Most people climb the Great Wall. Some run up it. A few strange souls ride their unicycles on it. And 1000 saxophonists are planning to gather on it to play their instruments in unison (if you’ve scheduled an outing to Badaling that day, we strongly suggest a stroll around the Summer Palace instead).
Then there’s Danny Way. He’s going to jump over the Great Wall on his skateboard. Tomorrow. 5pm.
Now, we at Shanghaiist have been known to pull off the occasional frontside ollie and crooked grind, but our childish footpath antics can’t compete with Way’s feat of daring. The 2004 Skater of the Year (Thrasher magazine) plans to drop from the top of a vertical MegaRamp twelve stories high and jump 20-30 metres across the Juyongguan Gate at a speed of up to 70 kilometres per hour, landing his plank of wood and its rubber wheels safely on the other side of the Wall. He hopes.
Shanghaiist will be there, but evidently the event is not open to the general public. Only media buses are headed out to the jump. The website dannydoeschina.com, however, will have a live video feed and Dragon TV is also covering the event live, along with international media such as CNN and ESPN (check your local listings).
For someone who is clearly a bit nutty (he once jumped out of a helicopter onto a skating ramp … one of the several crazy videos available on his site), Way speaks with surprising clarity:
Every jump presents a unique set of challenges and this jump is no exception, but I have made all the necessary mental and psychological preparations.
Presumably one element of Way’s psychological preparation was to block his ears any time somebody mentioned Wang Jiaxiong, who was fatally injured in 2002 while attempting a Great Wall leap on his bicycle. (A rather unsettling image of that unsuccessful attempt can be found here.)
Word has it that the intrepid skater is planning an assault on Shanghai’s Suzhou Creek later in the year. A less substantiated rumour suggests that he plans to use the roof of the Shanghai Grand Theatre as a half-pipe and leap from there into the Shanghai Museum, landing safely on a specially prepared pile of Tang Dynasty silks.
For further details of the Quiksilver Great Wall Jump, see dannydoeschina.com, quiksilver.cn and dannyway.com.
UPDATE: Danny did it!
Images taken from dannydoeschina.com.