An Interview with Ivo Ninov
Editor: How and when did you develop an interest in BASE? Who got you into the sport?
Ivo Ninov: I have been flying with paragliders since 1991. I have been a
mountain and rock climber since 1989. From the beginning, I always ask
myself “what happens when we reach the top?” The answer was very fast!
Jan-Mark Boawin, he was the true father of para-alpinism.
There have been many people who have climbed and jumped objects but he was the true father of alpine climbing and flying with hang gliders, paragliders and
base jumping from the top of mountains. He was the first person to fly off Everest with paraglider. Jan-Mark died in 1989 in base jumping accident at Angel Falls, Venezuela.
I started base jumping 10 years ago in California. Yosemite was the place where I developed the desire to do the sport. As a climber who spent most of his time on El Capitan, randomly from time to time I witnessed one of the coolest
things ever, people falling for 1000’s of feet and keep living after all with the help of a parachute.
They were a few people who helped me to get into the sport. Dean Potter and Pete Swan are my main mentors. Not long after I met JT Holmes and Shane McConkey. JT was my true wing suit teacher in base world.
Editor: Which spots do you like best in the world to BASE jump, any favorites?
Ivo Ninov: I love Europe, the Alps and Dolomites give many options. Some
easy to get, others harder, but I can say this is the main playground of the base wing suite flying nowadays. Lauterbrunnen and Mt. Bento are the most easy access places. In Switzerland, you can buy a lift ticket for $70 a month, with good motivation you can do 10 jumps a day from 2200 ft.
Editor: Who are your BASE icons?
Ivo Ninov: The live ones! Base is dangerous and the best people are the one who can tell stories themselves.
Editor: What was your all-time favorite BASE jump and where?
Ivo Ninov: So far, the Ecstasy Board on the Eiger. A few years ago, it was
the biggest and longest base-jump in the world. I had a chance to go
there in November 2011 with Dean Potter and do one of the best flights I
ever did, it was an amazing adventure just to get there.
Editor: How do you mentally prepare right before a particularly challenging BASE
jump? Is there a system you follow that helps you mentally focus and
strengthen yourself so that you perform at your best level?
Ivo Ninov: I follow my feelings and rely on my confidence when I’m on exit
point. Base-jumping somehow is like a business, there is risk management
and confidence, plus luck. If I have a bad feeling – I walk away, this is part of the game we can’t control because there is pushing the luck factor! To answer directly your question – when I walk or climb to exit point, I try to understand where I am, what I will face when I jump, this gives me confidence for the jump ahead of me. At the end, we all fly for different reasons!
Editor: Many BASE jumpers say it is a very spiritual feeling, a very special connection to nature and a chance to understand themselves in a significant, more powerful way.
Ivo Ninov: Maybe for some people it is a spiritual connection to the
mountains or themselves. But this is because many of the base-jumpers
come from a skydiving background. For me as a climber, I always feel
good at the mountains and exposed places like buildings and antennas,
this is what I’m living for!I don’t like the wind when I base jump, wind is an extra factor of danger for most of the cases, especially for hard core proximity flying.
Editor: How does BASE jumping make you feel emotionally?
Ivo Ninov: I love it! Makes me happy! It’s amazing to jump off cliffs, buildings, antennas, bridges and live after, thanks to the technology and all the base-jumpers who donated their lives to make the activity safer for us. And for the future generations of BASE jumpers.
Thanks for chatting with us, Ivo.
We hope to do a follow up interview with you after your next phenomenal BASE jump!
Check out and be inspired by these amazing BASE jumping videos, given to us by Ivo:
On the Cover: Ivo Ninov
Cover Date: December 12th, 2014