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Catching up with Douggs

by Douggs
by Douggs

Chris ‘Douggs’ McDougall

Age

38

Occupation

Professional Base jumper, Wingsuit Pilot, Multi sport adventurer and Public speaker

Time in sport

18 years skydiving, 17 years BASE jumping

Skydiving achievements

7,000+ jumps
Instructor, tandem master, videographer, dropzone safety officer
1998-2003, 6 time National Skydiving Champion in 4 way & 8 way RW
2001 – 2003 Australian team member for World Championships placing
4th & 6th in the world.
2002 World Record 300 way skydive Guinness Book of World Records

by <a href='https://skydivemag.smallteaser.com/user/chrisdittmerphoto' class='captionLink'>Christoph Dittmer</a>
by Christoph Dittmer

 BASE achievements

3,000+ base jumps in 41 countries
1st tandem Base in Australia
Instructor, tandem master, videographer, photographer
• 2013 World Record for most base jumpers jumping indoors
• 2013 1st place in World Extreme Base Championships, Spain
• 2013 1st place in Accuracy Competitions in both Turkey & China
• 2013 First ever Base jumps in Kuwait from Al Hamra Tower
• 2012 World first Night Human Slingshot, Dubai
• 2012 World Wingsuit League winner
• 2011 World BASE Championships, 2nd place
• 2008 UK ProBase 'Who's The Daddy': Overall Champion
• 2003/04 BASE jumping World Champion: 1st place Aerobatics, 1st place
Team, 1st place overall

 Media

Star of 8 part web series “Planet Douggs”
Star of 11 part web series “Base Dreams”
Commercials/adverts: Citizen, Nextel, Berghaus, Singapore Telecom
Music videos: Ewian music video, Blue Juice,
Documentaries: Heaven’s Gate, Heli Base, Pro Base World Cup, Journey to the Center
Author of 6 books including Confessions of an Idiot
Winner, best Extreme Sports Blog, 2011
Winner, Cold Steel award (Sweden), 2010
… and much more, too lengthy for here, see Base Dreams

Marital status

Very happily married for 2 years now

Equipment jumped (skydive)

Old javelin from 2000 and a Safire 120, can’t remember the reserve. Would love a new container one day

Douggs&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;by <a href='https://skydivemag.smallteaser.com/user/chrisdittmerphoto' class='captionLink'>Christoph Dittmer</a>
Douggs — by Christoph Dittmer

Equipment jumped (base)

I have jumped almost everything out there but as of right now I have a LD 2 & a Zak container from Adrenaline; a Razor & an old WSX from Morpheus. The canopies in them are a Trango 3 225, OSP 245, OSP lite 225 & a Troll DW 245 from Atair canopies.

Current wingsuits are a Havok, Venom Power, Vampire Race all from Phoenix Fly

Helmets: Rok, Fuel & G3 from Cookie Composites

You can't stop talking about Safeish, Atair and Phoenix Fly but you're not the kind of guy to sell your soul to a sponsor – what's the big deal?

I am very loyal to the people that looked after me from a long time ago so I have stayed with all my sponsors for well over 10 years. They include Cookie Composites, Ugly Fish Eyewear, Atair & Phoenix Fly. They have been great to me and I totally love their gear. It is one of the main reasons I still haven’t broken a bone in Base jumping. Up until very recently I had also been with Morpheus Technologies for my containers but I made a very tough decision to leave them and join Adrenalin Base. This was very hard for me to do but it is purely a business decision now that I am based in Europe. There were many things discussed about the change and one of them was becoming a member of the team Need 4 Speed as well as my new base jumping school. I still love the Morpheus gear and there is nothing personal or bad blood in my leaving them. I wish them all the best.

Nothing in this world is completely safe but most things are ‘safeish’

As for Safeish clothing…I have quite a few people offering me t shirts and stuff with different sayings but it was my friend Tom Grayson, founder of the brand ‘Safeish’ that struck my eye. I just really liked the word and they way he went about spreading it. Nothing in this world is completely safe but most things are ‘safeish’. I really liked it and I have been helping him out ever since. If he makes it big one day then he owes me some beers

You used to be an unapologetic risk taker sporting a mohawk or crazy dreads, now you're seen wearing a suit and talking about safety, what's going on?!

