CHRISTIAN WHYTE | FILM PRODUCER, BASE JUMPER & ACTION SPORTS HELLMAN
On today’s Show, we speak with Film Producer and Action Sports Hellman Christian Whyte about his adrenaline-charged life, film making, romance and sewing adventure and risk into everything you do, even your wedding day! Be inspired.
Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit. – e. e. cummings
Valuable Links and References
Background – MY FIRST BASE JUMP
Here I am standing on the edge of a cliff, toes, legs, hands and fingertips shaking from fear and everything in my body is saying don’t do this…
So, what brought me to this point in my life? Well let’s just start by saying this isn’t something that I have always wanted to do.
Six Years ago, in Canada a mate of mine Matty Gilso pulls up in his RV, opens the door and a parachute falls out, at this point I’m still convinced he had it sitting there so when the girls that were with me saw it they would somehow be impressed. Anyway, if it didn’t work on them, it definitely worked on me. For the next few hours we chatted about skydiving and how he got into it. At the time, I was not sure what it was, but there was something in me that really wanted to try it. Not just a tandem (strapped to the front of someone else) but feeling the freedom of free fall and pulling my own chute. Matty put me in touch with another mate of ours back in Australia Scotty ‘Disco’ Hiscoe who is a professional skydiver and also a mate I knew from growing up surfing down at Maroubra beach, that’s where it all started.
It took me all of three weeks before I was sitting in the plane for the first time, parachute strapped to my back, head full of panicked thoughts and Scotty and Tyler next to me laughing about my knee shaking uncontrollably. Let’s just say standing on the outside of a plane whilst it is travelling at 200km/h isn’t the most natural feeling you can have. Somehow having the boys there gave me the confidence and reassurance that everything would be alright.
“Look left, look right, out, in, GO”, seven words I will never forget.
As my hands let go of the stainless-steel bar fixed to the outside of the plane I felt helpless, the feeling as you let go really is indescribable, the closest thing I can think of is being hit by an entire NFL team at the same time getting knocked unconscious waking up and not feeling a thing.
That’s why “only a skydiver knows the feeling”.
It is amazing how long 60 seconds feels when your body is surging with adrenalin, your head is clearer than it has ever been and your taken back to the days when running around with no pants on in a park full of strangers felt normal and I’m not talking about last weekend at 3am with your mates. It’s that moment of clarity you have where nothing else in the world matters anymore. Let’s just say from that moment I was hooked!
So here I am 5 years down the track and almost 900 skydives later looking over the edge of a 1200-meter cliff contemplating my life, family, friends and “WHY THE HELL AM I STANDING HERE?” “Why am I doing? Is this really what you want to do?”
Maury (The local BASE School owner) shouts “Are you going to go or not? If not I have to go and get my tandem passenger ready…” I’ll explain that last bit in a second… I turn around look at him with glazed eyes and say, “I’m going, I’m going” I turn around and think to myself shit, are you seriously fucking doing this? C’mon you pussy you’ve got this.
I close the visor on my Cookie G3 Helmet take three steps forward look at the horizon and try not think about my impending doom. All of a sudden, the visor fogs up and I can’t see a thing. I open the visor sink back onto the wall and grab the rope hanging there for support. SHIT, SHIT, SHIT this isn’t happening. I turn around and see everyone laughing… I suppose this is a normal reaction for a first-time BASE student. The only problem was I wasn’t a normal first-time student…
Let me take a minute to explain how you get into BASE (excuse me if this isn’t perfect BASE jump community). Let’s say one day you decide that life isn’t interesting enough anymore and you need to find that next thing in your life. You can’t think of anything better so what’s the craziest thing you could do.
So, you go online type into google ‘craziest things on the planet’ and hit the “I’m feeling Lucky” button. You are then bombarded with hundreds of videos with guys jumping out of planes, off cliffs over a beach in Greece, hanging off cranes in Russia, slack lining over a 1000m gorge and then the number one thing… Flying a nylon wing suit through trees, waterfalls and rocks looking like a sugar glider! At that moment, you realise that’s what you need to do with your life… So, you start researching BASE jumping and Wing suit flying, amongst all the porn popups there is a trail of evidence that leads you to a BASE school somewhere in Europe starting at a bridge in Croatia or in the US of A at another massive bridge. You call your mates and decide that you have found the answer to life. You save up all your hard-earned cash book the date and you head off with no idea of what you are getting yourself in to.
Well let’s just say that’s not how it happened for me.
The one thing that’s was always hinted at but never spoken about around the drop zone was BASE. It is like this underground community of Vigilantes who sneak around the city and jump off anything they can find that’s high enough. You never know who it is or exactly how they got there but someone is talking about it. So, from the first day I started skydiving there was always these cryptic conversations about this underground sport. And rightly so as we all know that BASE jumping isn’t the safest sport in the world nor is it legal in Australia so letting every skydiver in on the secret would be like mass suicide.
So, the only way you can enter the circle is by either starting overseas and returning to Australia with proven experience or you are lucky enough to get a ‘Mentor’ who shows you the ropes.
*So, for those of you who don’t know what the difference is between skydiving and B.A.S.E (short for Building, Antenna, Span, Earth) jumping is you jump from a fixed object towards the earth, Secondly and the scariest part for me is… You only have one parachute!