I’m a skateboarder. No where near as dangerous as jumping off of mountains. However, I had a serious accident some years ago, and the mother of my son told me “that’s it, no more skateboarding”. But that wasn’t an option. Without moving my body, without the speed, the small amount of risk, the knocks, the joys, the victories over myself, the friendships, the fresh air, the sun on my skin, I am not me, I am depressed, angry… there’s no way I would do that to myself or the world. The answer was not to retreat, but to go harder. To exercise more, to work on my mind to know myself more, to push myself to learn new things rather than just roll along with what I have in my trick bag. And that’s what I did. I’m healthier, happier, stronger now in my mid 40’s than I was in my mid 30’s because of this. And that’s better for my son. I would guess it’s the same for this guy and his daughter. I love my son with all my heart, but I put myself first. If I am not doing well, his life won’t be good. I take care of myself so I can be the best I can be for him.

      • Jef says:

        I feel like I’m stuck between both sides of this discussion. I’m a bit like Dave, a father and a bmx rider (same world as skateboarding, but probably a little more dangerous). These activities improve our lives and even give us our identities, but I also know we could lose it all.

    • Arturo says:

      Unless you choose to not have children like Chris, you’re a hypocrite.

  • What a deep and self-centered dude. A dear friend of mine is into paragliding, and one thing I’ve noticed is that he hardly gets affected by the petty quarrels and trivial concerns most of us obsess over on a daily basis due to social media. I think this is a direct result of training your mind to only focus on the things that matter, which is a vital necessity when you find yourself hundreds of feet above ground.

  • joe says:

    great times…thnk u

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