Don’t fear people, I am still a total punk and wear my Mohawk on the inside and I always will be like that!! I used to only wear a suit to court or funerals but now sometimes with meetings of building owners for displays etc you get taken more seriously if you dress seriously. I think it sucks but it is the way it is. My hero, Roland ‘Slim’ Simpson showed me that a long time ago but it took a while to sink in. My wife likes me to dress up as well so I cave in on that front sometimes; happy wifey, happy lifey!

I think for the most part I have always preached safety to a certain extent but it stands out more so now that I am a veteran base jumper as such rather than just another young punk base jumper. I have always given advice as well but I think people listen more now as I am living proof you can jump safeishly. I can still be very unapologetic though if someone with authority pisses me off. Middle finger raised!

by <a href='https://skydivemag.smallteaser.com/user/chrisdittmerphoto' class='captionLink'>Christoph Dittmer</a>
by Christoph Dittmer

Tell me about your approach to life and your thoughts on death

Life is finite and I have been lucky enough to understand that early. Unfortunately it has been through the loss of many friends and my mum and girlfriend back over 10 years ago. We are all going to die and none of us know when, how and where. But most people live their lives with blinkers on and don’t realize it until its too late.

I am just trying to have as many fun adventures and life experiences as I can before my time is up one day. I love to travel, I love getting up to mischief with my friends and I love to party although I have been sober for the last 6 weeks for a change!

As far as death though, I am totally scared of dying but not of death itself. The reason I am scared of dying is because I just don’t want this ride to end, it is too amazing and I am not going to get enough done in time. But as far as death goes, it is a part of life and the universe. It is what it is; so my goal is to make the most of life while I can because no matter what myself or other people believe, we don’t know what is on the other side of death so all I am worried about is living in this moment, not preparing for something we don’t even know exists afterwards!

Your mission is to have the most fun in life yet in your book, Confessions of an Idiot, you outline some pretty dark days.. any comments?

My mission is still the same. I am definitely having more fun now than ever before. It was tough there for a while personally with some depression issues (probably from too many drugs) and also from all my friends dying. But these days its all good. I know who I am now and I am comfortable with who I am. That’s a big one! Being able to look yourself in the mirror, really look and be happy with yourself. Unfortunately pretty much all my jumping friends are dead and that really sux but at the same time we all make a choice to do a sport with severe consequence if mistakes are made, so it is what it is. But I cherish the fact that I got to know all these people through base jumping. The sport has taken a lot from me but it has given me everything I am today. I am very grateful for that.

 How do you cope with losing so many friends?

It sucks big time but life is about choices. We can stay in a padded room and die of boredom or we can get out there and live and maybe die before we are old. But at least it is our choice. My friends weren’t murdered, gunned down in war or anything bad like that, they made a choice and right up until shit goes bad it is the best choice/ way of life in the world, so you have to keep looking at it in a positive way or it will just bring you down. Just remember the good times you had and there has always been many & remember that it was through base jumping that you got to meet these incredible people that had an insatiable taste for life. In saying that I miss my friends every single day and I wish they were all still here with me having fun as life is getting better and better each day. I lost my last real jumping buddy earlier this year and that was really hard. I don’t really have anyone I can just call up and go for a base jump now which felt a bit weird for a while but I always try to have the upwards and onwards approach with the bad stuff in life and hold the happy memories in my heart and mind.

What's still left on your bucket list?

Bucket list wise, things are endless really and it all depends on money which I never seem to have any of. There are still lots of countries I want to travel to, objects I want to jump from and sports I want to get better at. I would love to get good at tunnel flying but there is just no way to afford that stuff unless dad surprises me with a trust fund all of a sudden which is doubtful.

You've been doing quite a lot of public speaking, what's the key message that you share with your audience?

My message really is one of being the best you can be, not just the best.
If the times get rough, don’t give up and keep striving for personal greatness. A big smile and a collection of memories is all you need. Through my own experiences I share my view on being humble which will get you further in life on a deeper level. To always challenge yourself and step out of your comfort zone. Not necessarily in a dangerous or extreme way but just in a personal way. Achieve all your goals no matter how small or large they might be, and just to be happy!!

