Brad O’Neal‘s sports action career is impressive. Thirsty for adventure, he has jumped off of cliffs and moving airplanes for the thrill of the experience. Some people call him crazy. Some say he has a premature a death wish. But through it all, Brad just wants to collect quality life experiences and share incredible memories with the people he loves. After all, life is short – at least Brad is making the most out of his.
- Can you tell me a little bit about your background in motocross?I have rode dirt bikes since I was 5 yrs old. My dad was a professional motocross rider in the 70’s and he got me started pretty young. I started racing at 7 and turned pro around 16 yrs old. I raced all of the major amateur national motocross races and did well at a few of them. Then I raced supercross and arenacross for a couple yrs but never did anything special. I got into skydiving about 5 yrs ago and have been chasing random fantasies ever since.
- In your “Follow Your Dreams” documentary, you mentioned that at the age of 12 you’ve wanted to ride your dirt bike high enough to base jump from. How did you get the idea to accomplish such a stunt?When I was growing up we lived way up in the mountains of Colorado and I didn’t have much to do but ride my dirt bike and let my imagination run wild. I remember first imagining it while driving down to town with my mom. There was a massive rock formation on the side of the road that looked like a huge dirt bike jump and I thought it would be awesome to be able to jump that thing. We drove past that thing once a week going to town and the idea just never went away lol.
- Can you describe the technical preparations you had to go through in order to prepare for the first motobase jump off of flat ground?It was a really long drawn out process full of set backs, injuries and financial issues. I actively started trying to make the dream a reality back in 2010, which is when I had been skydiving for a bit but just really starting to get into the BASE jumping ideas and working on making the motobase a reality. After learning how to BASE jump the only thing left to do was get proficient at it and then figure out how to make the jump happen. Finding a location and people to work with who weren’t completely terrified of the idea was the biggest struggle. Money was the second biggest obstacle. So I hit the road traveling working as a Tandem skydiving instructor traveling to drop zones that needed help to raise the money for the jump (ramp, dirt work, bikes, rigs). It took me about a year and a half to make the money and buy all the gear I needed to make it happen. I did it all without any outside sponsorship money. I had a few people help with the mathematics for the jump because that is not my specialty at all lol.. After all of that there was nothing left to do but just do the jump…
- How did you feel before you attempted the stunt and how did you feel afterwards?Honestly, it was a really hard time in my life. My Dad and my Girlfriend were really supportive mentally and physically. I was having night terrors about the thing for months before hand, waking up sweating and just feeling terrified. I don’t know how to describe it but I just knew that I had to do it. When I felt like I didn’t want to do it anymore or had a bad feeling, I just reminded myself that if I lived to be an old man and didn’t at least try it I would always regret it. Kind of just had to do it, it’s hard to explain…..
- What did you think about the exact moment you were suspended in the air?I wasn’t thinking about much really, I knew what I had to do and by the time I was at the apex of the jump I was simply waiting to feel the canopy get to line stretch and become steerable. Once that happened I knew I was good and that I would at least live through it haha.
- What was your scariest memory as a professional stuntman and daredevil?Honestly, climbing up to BASE jump is the scariest part of anything I do. I am absolutely terrified of rock climbing, I hate it. its not fun and it’s super scary. The only reason I try is so I can jump off of whatever I’m climbing…
- You’ve talked about your grandfather in the same documentary. Can you tell me a little bit more about how he has impacted your life?My Grandfather lived with us for a long time when I was growing up so I was super close to him when I was younger. He was always in a good mood and just looking for a good time. But the biggest lessons I learned from him were close to the end of his time. He passed away from leukemia and he saw it coming for a while so it was a blessing for me to be around during those times to see what really matters in life. It’s not how much money you made, or how cool of a vehicle you got. It’s about quality life experiences and creating memories with the people you love…simple as that.
- When you’re not riding motorcycles or jumping off of ramps, what do you like to do in your free time?
I love wingsuit flying, listening to my girl play her guitar and getting tattoos.
- If you had to relive one moment in your life, what would it be?
I have had so many amazing experiences in my life its hard to just pick one. But if I had to choose one I’d say completing the motoBASE was the best moment in my action sports career.
Some people can sit idly, watching their lives pass right before their eyes. Brad O’Neal isn’t one of those people. He is a professional dream chaser, seeking one adventure after the next to add to his collection.