How do you know that an extreme sport has reached the mainstream? When the competition begins.
It happened with surfing, skating, and BMX, and now it’s happening with wingsuiting.
On October 13-14, 16 of the best wingsuit pilots in the world will gather at picturesque Tianmen Mountain in China to race through the mists vying for $35,000 in prize money and the title of “the fastest wingsuiter in the world.”
The event, called The Tianmen Mountain Grand Prix Wingsuit Race, is the first ever event in the new race series the World Wingsuit League. Red Bull is a main sponsor, and speed is the main objective.
The rules are simple along the course, which twists three-quarters of a mile through Tianmen Mountain National Park and drops 2,600 feet. Jumpers must take off from a clifftop platform, bank around a tethered hot air balloon, and shoot under a cable car in a straightaway to the landing zone.
Each of 16 pilots will get two jumps. The 8 pilots with the fastest flights will move on to the final round, where again the pilots will fly twice. Whoever makes it down the mountain fastest this time wins, earning $20,000 and a place in the history books.
WWL president and co-founder, Liro Seppanen, says there’s already a favorite to win. That would be Norwegian skyblazer, Jokke Sommer, who has the length, bulk and guts to go vertical and destroy the wind resistance pilots will encounter during flight. Fans have chosen a different favorite: Jeb Corliss, who last year shot through Tianmen Cave in one of the most daring wingsuit stunts ever attempted.
You can see the 14 other racers and vote for your own favorite at the World Wingsuit League’s official site.