Douggs makes a (safe-ish) wingsuit base jump&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;by <a href='https://skydivemag.smallteaser.com/user/chrisdittmerphoto' class='captionLink'>Christoph Dittmer</a>
Douggs makes a (safe-ish) wingsuit base jump — by Christoph Dittmer

How are you still alive after 3,000 jumps? What’s your secret?

Fucked if I know, ha ha ha!! Not sure if there is a secret to it though, there has for sure been a small element of luck but mostly it has been from making smart decisions, knowing your limitations and analyzing the things that do go wrong, whether it be mistakes by you or other people and learning from them. Definitely building up the skill level whist keeping the lid on the jar of luck and trusting your gut instinct.

I am very happy I started when I did as the only progression in base back then was going from hand held to stowed. Now the progression of jumpers is crazy. There would be a good chance I would be a statistic if I came into jumping at the age of 20 in this time. Everything is too easy for new jumpers now that’s for sure; people have stopped thinking for themselves really as everything is at their fingertips. It’s the same in all society now though not just jumping.

Have you seen a change in the people who Base jump in the last decade?

Yes and no. there are definitely the legal eagles that jump now, people that would never have been hard core enough to be doing all the illegal jumps and stuff and making stuff up on their own. They are the type of jumpers with cash and carriers etc but that’s cool, whatever you are happy with.

There are still a lot of scumbag base jumpers out there though and that’s great to see. The only downside is that everyone is in a rush now and they expect things rather than going out there and earning it but that’s life in general now.

What’s the biggest thing we could do to improve BASE safety?

All we can do now is provide knowledge, the only problem in the sport these days is the human factor and the only way I think we can improve the human factor is with knowledge, or a shot gun… a shot gun would work too.

 How has marriage changed you, if at all?

It has changed me but only for the better. I feel it has completed me as a person a lot more. Stopped a lot of the searching and made me see things clearer. I am very lucky to have met my perfect match! I definitely never thought I would ever be married but here I am, 2 years on and have never been happier!

I’ve heard you either have a penis smaller than a mouse or as big as a donkey. Which one, and does it really have 4 piercings and 3 tattoos?

Ha ha ha, fucking classic!! When I was younger I was known for running around drunk and nude at the DZ so stories get around! I have done a lot of bad things to my cock and balls but I don’t have any piercings or tattoos on it. My cock is not tiny but not as big as a donkey although I tried to fuck one once at a world meet in France 2003. That was messy! Let’s just say that I was blessed a pretty lucky guy.

 You've got over 9 million views on YouTube. 9 MILLION. That's incredible. How does that make you feel?

It doesn’t make me feel anything really, ever since I started jumping I have been interested in filming and photographing of all our adventures purely for myself and my mates along the way. I was doing it all way before Go Pros and Youtube. Now that I am partnered up with a Youtube channel I am lucky enough to make a couple of bucks from my more recent videos so the views count towards that which helps fund my next adventure. But really they are all just a collection of memories that I would otherwise mostly forget. It’s like a video diary for me now. Each scene can trigger heaps of memories. That why I still log as well. It purely to keep track of all the memories.

You’ve had some great web series, Planet Douggs and Base Dreams. Will there be more and what's next?

No sure. I got fucked over by Epic TV so the last 5 episodes of Planet Douggs series won’t be finished… I am guessing which sux but the same footage is hopefully going to come out through my You tube channel (xtreme video) later in the year if they ever finish editing it.

I was working on another web series called 'Lame Lines' which is a pisstake of all the proximity flying but I just don’t have the time to edit it… so some friends of mine are helping me with it and we are turning it into a 3-part documentary hopefully, its going to be pretty boring I hope as it will be showing me going back to my roots of jumping and enjoying the basics of it all. We will see.

Not sure what else is on the cards though, I still have no paying sponsor or camera crew or anything that can help make me get a professional product so I will just keep doing what I am doing best and that is having fun!

by <a href='https://skydivemag.smallteaser.com/user/chrisdittmerphoto' class='captionLink'>Christoph Dittmer</a>
by Christoph Dittmer

How awesome are the Jump4Heroes guys?

Wankers, cough cough, ha ha ha! Nah, they are great, I have known Alastair especially for a very long time and we get along great, lots of banter with all the guys, the Brits and the Aussies laugh well together. I think what they are doing is great and I admire them for that!

