So you’ve seen Point Break and you want to do the Ozaki 8 ordeals…
Bad news first: you’ll end up dead.
As Johnny Utah explains, an extreme sports athlete could train his entire life just to try (emphasis on try) one of the Ozaki 8 ordeals. He’s not lying – there are examples all around in the extreme sports community of extreme athletes doing this, from guys like big wave surfer Garret McNamara to skydiver Felix Baumgartner and BASE jumpers Graham Dickinson who specialize in one or maybe two of the skills needed to go the full distance.
Utah talks of a ‘poly extreme athlete’ early in the film. It sounds pretty, yes – but it’s darn near impossible. Think of Dean Potter, who was arguably the world’s greatest extreme athlete. He could climb, slack line, BASE jump and had some nifty wingsuit skills to go with it.
But you know how that ended. Hence the danger we’re talking about.
Training For The Ozaki 8
Theoretically, it would be possible to complete some of the Ozaki 8 ordeals as you saw in the film. Heck, you could leap off Angel Falls too if you really wanted (though I’m sure you can deduce that would be the end of you). To pull off the full 8 though you’d need to devote your life to training for the Ozaki 8. We’re talking time and money, injuries and ultimately your life.
Consider that one out of every 60 BASE jumps results in a death. Extrapolate a little and you see; if it can happen to Dean Potter, it can happen to you.
Are you prepared to die to even try one of the Ozaki 8 ordeals?
You’d need to be a poly extreme athlete to make this happen. You’d need to kayak, rock climb, surf, skydive and BASE jump your way through at least 25 years of training, and probably longer.
Two years ago, a Google executive named Alan Eustace set the record for highest skydive ever, at 136,000 feet, during which he reached speeds of 800 miles an hour.
He was 59 years old when he did it. That’s how long it took him to get good enough to try such a stunt – and that’s just one of the skills you’d need for the Ozaki 8 trials.
Mental and Spiritual Preparation
Ask yourself this: why are you motivated to learn more about The Ozaki 8? Yes, it’s bragging rights, and done right, the biggest adrenaline rush you can imagine, but there’s more to it than that.
As Bodhi explains, The Ozaki 8 is about giving back to Earth and its inhabitants. The Ozaki 8 is not about extreme sports. It’s about purity of body and soul, and such devotion that you’d give your life for the Earth if it were so required – and it definitely would.
Still reading? Then empty your thoughts and think about what that means. The Ozaki 8 means giving your life for the Earth. I don’t encourage you to do that, but here is how you could train your mind to walk in step with this planet:
Meditate – As I talked about in a previous post, I recommend you learn meditation as you train for the trials. This should help you tune out the outside chatter and self doubt that will creep up. And it helps you listen to the Universe as you continue your training.
Leave No Footprint – You’ll inevitably be in the wild as you do the Ozaki 8. Clean up after yourself. Don’t leave litter around when camping and put out your campfires. Leave no trace you were there.
Protect The Environment – The Ozaki eight is about giving more than you take. That means you need to step up and protect this planet. Start small – tear up your soft drink/beer can plastic rings so they don’t injure wildlife. Volunteer for a wildlife conservation program – or my favorite – fight to help sharks from the devastating effects of shark fin soup.
The Ozaki 8 Ordeals…
For the record, I do not encourage anyone to do, or train for, the Ozaki 8 ordeals because of the danger involved. I personally would not do them; this is a decision you need to make for yourself. I’m only writing about the Ozaki 8 as an observation of how they theoretically could be done by someone with decades (yes, decades) of training in each of the areas we’ve talked about.
You’d need to seek proper training and mentorship as well – especially when you’re starting out. If it can happen to Dean Potter, it can happen to you, so be wary, train hard and put it out there for the Cosmos to know about. If you still want to train for the Ozaki 8, then theoretically this is how it could be done, based on the ordeals from the film and examples from real extreme athletes who’ve mastered their fields.
Remember too that the Ozaki 8 ordeals should be done sequentially and in this order if you want to stay true to the spirit of Ono Ozaki.
Ordeal 1 – Emerging Force (Dangerous Rapids)
The Trial: This was one of only two ordeals not seen in the film. We’re told by Johnny Utah that Bodhi and his crew became the first to successfully navigate Inga Rapids on the River Congo, which are officially the largest and deadliest rapids on the planet . Most attempts end in death, making this a straightforward – albeit very dangerous – start to the Ozaki 8 ordeals.
