In this week's edition of Extreme Exposure—a weekly column featuring news and photography from the world of action and outdoor sports—Skydiver Luke Aikins pulls off the stunt of the century, jumping out of a plane with no chute.
Toledo, Weston-Webb Win U.S. Open of Surfing
Mercifully, the U.S. Open came to an end yesterday in some of the smallest conditions in recent memory, which one reason why many within the surfing world are concerned about the sport becoming part of the Olympic lineup. Filipe Toledo and Tatiana Weston-Webb both captured titles in absolutely tiny, sloppy, wind-blown waves as Mother Nature refused to cooperate with the contest dates. The U.S. Open was actually a World Tour event for the women, and with her quarter final finish, Tyler Wright moved into the overall ratings lead above Courtney Conlogue and Carissa Moore while Weston-Webb secured the fourth position. It’ll be interesting to see if the World Surf League reconsiders the U.S. Open as part of its main women’s tour in the near future. Contests that have set dates instead of open windows where officials can make a call on whether or not to run as the swell allows open up the possibility of the ocean throwing out a dud for competitors, making the contest difficult on athletes, and even more difficult on fans trying to watch.
Definitely the Most Unreal Stunt You’ve Ever Seen
This weekend, Luke Aikins, a 42-year old, third generation skydiver threw himself out of an airplane at 25,000 feet without wearing a parachute. He landed on a 100-by-100-foot net set up at Big Sky Ranch in Simi Valley, Calif. that was apparently several stories high. Afterwards, comments about the size of his, ahem, male parts flooded the Internet. But according Aikins, this wasn’t a haphazard stunt. He’d been working on the project for two years, spending several months prior jumping into a much smaller net to prepare while working on a technique where he turns to his back just as he landed so the net wouldn’t press against his face and front of his body. Just before he jumped, the Screen Actors Guild—of which he’s a part of—put the kibosh on his jumping sans parachute but then relinquished the ban while he was in the plane getting ready to leave the aircraft. “I’m almost levitating,” he said after. “This was incredible.” Indeed.
Kai Lenny Finally Wins Molokai2Oahu
He’s perhaps the greatest all-around waterman in the world, winning multiple world championships in multiple ocean disciplines. But one title had eluded him and it is arguably the greatest test of watermanship on the planet: the Molokai2Oahu—32 miles between the islands of Molokai and Oahu on the Channel of Bones, one of the most treacherous stretches of ocean in the world with its crazy, unpredictable currents and strong winds. But conditions lined up for Lenny this year as he set a new event record with a time of four hours and six minutes. Lenny credited a newfound maturity for his win in the channel this year. “I found a rhythm and paddled less hard than (year’s past), I just paddled smarter,” he said in a post-race interview. “My mind needed to mature for this race. I used to be like a bat out of hell and it doesn’t work that way. This really is a dream come true.”