Probably the most talked about moment in Jeb Corliss's latest video, "Grinding the Crack," occurs when a man holding balloons dives to the left as Corliss flies dangerously close to him, and the ground.
The dive is the holy crap moment in the video when something quick and seemingly unexpected happens. The other moments—Corliss flying through a canyon at more than 100 miles per hour, brushing tree branches with his arms, and keeping his body still as he zips dangerously close to the ground—elicit a more general sense of awe that builds while watching. The slow build up of amazement is expected in videos by the BASE jumper and wingsuit superstar.
The man in the red 32 jersey dives to the left just before Corliss zips through and touches the string to the balloons. Again, Corliss is close enough to the ground to touch the balloon string. The scene makes you wonder whether the placement of the balloons has a hint of planning in it somewhere.
Does Corliss use the balloons as a marker for navigation? Are they a device to allow him to measure his descent and elevation? Or are they just a toy to play with on the long flight down?
We hit up Corliss by email to find out. He said that he was using the balloons as a way to measure and hit a precise spot during his descent. "I wanted to hit the 5 ft line between the camera man and the balloons," he says.
His answer only magnifies what he says at the end of the flight. "Well, I came extremely close on that one."