Location: If you’re going by the movie, you’d want to do Emerging Force on the Inga Rapids in Congo (Africa). You could pretty much do this on any Class 4 rapids, however, many of which are in North America. Here’s a list of the 9 most dangerous whitewater rapids on Earth.
How to Prepare: Start with whitewater rafting training. Wilderness Tours offers a fun selection of rafting weekend retreats where you learn the art of navigating angry waters. Or just Google ‘Whitewater rafting’ to find an outfit close to your home. And check out Kayak Session to learn more about this highly enjoyable pastime.
Read This: Kayaking 101
Watch This: Tyler Bradt’s simply epic waterfall drop 10 storeys down Palouse Falls in Washington State, which gives you a rough idea how crazy you need to be to even dream of trying Emerging Force.
Ordeal 2 – Birth of Sky (Mountain BASE Jump)
The Trial: In Point Break, Bodhi and company BASE jump off Mt. Everest’s peak, though like Ordeal 1, we don’t see this on film. This has actually been done, however, by Russian BASE jumper Valery Rozov (I’ll link to the video). In Birth of Sky you’ll need to BASE jump from the highest point off one of the tallest mountains on Earth.
Location: Mt. Everest is the official version – and as you’ll see, it is possible – but you could probably do this on any of the planet’s tallest. I’d be looking for a mountain over 15,000 feet, including Kilimanjaro – also done by Valery Rozov, two years after Everest – at the notable age of 50.
How to Prepare: In a word, don’t. Roughly 1 in 60 BASE jumps results in death. Yet if we’re floating ‘what ifs’ out there, an extreme athlete would theoretically have to be an expert in BASE jumping and mountaineering to do Birth of Sky. That could mean a BASE jumping course at Perrine Bridge in Idaho. And they would need to learn mountaineering.
Watch This: Valery Rozov’s awesome 2013 BASE jump from Mt. Everest.
**UPDATE – Valery Rozov died while BASE Jumping in the Himalayas on November 11, 2017. Rest in Peace, Valery**
Ordeal 3 – Awakening Earth (Sky-to-Earth BASE Jump)
The Trial: If you made it through the first two ordeals, this might be the end of you. The Awakening Earth Ozaki 8 ordeal is a sky-to-earth BASE jump, done in the movie as a skydive from a transport plane over Mexico and into the Cave of Swallows – the world’s deepest natural cave shaft, in which the Empire State building could easily fit.
Location: I’m not aware of any other place you could do Awakening Earth. You’d need a very deep cave shaft with a wide opening and a local pilot you could persuade to help you do this. This pretty much limits you to the Cave of Swallows, which is in the San Luis Potosi region in Mexico.
How to Prepare: You’d need BASE jumping experience and many hours logged as a skydiver. Note that the Cave of Swallows is already a big BASE jumping location. Do your part to keep it pristine – clean up after yourself if you camp in the area and practice both safety and BASE jumping etiquette. And, of course, consider the very high chance you’d lose your life.
Watch This: Jeb Corliss’s legendary wingsuit pass through Tianmen cave in China, which is a relatively similar stunt to Awakening Earth – and who served as a special stunt advisor on the Point Break production team.
Ordeal 4 – Life of Water (Surf An 60+ Foot Wave)
The Ordeal: We can’t talk about The Ozaki 8 ordeals without surfing. In Point Break, Bodhi and Johnny Utah surf a massive 60 foot wave in a ‘rare weather phenomenon’ off the French Coast that happens once a decade – though ironically the waves get this big regularly just a few hours south, at Nazare in Portugal.
Location: You could theoretically do this in a few places. Nazare immediately comes to mind, but you could also do Mavericks, Teahupo’o Tahiti (where the first surf scene was actually filmed) and Waimea in Hawaii would work well. Bear in mind that big waves draw big crowds – usually with more senority in the local pecking order. Head to Surfline to find a good balance of dependable rides and more of a chill vibe. Practice good surfing etiquette too – no ‘snaking’ like Johnny Utah!
How to Prepare: Learn to surf, son. Take surfing lessons, if you live near the ocean. You could also take a ‘surfing vacation’ in South America or other epic places – search for ‘surfing’ at this link for a variety of fun surfing tours (you’ll get a discount).
Read This: Surfing 101
Watch This: Garrett McNamara’s believed record-breaking ride, in which he surfed a 100 footer at Nazare back in 2013.
Ordeal 5 – Life of Wind (Wingsuit Flight)
The Trial: Life of wind is a wingsuit ordeal. I blogged about this last year – the wingsuit flight in Point Break made history because it was the first time 5 proximity fliers navigated a very treacherous ravine in Switzerland. Any wingsuit flight is exceptionally dangerous, so there’s really no set criteria for this trial other than strapping on a wingsuit to give it a go, but you could try the same ravine if you really had a death wish.
