The Flying Frenchies Surf and BASE Jump From a Zipline
Hello Anicet, can you tell us about The Flying Frenchies?
The Flying Frenchies are a group of buddies who like to do aerial activities. The core is composed of five to six people who do BASE-jumping, mountaineering, climbing, alpinism, speed riding – pretty much all the sports that include flying, climbing and the mountains. But we’re also artists, comedians, clowns, acrobats and musicians. It’s a big mix of it all.
Our wish is to turn the values of the profit-driven society upside down to replace them with the beauty of the non-useful, to give a sense to our lives, beyond what is expected. We want our lives to be a music that leads us through our hearts. We want to be open to the unknown and to the wish to discover the world, as much outside than inside of us. We are clowns, gentle fools and we throw ourselves in the empty spaces, surfing the air to provoke and to be seen, representing the atypical dreamers’ minority.
In the air, the wind is soft and the soul is free.
– Anicet Leone
Life is worth risking so that the message we transmit is intense, and so our existence is beautiful. Fear slowly becomes our friend: it’s not about eclipsing it but to understand what it has to say.
To an outsider, the notion of ‘playing’ seems to be what sets you aside from the others who do the same kind of sports to you. Does it come naturally?
I think it’s pretty natural in our group. We have this light-heartedness, this desire to enjoy everything when we have ideas, or think of funny things. It comes from a universe of cartoons and frenzies, really. You know, you talk about something and you’re kind of giggling about the idea, thinking it would be too funny if it could happen for real – so then we actually start thinking about how we can make it happen. Then we enter in the more serious part where we have to calculate things, do technical research, request authorisations. It takes a lot of work to be able to come up with something that’s funny, esthetical, and pleasant.
Is that how you came up with the idea of surfing a highline?
Yes. For me, it really was when I met Tancrède Melet [the French tightrope walker who died in January 2016 while preparing for a show]. When I met him, I was just starting to learn how to BASE-jump and he was doing a lot of highline and skydiving. He had more of a sport-oriented approach, but was multidisciplinary, a bit like me. So when I came in to his group, I brought the scenarios and characters layer. In this whole mix of sports, I added a cartoon-ish universe, creativity and a will to try to not only use sports that already exist, but to try to invent things to have fun with it. So an idea like this one and the catapult actually happened during frenzies, in the car and such.
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