Nick Jacobsen's Crane Jump 2.0
Words by Nick Jacobsen
The 1.0 Crane Jump
Let's rewind to the year 2011 - the year that put my name on the international kiteboarding scene. I was a 23 year old kid with big ambitions, endless curiosity and an underlying strive of something bigger and greater. I was channeling all my energy on the only thing that mattered; turning off my brain and just play with my kite. I was rapidly upping my skill set and pushing myself, but climbing up an old stranded vessel in Cape Town to launch myself off of was not an intentional career move at all. Back then, my risk assessment did not play a significant role, nor did the process of planning the production around it - I was a kid in a candy shop with a kite and a board.
Being me, with my own angle on the sport, drawn to some of the more risky sides, I have in recent years been faced with people questioning the evidently obvious; “you can’t do this forever - When are you getting too old for all of this? I must admit, age has never been a focus point or a scare for me, but I can’t just leave people hanging without an answer, so for several years I have been using the same, almost automatic reply: “I will carry on doing what I'm doing, as long as I feel like doing it”. I'm a firm believer of doing what you decide you can handle, and execute within your comfort zone and trust. Never let other people assess what’s right for you or what lies within your limits. That includes age.
The 2.0 Crane Jump
So let me fast forward almost a decade to the year 2020, with me sitting on top of a 60m high crane on a massive cargo vessel. Again.
This time, the stunt had had a different birth: I was more technically prepared, I had automatically put my risk assessment analysis into play and had five times as many cameras on the ship, positioned in angles I from experience know will work to get the best shots.
A shoot like this takes time, and I had a good while sitting on that crane, getting ready to jump, when it dawned on me: I have done this before, only this time the crane is much higher, my experience considerably greater and I was more familiar with my skill set and limits. The one thing that had remained the same was my passion going into the stunt. Suddenly I recognized the goosebumps that I know so well, and the crave for the quest. I had the exact same overshadowing thought as I had in 2011: this is the stuff I live for!
So, for those still questioning: Age is not an issue. Lack of passion and thriving is, and when you lose that, it’s over. Until then, you just get better.
The vessel travelling through Copenhagen was at dock for 1 week offloading cargo. I made sure to get in contact with the shipping company and the captain as early as I could, in order to make sure I had the best possible chance of making it all happen while the ship was adjacent.
"It was a pretty strict agenda we had that day"
A lot of different factors had to align for this jump to happen.
The shipping company gave us a window of approximately 5 hours for the whole thing to go down. This is part of the team going through the final details before setting sail towards the cargo ship.
"This image talks for itself. When doing something that requires my full focus, I always pick the perfect team to collaborate with. We are all aligned on what’s about to go down and attentive to each of our specific roles. This definitely contributes to the gratification you see in our faces on our way to the ship."
When arriving at Leap Heart (5 miles off the coast of Copenhagen) a ladder was thrown over the railing. I didn't think much of it at the beginning, but I quickly realised how sketchy boarding the vessel would be...
"Climbing up the ladder was definitely one of the scariest things in this jump."
After Titanic'ing for a few minutes, it was game time.