Norwegian Jokke Sommer tells you all you need to know and more about the sport of wingsuit flying..
Jokke Sommer is not one for a conventional lifestyle. Skydiving and B.A.S.E. jumping gave way to wingsuit flying and recently he released Dream Lines IV, part of an ongoing series highlighting the beauty of the sport.
Red Bull caught up with Jokke in a rare moment on the ground back home in Norway.
Is wingsuit flying as scary as it looks?
When I was looking at it five years ago I was shocked and I felt sick to my stomach just looking at it, but doing it, it's not that scary. The very first time is a bit special. It's a lot of nerves playing and a lot of feelings and emotions. It's very hard to put into words. It's just something you have to experience.
You'd gone skydiving hundreds of times before trying a wingsuit. How did you make that transition?
I had a lot of jumps from a plane first and that was no problem, and I had a lot of nice B.A.S.E. jumps. I tried with a really small wingsuit first and just progressed from there. The most important thing is that you stay current and develop an awareness of what you do.
How fast are you guys going at top speeds usually?
Speed depends on the terrain but usually about 200 to 220 kilometers per hour (about 125-135 mph). The faster you go the safer it is, but if you manage to get to 250 kilometers per hour (155 mph) then it's pretty sick.
Have you ever had any sketchy moments or close calls while you’re speeding through the air?
I had two shitty times but I learned a lot from them, so I used it as something positive rather than focusing on the negative facts around it.
One time I almost hit something and the second time my cameraman was behind me. We were flying with four people and a helicopter and filming, and the stress level was high. We didn't think twice about the exit timing. We missed timing by half a second and it was not one man's fault, it was a group thing.
We didn't consider all the facts and variables and the correct timing so it ended up that my camera flier and I crashed – it was not the most fun part of the day. But we learned a lot from that.
Your new film, 'Dream Lines IV,' is pretty epic. You can almost imagine being up there, and you can hear what it must sound like to be whizzing through mountains and trees at those speeds. Where were the locations, and how do you find them?
We were in Switzerland and France. I find the terrain myself mainly. We want to present lines that no one else is doing and people can of course copy it themselves the year after, but we want to have exclusive lines that haven't been seen before.
These were lines we found on Google Earth. It's just like Boy Scouts, you're just out looking for some fun and you have these adventures. It's like a wonderland where you have a tree here and some cows there – it's like a dream.
Where haven't you flown that you're excited to check out?
Hawaii. I really want to do Hawaii in April and maybe B.C., but for now it's Rio, then Chamonix in France in March, and then maybe Hawaii in April. It's full-on until the fall.
What are some of your favourite lines you've flown so far?
The one we just did in Switzerland is the one I remember the most. It had everything: It was fast, technical, and visual. It feels like you're flying through a little village. It doesn't feel so steep when you're flying, you see it kind of like just how you'd imagine when you dream about it. It's like this wonderland. It's like Alice in Wonderland but you do it for real. Every human being should get that feeling once in their life – that could change a lot in this world.