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Introducing the Specialist Series: Matthias Giraud – B.A.S.E. jumper and professional skier

Sophia Groves

In 2012, Matthias Giraud a.k.a Super Frenchie was killing it in the world of B.A.S.E. jumping. He had become a viral video sensation, and was set to jump from Mont Blanc, but a near-fatal accident almost cost him his life and his career. After the accident, Matthias had to reconstruct his life and career. Having to learn how to walk again, every step would now need to have purpose, passion, and precision.

Specialist Series - Matthias Giraud

I‘ve been called an adrenaline junkie or daredevil many times over the years and I absolutely despise that definition, because it shows a complete lack of knowledge. These are people that have more or less never taken a risk in their lives. – MATTHIAS GIRAUD

Matthias has since gone on to break world records and advocates for the importance of being a specialist in his line of work. Many people call him a daredevil, an adrenaline junkie or even reckless, but Matthias begs to differ. For him, B.A.S.E. jumping and big mountain skiing is a vocation and a skill that has been honed over years.  Respecting both the elements and people he works with dearly, he knows that his life is in the hands of his team and the equipment he uses.

Specialist Series - Matthias Giraud For the past 5 years, Matthias has been working with parachute makers Squirrel to create his jumping gear. The relationship between a B.A.S.E. jumper and his parachute is literally life or death, so it’s of paramount importance that Matthias works with people who understand what he needs. Every jump is unique, - it‘s height, approach and landing trajectory, along with a myriad of other variables. It is absolutely key that the Squirrel team knows exactly how each of these factors effect their parachutes and the challenge ahead.

We talk about where it‘s going to happen, [and] the approach that might be needed, which [then] determines how light the gear really needs to be. The density and altitude that he will be deploying at, determines the [parachute] size in a lot of cases. The speeds he‘ll be going at after deployment, determines the configuration and the type of pilot chute he‘s going to use etc. – MATT GERDES – SQUIRREL

What makes Matt and his colleagues from Squirrel unique, is that they are all climbers, paragliders and B.A.S.E. jumpers themselves, so their knowledge in the field is both personal and invaluable. "We use everything that we make. All the owners in the company, all the full-time employees, use the equipment." Behind Matthias‘ remarkable jumps are years of careful, educated planning, a team of specialists, and gear and tools that make it all possible. What may seem like a careless act of adrenaline chasing to some people, is a meticulosly calculated accomplishment of data analysis by an experienced athlete and a team of highly-skilled equipment manufacturers.

Specialist Series We use everything that we make. All the owners in the company, all the full-time employees, use the equipment. – MATT GERDES – SQUIRREL

It is specialists like Matt at Squirrel who help Matthias to achieve such great feats and inspire us at NetApp to pursue our own specialisms. It‘s time to stop being a generalist and embrace the specialist. For Matthias, it has enabled him to build a career around his passion and inspire people to conquer their fears and overcome the challenges they may face. We may not be able to break world records like Matthias and his team, but we know a specialist when we see one.

Sophia Groves

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