Photos by Tim Parrant of Team Alter Ego.
When Red Bull athlete and wingsuit flyer Dani Roman approached Tim Parrant of Team Alter Ego about photographing fellow Red Bull athlete Juan Ventura Sanchez Finguer skysurfing at Skydive Empuriabrava in Spain, he instantly said ‘yes’ without even hearing all the details. Parrant comes from a surfing and skateboarding background, so photographing a skysurfer was always on his bucket list. The opportunity became even more special when Roman decided to join the jump in a wingsuit and invited Flight-1’s Pete Allum to join them flying freestyle and on his belly on one day and Raph Coudray of the Fly Warriors to freefly with them on another.
With the level of talent on the jumps, fall rate was not an issue; the biggest safety concern was collision. With a head-down carving wingsuit flyer, a skysurfer on a board almost as big as himself and a belly-flyer or freeflyer jumping with a photographer in a static position, everyone had to execute their part perfectly. Of particular concern was the wingsuit flyer carving between the photographer and the skysurfer, which the team discussed at length. Parrant initially set up to shoot photos at some distance from the action and then moved closer with every wingsuit rotation to get close enough for a picture. When a flyer docked with the skysurfer, the pair planned to let go only when rotating away from the photographer. They also had a backup plan if they needed to bail out—the photographer would decrease his fall rate and the others would ball up to go down. The wingsuit flyer always kept his eyes on the whole formation and moved in only when everything was optimal.
Each participant was on the top of his game in his respective discipline, but there had to be a lot of trust that each would execute his part of the plan. “If anyone else had approached me with the same idea, I would have told them that there was too much risk,” Parrant said. “There are maybe less than a handful of people in the world I trust to do a jump like this with.”