Sep 10, 2012 9:52 PM by Hope Hanselman, KSBY News

Local dare devil takes a leap of faith

Earlier this Spring, China unveiled it's latest architectural feat.

The Aizhi Bridge in the Hunan Province stands at 1,150 feet and is one of the world's tallest and longest bridges.

In celebration of this accomplishment, the country has invited a few dozen people to B.A.S.E. jump off it. One of them is local and tells KSBY it's all, like anything, a calculated risk.

Joe Weber, a dentist in Santa Barbara, is a numbers man. There's the number of countries he's visited.

"Malaysia, Switzerland, Italy, Venezuela, Thailand, Burma," Joe rattled off.

He stopped counting after 37 and he could no longer spell the countries.

"I think it would be quicker to say the ones I haven't visited."

There's the number of times he's taken flight- Joe has more than 3,000 sky dives.

Or the number of objects off of which he's thrown himself- more than 650 B.A.S.E. jumps.

Joe is one of the original jumpers to develop the hobby of jumping off a stationary object into a sport.

"Jumped downtown Indianapolis by myself, Jared shooting video," Joe recalled one leap in hundreds. "Landed in the parking lot, over the top of a cop car, cops chased me, I got away. Channel 8 called and wants to do an interview."

But, the number of times Joe has been arrested?

"I stopped counting... It's not really arrested, it's more detained."

In all his travels, Joe has run into the most trouble right here at home. He says his B.A.S.E. Jumping friends rarely get legal access on their adventures. So, they turn to other countries to get their thrill.

Now, Joe is packing for another adventure in, what he feels like, the only place he hasn't been. China.

He's bringing with him his videographer, his wife, Jillian.

"I'm really looking forward to taking him to the Great Wall, I mean it's massive and it's incredible," Jill said.

"You can't jump it, I don't know why we're going there," Joe countered.

But everywhere Joe goes, his parachute dubbed Old Reliable goes with him- always prepared for the opportune leap.

"I could have my clothes not show up and my toothbrush not show up- and I'm a dentist- but my parachute's gotta show up."

Now, as Joe nears the end of his lists, starting a new life with his wife and daughter, his number is two. The number of reasons he has to land.

"A lot of people ask me, 'how do I allow him to do it?,'" Jill said. "My answer is that if I told him he couldn't do it any more, I don't think I would be the right match for him."

Together, the Webers are taking the risk for a reward much greater; and keeping in mind Joe's philoshophy: "You can't live your life being cautious, because then you're not living your life."

The jump takes place this weekend. Joe will be busy with press conferences and interviews on his trip. He says jumps like these help to spread the sport to other parts of the world.

Of course, in order to ensure everyone's safety, all B.A.S.E. jumpers invited have many years of experience.



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