Dance with gravity: How this wakeskating pioneer achieved a world-first feat in Dubai

American athlete Brian Grubb performed an adrenaline-filled stunt atop the city's Address Beach Resort that combined wakeskating and base jumping

by

Husain Rizvi

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Photos: Supplied
Photos: Supplied

Published: Tue 12 Dec 2023, 5:54 PM

Last updated: Tue 12 Dec 2023, 6:06 PM

In a thrilling mix of innovation and adrenaline, American Wakeskating pioneer Brian Grubb has etched his name in the books of extreme sports with an unparalleled world-first feat. Against the jaw-dropping backdrop of Dubai's Address Beach Resort, home to the Guinness World Record-holding infinity pool perched an awe-inspiring 294 meters above sea level, Grubb embarked on a daring stunt that seamlessly blended drone wakeskating and base jumping.

Picture this: Grubb, a three-time world wakeskating champion, carving his path atop the sky bridge. Towed by a drone, he navigates a mind-bending 94 meters across the rooftop pool, a feat that alone would quicken the pulse of an ordinary person. But Grubb is not one for the ordinary; he catapults himself over the pool's edge and gracefully enters a freefall. A breathtaking 77-story descent and a dance with gravity that ends in a swift landing on the beach below.

This stunt, named 'WakeBASE,' is not just a record-breaking stunt; it's the realisation of a seven-year-old dream for Grubb. In a chat with City Times, he reflects the moment when the idea first sparked and the challenges he pushed through to make his dream a reality in the world's best city, Dubai. Excerpts from the interview:

Congratulations on the incredible success of the WakeBASE project! Can you take us back to the moment when the idea first sparked in your mind, and what inspired you to combine wakeskating with BASE jumping?

Thank you so much. Yeah, we’re really excited on how WakeBASE turned out and the response that we’ve been getting worldwide. I first started thinking about this idea 10 years ago and thought it would be cool to mix wakeskating and canopy sports. It kind of seemed impossible until we came up with the idea to get pulled by the drone and from there we knew we had an amazing idea that could be done once we built a drone.

This project has been a seven-year dream for you. How did the vision evolve over time, and were there specific challenges or obstacles that made this achievement even more remarkable?

Yeah, like I mentioned before the drone is really the catalyst for this whole project. We needed a way to get towed through the pool and get me out past the exit point and the drone was the perfect solution. these types of drones did not exist seven years ago when we came up with the idea and the team at Starelation built it. We tested it for years to get it safely flying how we wanted it.

Can you describe the mental and physical preparation that went into the WakeBASE project, especially considering the unique combination of wakeskating, drone assistance, and BASE jumping?

Yeah, we had to do a lot to get ready for and make sure that this project could be done safely. I think I went to bed and woke up thinking about this project every day for the last year. I knew my wakeskate skills were ready but I really needed to train behind the drone and in the BASE jumping environment. I committed all of 2023 to training for WakeBASE and felt totally ready when the day came.

You enlisted the expertise of BASE jump legend Miles Daisher for training. How did his guidance shape your skills, and what were the most critical aspects of the training program?

I needed a BASE mentor for this project and asked Miles if he could help me. He set up a plan to gradually and confidently build my skills as a BASE jumper. Miles is such a cool and high energy guy that he puts you at ease even when you are outside your comfort zone on a new jump. He really wanted me to focus on being in the moment and staying committed to the plan. He trained me to be ready for anything during the jump, and to react quickly if something like an off heading opening took place. After over 100 BASE jumps together this summer I felt completely prepared to do the WakeBASE.

Tell us about the rigorous training schedule, including your experiences in Idaho, USA, and Lauterbrunen, Switzerland. How did these locations contribute to your preparation for such a groundbreaking stunt?

We started in Twin Falls, Idaho on the bridge and that’s the first place I started doing the barrel roll I planned to do off the board. Then from there we did three trips to Lauterbrunnen in Switzerland through the summer where we trained in the sub terminal environment. This was the perfect place to progress my BASE jumping and also train for the roll I planned to do during WakeBASE. You can work your way up the valley to higher and more difficult exit points as your skills increase.

This project represents over 20 years of wakeskating and 15 years of skydiving for you. How does WakeBASE stand out as a culmination of your two greatest passions?

Yeah, for me this project combined my favourite sports into one project and the new technology of the drone pulls. I hope this project can inspire people from the wake and sky sports communities. We had a crazy idea for the WakeBase that never seem possible but we never gave up. We just kept slowly moving forward even though it took years and years. But this year everything came together with the drone, the location and the team that made WakeBASE a reality.

Dubai was chosen as the location for WakeBASE. What made this city the ideal backdrop for such a groundbreaking and high-profile stunt?

We looked all around the world for a location for the WakeBASE but as soon as we got eyes on the Address Beach Resort in Dubai, we knew that this was the perfect location. The pool set up perfectly for a long enough run with room for the kicker, the high altitude of over 900 feet and the beach landing area made this the perfect spot. Working with their team was amazing and they always supported the idea completely and let us jump off the building before the day of the project to test winds and landing areas.

Now that WakeBASE is a historic milestone, what's next for Brian Grubb? Which tower next?

This was a lifetime achievement but I’m always thinking of new ideas so will keep moving forward like we always do. We have some new ideas with drone pulls I want to explore. I feel like there is a real potential not only in wakeBASE but other action sports as well. And I’m already looking forward to going back to BASE Jump in Switzerland next summer.

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