Location: Norway, France and Switzerland are among some of the world’s best wingsuit destinations. Life of Wind in the movie was filmed in Walenstadt Switzerland, in a very narrow ravine called ‘The Crack’. Go to XtremeSpots.com to find more wingsuit spots across the globe.
How to Prepare: You’ll need a lot of experience as a skydiver and BASE jumper before even attempting a wingsuit flight.
Watch This: Graham Dickinson’s really fun (and highly skilled) wingsuit video in France last September, in which he narrowly averts death so many times you’ll lose count.
**UPDATE** Graham Dickinson died on January 25, 2017 while doing a wingsuit flight at Tianmen Mountain in China. Rest in Peace, Graham.
Ordeal 6 – Life of Ice (Snowboard an Unridden Line)
The Trial: The Life of Ice ordeal means you’ll need to snowboard an unridden trail. The line should be beautiful and one that looks unrideable. It’s not a run on your local ski hill – you’d likely need to go heli-skiing for this, and head to a spot few people have ridden.
Location: Look for heli-skiing destinations. The pilot would have to drop you off somewhere formidable, where few guys would even think of riding. Here’s a list of heli-skiing spots in North America. You could probably find similar places in the Andes, Europe, New Zealand and even parts of Asia.
How to Prepare: You’d need to be an expert snowboarder. Take snowboarding lessons, then work your way up to the more difficult runs at your local ski hill. The next stage would be heli-skiing.
Note that I do not recommend going out of bounds when skiing at a resort – this is a silly practice that puts a lot of people at risk.
Read This: Snowboarding 101
Watch This: An amazing snowboarding video shot early last year, in which four snowboarders are dropped from a helicopter in the Andes, briefly play the flute, and then shred it down an unridden line that truly qualifies for the Life of Ice.
Ordeal 7 – Master of Six Lives (Climb a Cliff Face With No Safety Gear)
The Trial: You’ve done very well if you’ve made it this far along the Ozaki 8 ordeals list. You’d be at the point here where you’ve ‘mastered six lives’ – hence the title of this ordeal – and would be ready to commit your life to the Earth. You’re climbing the walls of enlightenment as you scale a cliff face with no safety gear. Dumb? Yes – but a crucial step in your journey along the Ozaki 8.
Location: Johnny Utah considers several places where an extreme athlete could do Master of Six Lives, including Eiger, El Capitan in Yosemite and Mt. Asgard in Canada, before he accurately predicts Bodhi would do it at Angel Falls in Venezuela. I’m going to bow out here and NOT recommend you climb the tallest waterfall cliff on the planet, but in the movie, these locations were all discussed.
How to Prepare: This ain’t your local indoor climbing wall. Maybe four or five guys on the planet would consider this – and Dean Potter was one of them. You’d need decades of rock climbing experience, and the skills of completing the previous six trials of the Ozaki 8 ordeals to fall back on.
Read This: Rock Climbing 101
Watch This: Dean Potter performing an eerily similar stunt, in which he climbs the north face of The Eiger in Switzerland with, as you’d expect, no climbing gear, then jumps off. (And you thought Bodhi invented that!)
Ordeal 8 – Act of Ultimate Trust (Put Your Life in The Earth’s Hands)
The Trial: This is the Ultimate Test and pinnacle of The Ozaki 8 ordeals. You know how this went in the movie. Bodhi and Johnny Utah jumped off Angel Falls after they climbed the 3,000 foot cliff with no safety gear – and survived – when they landed in the raging river below.
Sorry, but in real life, that’s not going to happen.
I can’t tell you how to complete the Act of Ultimate Trust other than you’d know it if you’d come to this point. Chances are anyone doing the Ozaki 8 ordeals would be dead long before getting here. But in the one in a hundred million chance you made it, you’d have to speak with the Universe about this. Meditation – remember?
How to Prepare: You’re on your own with this one.
Watch This: Lasso Schaller’s world record cliff jump in Switzerland last year, at about 193.5 feet – the highest recorded cliff jump in history. That’s roughly 6% the height of Angel Falls.
By the way, if you want learn how to surf, check out these 3 awesome surf camps in Australia. It’s a shameless plug, I know, but if you’re moved by the Ozaki 8, maybe it’s time to get a little more serious about extreme sports, yes? Learning to surf is a great place to start.