In Conversation With A BASE Jumper – Sajid Chougle
Ever wondered what the life of a BASE jumper would be like? Ever thought about how to live the life of an extreme sports athlete? We got to have a chat with Sajid Chougle, one of the very few active BASE jumpers and skydivers from India. Let’s get to know more about the sport from the man himself!
Take The Leap Of Faith!
The life of an extreme sports athlete is no ordinary one. There is a high risk associated with each jump that they take. Join us as we discover what Sajid has to say about his journey as a BASE jumper and a skydiver while juggling with his day-to-day ‘normal’ life.
Which sports are you into?
I mainly pursue skydiving, BASE jumping, and wingsuit flying. BASE means Buildings, Antennas, Spans, which are structures, like bridges, and Earth.
How did you get into this field?
I grew up in Mumbai. From 2007-11, I was living in the USA and that is where I started pursuing extreme sports. I started off with skydiving and it slowly led to wingsuit flying and now BASE jumping.
What are your thoughts about BASE Jumping and Skydiving?
I think skydiving has evolved as a sport. There’s a reserve parachute, there’s a backup for a case where you may faint. Your parachute will still open. In BASE jumping, you don’t have all these luxuries. You have one shot at it. I’d recommend people to go try out skydiving as a sport. In my opinion, BASE jumping is a mind game.
For how long have you been pursuing these sports?
I’ve been skydiving since 2008 and my first jump was from 18,000 ft. I started BASE jumping last year and wingsuit flying from 2016. I have 320+ skydives, 11 BASE jumps and 80+ wingsuit flights around the world.
How/why did you become an active BASE jumper?
Honestly, I never thought that being into this whole aerial extreme scene would be full time for me. Somehow I developed a liking for them, especially the physics behind them, the communities, the places that I get to see. For me, it takes me to a super-cool mental state and that is probably why I keep going over and over again.
Why don’t we find many Indians in BASE jumping and other aerial extremes?
There are multiple reasons. Our society has been risk-averse. Even knowledge-wise, not everyone can tell the difference between different extreme sports. However, with new movies and other forms of information, people are becoming aware of these sports. I’m trying to create more content about these sports myself to spread awareness. Most jumpers in India are from armed forces as they have a special adventures wing. As a civilian, I’d want to showcase these sports on their bright side. While there are high-risks involved, there’s a cool side to it of challenging yourself as well.
What do you pursue as your full-time profession?
It’s more like what do I do to blend into the society. I am an animator, I make educational content, we design games and other content, mainly for corporates.
How do you juggle your day-to-day life and adventures?
I’ve made it transparent with my clients. They give me my freedom and I take up projects which are up to 3 months long and then start off with my adventures.
What goes on through your mind when you undertake the jump and where all have you jumped from?
Every skydive and BASE jump is unique and depends on where we jump, with whom we jump, etc. You need to be in the right frame of mind to undertake the jump and you need to give complete attention to it.
One place that is pretty dear to me are the cliffs in Norway. The community and the natural environment there is stunning. I’ve jumped in India twice. I’ve jumped in Maharashtra and Himachal Pradesh; the latter was from a place where no one had jumped before.
What message would you want to give to Mumbaikars?
My message would be, you don’t need to go for extreme sports and jump off cliffs to experience nature. Step out of your comfort zone, try something that you’ve been thinking off and slowly start working towards it. Even traveling outside is not so expensive. India has some beautiful places; even the Sahyadris are a good starting point.
If you need more help, we organize a slack-lining community in Juhu, just get in touch with us there and we’ll guide you.
Sajid feels everyone should try out some or the other form of adventure sports. What are your views on such extreme sports? Have you ever done a skydive or a BASE jump? Let us know in the comments!
Want to start off with an adventure activity? Check out these monsoon treks around Mumbai!
Image Credits: Sajid Chougle