Keep It Simple

Keep It Simple – Part 1


Keep It Simple


BASE jumping and skydiving are simple.  That’s how we like it and that’s how it works.  We get in a plane or on the edge of a structure with sufficient altitude, jump, open our parachute and land.  Simple.  This isn’t a complex process.

Keep It Simple.  Alastair Macartney stands on the exit point during the Extreme World Championships assessing the detail below him.

Keep It Simple. Alastair Macartney stands on the exit point during the Extreme World Championships assessing the detail below him.

Too Simple?


But, perhaps, we’ve made it too simple.  And perhaps we’ve shown the world that it’s more simple and less complex than they think.  It’s become too easy for people to enter these sports without fully appreciating some of the complexity and understanding the significant risks that they must mitigate.

In skydiving we police entry to the sport but, depending on which country you live in and which dropzone you are at, often this is only until students have demonstrated an extremely basic skill level and understanding.  Sure, there is more training that they need to do but often they are let loose into the big wide world with a limited skill set and left to their own devices.

In BASE jumping, anyone can give it a go.  There have been recent fatalities with people that have limited experience in the BASE environment that wouldn’t listen to their friends.  There have been people that buy gear off the internet, make a handful of skydives and then head to a known BASE exit point.

Darwin’s Law


Perhaps this is Darwin’s Law.  But perhaps we could do something to stop this unnecessary death and the destruction of life that will inevitably bring a bad name to our sports.

In my 2 part post on Preventing Death (click for Part 1 and Part 2) I highlighted that much of this can be avoidable.  Our lack of understanding of the complexity of the  environment that we operate within is a serious factor and a message that we need to communicate.



In the BASE community there has been much debate about whether manufacturers should police their gear sales.  In the past, this was more strongly enforced.  Perhaps this would help but these people will always find ways to get hold of gear.

In skydiving perhaps we should include additional rules and regulations for the jumpers that have just progressed from student status; oversee and monitor them more closely and provide additional checks and mandatory briefings.



But perhaps we need to keep the policy simple.  Additional rules and regulations take away the very freedom that most of us love about our sports.  And many of us hate being restricted and told what to do.

There may be a place for regulation and at some stage it may be forced upon us.  If it’s forced upon us it is likely that it will be done in a way that is not of our choosing, by an external organisation, and not in a considered and self-imposed way – something we really need to avoid.

That means we need clean up our act.  We need to simplify the complexity in certain areas yet embrace and promote it in others.  There is only so much that can be simplified – skydivers and BASE jumpers need to understand that these sports aren’t quite as simple as they might first appear – more on this to follow.



I believe that education is a large part of our way forward.  I would much prefer to educate rather than legislate.

Yet we must educate in a way that people want to be educated.  This isn’t always done overtly in a traditional manner, but sometimes passively and innovatively.

We can continue to educate people in a traditional manner and with digital content, but we shouldn’t stop there.  We can educate people passively, not necessarily without them realising it but by creating quality content that draws them in and creates a thirst, yet has underlying educational content.  In this manner we may be more likely to achieve longer lasting effects.  Even if our message is small, if it’s embedded within quality content it is more likely to resonate.

In Part 2, next week, I’ll explore a method of producing the quality content that has the necessary educational impetus.


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  1. Keep It Simple: The Complexity Story – Part 2 - Alastair Macartney - […] Part 1 of Keep It Simple I talked about simplicity and continued with the need to educate rather than…
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