On the morning of March 23, professional skateboarder Bob Burnquist stood on a narrow plywood platform on the edge of the Grand Canyon, put his hands together, and shut his eyes. "I'm not religious," says Burnquist, "but I pray all timenot just before jumping off a cliff." To say that Burnquist, 29, was about to jump off a cliff, however, would be to say that Evel Knievel just rode motorcycles. The ten-time X Games medalist was perched atop a 50-foot-long ramp that would launch him onto a four-inch-wide metal rail arching into the abyss, 1,500 feet above the canyon floor. Burnquist would have to hit the rail at about 30 miles per hour and slide all the way to the end, then dive for eight seconds before deploying the parachute on his BASE-jumping rig. To miss the rail or fall off early would either hurtle him into the cliff face or leave him falling so close to it that his chute would be useless.
Photo by Jeff Hammond
He nailed it. Twice. "This is the riskiest thing I've done," says Burnquist. "But I have to cross that line, I have to push, or I'll end up in a nine-to-five."
A Discovery Channel crew was on hand to record the feat for the season finale of its new series Stunt Junkies, and host Jeb Corliss, 30, himself a seasoned BASE jumper, says Burnquist's jump raised the bar. "Out of all the stunts we've had on the show, Bob's was by far the most burly," says Corliss. "He made a jump that nobody else on the planet could duplicate. He's superhuman."