Clair Marie sounds off on bold living and new possibilities
By Michele Lamelin
Clair Marie grew up rock climbing, skiing and snowboarding in her hometown of South Lake Tahoe. Athletic and daring, Clair made her first BASE jump at the age of 16, making her one of the youngest BASE jumpers on record. She discovered a passion for skydiving and at 19 became a certified AFF instructor. Clair recently turned her attention back to rocky terrain, putting fat tires to dirt as a mountain bike racer. She also boasts a successful career as a model and stunt woman and recently founded a clothing company.
We caught up with this lovely dynamo as she tours the west with her boyfriend, Alex. P.S. Be sure to check out Clair’s mobile digs here.
ASJ As of today, how many total BASE jumps have you made? How many skydives? Is there a goal number you are shooting for in your lifetime?
CM Over the past 11 years I have made somewhere around 750 BASE jumps. I stopped counting my skydives about five years ago after I completed my 5,500th jump. I don’t really have a number in mind as a goal. When I was younger BASE jumping was all about the numbers. Jumping at every opportunity I had and trying to log as many jumps as I could before a trip was over. I have really shifted gears over the past several years and now for me it is about the quality of the jump. The jump location, the adventure of getting to the jump and the people I jump with rather than logging a ton of jumps.
ASJ What’s the most exciting jump you’ve done? Does it ever feel “routine” doing the same jump or is there a new level of excitement each time?
CM Two of the most unique jumps I have done that were super fun and exciting were in Malaysia off the KL tower. On my birthday there, Alex and another friend grabbed me by my arms and legs and threw me off the building. During the same trip, I did a rope swing BASE jump off the building and that one was pretty nerve wracking. If I let go too early I would have smashed into the balcony below. The beauty of BASE jumping is that each jump is so different. It never feels routine.
ASJ Does it bother you to be considered an accomplished female athlete rather than simply an accomplished athlete without reference to your gender?
CM Being female is not a disadvantage in my sport, nor is it an advantage either. It is just a fact, so I don’t dwell on that aspect of myself or my ability. I think that is the key – don’t think of yourself as different or less able. Instead do your best all the time and you will get the recognition you deserve. I think that women and men alike should be more focused on performance than gender.
ASJ You’ve had a passion for jumping from a very young age, but mountain bike racing is a relatively new sport for you. Tell us how and when this became a part of your life?
CM I was never a big bike rider when I was a kid. I owe my introduction to and progression in mountain biking to Alex. He started riding after we had been dating for about a year and really wanted me to try it. I fell in love with the sport pretty quickly and after riding for only three months I entered my first race. I was so nervous and crashed about five times. Needless to say I didn’t podium in that race but in my second race I ended up scoring third place in my categor and I was hooked on racing.
ASJ You have an unstoppable passion for exploring anything that excites and interests you. What keeps driving you forward?
CM There is so much that we as humans are capable of and most people don’t recognize that in themselves. I just have this burning desire to explore what I am capable of and accomplish as much as I can. Because exploration and adventure have impacted my life on such a deep level I have become really passionate about motivating and inspiring other people to push themselves as well. I want people to see what is possible and have that same desire to figure out what they are capable of and charge forward towards their dreams as well.
ASJ What would you like to share about your veganism and how it has impacted your health and lifestyle?
CM Travel instigated me to switch to a vegan lifestyle – seeing the crazy impact our choices have not just on us but on the world. The impact that animal farming has on our environment is astonishing and is the leading cause of green house gasses. I don’t condone animal cruelty in any form.
I now know that leading a healthy, happy life doesn’t depend on the suffering and mistreatment of animals or the destruction and poisoning of our planet. My fitness has only benefited from the shift. I think clearer, I perform better and I recover faster. What athlete doesn’t want that!
ASJ You created a clothing company – Reverence Design – whose objective is to conduct business in an environmentally and ethically responsible way. Tell us more about this endeavor and how it fits into your overall way of life.
CM Travel also instigated me to create Reverence Design. There are so many things we do as a society that are destroying our planet and it is so sad to see. The fashion industry is a huge culprit and it doesn’t have to be that way. Reverence is defined as having a deep respect or appreciation for something and that is how we think we should all feel about our environment and humanity. We do not own this planet, we are a part of it, so we should do our best to preserve it. At Reverence Design we provide ethical, sustainable and extremely comfortable clothing that is both unique and affordable.
ASJ Give us a glimpse into Clair’s mind while adventuring.
CM My mind is all over the place when I adventure: the jump I’m about to do or the race that I’m about to start and then the next second a blog post I want to write, a new clothing item I want to design with Alex, a new video concept.
And sometimes I just sit there and appreciate everything that surrounds me, going back to my belief that nothing is permanent. The only permanence in life is impermanence and the only sure thing is that we will all die. Knowing this gives me the amazing opportunity to build my life the way that I want it and not get hung up on the details.
Learn more about Clair on her website at basegirl.com, and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.