 Do you still skydive and if so, what do you like doing?

I still love skydiving and if I had the money I would do it all the time but I spent everything I had and then some getting to the top and had nothing left to give. It became a choice for me, either give all the money to a greedy DZ owner and land in baron paddocks with constant aircraft noise or travel the planet going to some of the most beautiful places on earth and flying from them. I wish I could do both but I had to choose one and after the first time I chose this, the choices just got easier and easier.

I still do a little skydiving now but mostly wingsuit but if I had the coin I would definitely go freeflying and tracing as I just love it and the freedom of that style of flying is endless!

the beautiful silence of the now, it is a hard one to describe but it is so pure and beautiful, if you could bottle that feeling you would be a billionaire.

Why do you enjoy BASE jumping more?

I like the fact that I get to make the choice, no government, no coppers, no association, just me, my rules, my way, my choice! I love that. Its one of the few joys left in life!!

I also love being in the mountains hiking so getting to fly from them is a bonus! I also love the feeling of the point of commitment, the beautiful silence of the now, it is a hard one to describe but it is so pure and beautiful, if you could bottle that feeling you would be a billionaire.

Chris 'Douggs' McDougall, base jumper and free spirit&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;by <a href='https://skydivemag.smallteaser.com/user/chrisdittmerphoto' class='captionLink'>Christoph Dittmer</a>
Chris 'Douggs' McDougall, base jumper and free spirit — by Christoph Dittmer

Should all skydivers make a BASE jump?

No I don’t think so, base jumping is not for everyone that’s for sure. If you’re looking for something you may find it in base jumping or you may not, I was lucky enough that I did but it is purely a personal thing. If you have a big smile when you’re skydiving and you don’t feel that you need more then you have reached the top of your mountain!

You’ve just opened a school in Europe for people to learn Base, why now, and why not previously?

Yeah, I have taught all around the world and most recently in the USA but it is a big mission for me to go over there. It was either get a real job or keep doing what I love but I have to make a few bucks this time as we are renovating a house so I decided to give the base school a try in Europe.

The Prienne Bridge in Idaho is really the best place ever to teach someone slider down jumping but there is no big walls there so that is limiting. Also having a new taxi service in Mt Brento, Italy was a major factor as well so as to get maximum jumps in the short time that we would be there. I don’t like base jumping courses as you simply cant teach everything in 10 days let alone 2-4 days like a lot of courses so that why I was a little hesitant but I think I have the right locations, the right experience and am now based in the right place to be able to run comprehensive, and safe courses.

Whereabouts will your students make a base jump and how did you choose the locations?

Everything is on the website but basically there is a 3 stage course if you do the whole thing which I recommend. I also made the prices for part 2-3 cheap as so to encourage people to do all 3 stages.

Stage 1 is a beginner entry slider-down course to get the basics on how to base jump safely. This is off a small bridge in Croatia.

Stage 2 is from Mt Brento in Italy where you will learn big wall base jumping with hardly any walking due to the taxi service that is there now.

Stage 3 is based in the Lauterbrunnen area in Switzerland where you will be taught more advanced slider up jumping, tracking & sit evaluation. For the full course it will be 10 days and 40 jumps if you do everything well. I feel this will give the student a good entry into base jumping and I will do pretty much all of the jumps with them.

Save something for tomorrow when you start base jumping, don’t do everything in your first year, you will either get bored or killed and neither of those things are positive!

Any advice for the wannabe BASE jumper?

Take your time, there is no rush. You’re a long time dead and that not the reason you get into this sport for. It’s about living! So go live and be smart about living. These days your best tool is knowledge so go and arm yourself heavily with it.

Definitely read the Great Book of Base, it’s great. Keep skydiving, it is heaps of fun and you will build up your skills without even noticing.

Save something for tomorrow when you start base jumping, don’t do everything in your first year, you will either get bored or killed and neither of those things are positive!

Always have fun, fuck the performance bullshit. Jump safely but never forget to have fun, that the reason for it all in my opinion!

We need more Douggs! Where can we find you?

Websites: Base Dreams
Learn to base jump

Instagram: douggsbase
Facebook: Chris D McDougall
Douggs Loose Dude on YouTube
Twitter: Douggs_Basejump

Photos by Chris Dittmer Photography

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