Thursday, September 2, 2010

Boldfacers - Justin Shorb

Boldfacers magazine has a video interview with Justin Shorb, with a nice item on how he got into wingsuit flying, and why he loves flying.

Look! In the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane...


It isn't Superman. It's better than Superman. Justin Shorb is a super real man. He flies though the air at 150 miles per hour wearing a piece of clothing that transforms him from a man into a bird. Super crazy? You could argue that.

So how does a sweet kid from Powell, Wyoming, go from playing baseball to risking his life dozens of times a day? He observed his first skydive on a whim with a good friend when he was 17 years old. His friend never jumped; Justin was hooked. For most, jumping out of a plane is a kooky adventure — intense! Terrifying! Awesome! -- and one-time-only, thank you. But Justin wasn’t scared at all. He never felt so alive before in his life. The heart-attack speed of the freefall, the feeling of floating in a parachute, the stark reality that the ground was 13,000 feet below and that human or technical error could snuff him out — what a rush.

He survived, and learned that skydiving was safer statistically than driving to the supermarket. (Roughly 35 out of two million skydivers die every year.) And flying was a helluva lot more fun. He started jumping all the time, getting 3,700 jumps under his belt by the time he was 24. Then he saw a dude slice through the air in a wingsuit. It made his parachute look like a lollipop.

He tried the suit on. Pros call it a “squirrel suit” because it’s shaped like a flying squirrel. Justin pushed his arms into the sleeves and spread them out to the full seven-foot wingspan. He knew he wouldn’t be wearing much else out of a plane anytime soon.

Four years later, Justin has traveled all over South America, Europe, Canada, and the United States as a wingsuit instructor. Locally, he teaches out of Jumptown USA and Skydive Pepperell. He regularly performs in wingsuit flying demonstrations and recruits folks to skydive. (Full disclosure: The Boldfacers team skydived with him in Jumptown in one of the most hair-raising, fabulous experiences of our lives.) The father of two has been filmed for the History Channel and the Science Channel, and there’s talk of consulting on a Batman film. As for the dangers of his everyday life, Justin is insouciant. Dying is part of living, he says; it could happen to you today. To him, it’s super logical.

Check it out here

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