THE APEX BASE FAMILY

Meet the people who make up Apex BASE!

From our athletes to our employees, we’re all a family and we appreciate the trust you place in us!

ATHLETES:

Dave Barlia

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Dave Barlia began BASE jumping in California in 1991. He spent most of the early 90’s jumping objects of all types, but his passion has always been slider-up cliff jumps. Dave made his first wingsuit BASE jumps in Lauterbrunnen in 1999 and was the first person to jump a wingsuit off the Eiger. He was also one of the first to discover the big walls of the Sam Ford Fjord on Baffin Island. A true BASE legend through and through, Dave currently lives in Mürren, Switzerland with his wife Karleen and son Bodie.

Elliot Barstow

Elliot Barstow Apex BASE

Elliot has a love for anything that flies. Starting off younger than most Elliot was flying ultralight airplanes at the age of 12, skydiving since 1999 and BASE jumping since 2004. These days he continues to fly commercially and helps to operate multiple skydiving operations around the US. When not playing, he’s fighting for freedom as an Air Force JTAC after over 23 years of combined military service. He will always advise to live a little and laugh a lot.

Justin Beitler

Justin Beitler BASE

Justin learned to BASE jump in 2013 while attending Apex’s First Jump Course. Since then he’s logged over 900 BASE jumps in 8 countries and claimed the overall win at the 2019 Extreme World Championship BASE series in Europe. He also may, or may not (Who’s to say, really?) have the unofficial title of most jumps at the Sibu International BASE event with 90 jumps in four days. When he’s not under his BASE canopy you can find him flying wingsuits, airplanes, seaplanes, helicopters, gyroplanes, and just about anything else that flies.

When he’s not flying Justin is typically busy rock climbing, running his company (Aerocor), or watching YouTube videos about space.

Chris Carnahan

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Chris Carnahan is a Southern California jumper who started BASE Jumping in 2006 and skydiving in 2000. He spends his time traveling the world to take part in both international and local events making amazing friendships along the way. When not in the air, he can be found patrolling the streets of Los Angeles as a Police Officer in South Central, cage diving with Great Whites, or just enjoying motorcycle rides along the coast. He is always seeking new adventures with friends and will continue to take risks and enjoy life.

Arlette Donzey

Apex BASE Arlette Donzey

Arlette started skydiving in 2008 and BASE jumping not long after in 2009. Even though she’s a well-rounded jumper, Earth has earned a special place in her heart. Arlette grew up in Europe and has found new incentives to travel back home…along with her wingsuit. Since 2003 Arlette has been a commercial pilot in the United States. See what Arlette is up to on IG!

Matt Moore

Matt Moore Apex BASE

Matt started skydiving at Cross Keys, New Jersey at 18 years old. During that season he picked up the proud nickname, “Tinkles” (don’t ask). After moving to Colorado Matt learned to wingsuit, BASE jump, and generally became obsessed with all things related to flying and landing a parachute. His obsession combined with the easy access to Colorado mountains and Moab cliffs generated a strong desire fly his wingsuit in the mountains. After several years pursuing WS BASE obsessively Matt claims to have relaxed a little, and is shifting his focus toward bigger project jumps set in the most beautiful locations he can find. When he’s not BASE jumping, you can find Matt skydiving and working as a Tandem Instructor in Colorado or Southern California.

Brad "Patto" Patfield

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Brad “Patto” Patfield has been BASE jumping close to 10 years with a few of those years as the Lead Instructor in Norway at the Stavanger BASE Klubb (SBK) in the beautiful Fjords of Kjerag. The ever-humble Patto is one of the world’s premier two piece tracking masters, but is quick to tell you that he’s merely “average.” Patto is still actively jumping, but trying to remain a little more “low key” these days after so many years of being on the forefront of all things BASE.

Andreas Podlipnik

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Andreas Podlipnik, owner of Pressurized, started BASE jumping in 2003 with Apex BASE (then known as Basic Research) in Twin Falls jumping a Prism and FLiK in his earliest years. Eventually Andreas discovered a passion for developing his own tracking suits and went on to form Pressurized where he continues to build the finest tracking suits in the world, teach First BASE Jump Courses, and organize BASE jumping events worldwide. In addition to his business and BASE life, he is often in the mountains with his paraglider and enjoys family life back at home.

Trevor Thompson

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Trevor had a hand in some development ideas for products and pieces of equipment in the Apex inventory. Trevor has been BASE jumping since late 2010 and skydiving since early 2009. He loves every letter in B.A.S.E. and stays current in all styles of jumping. Trevor is a former Navy SEAL and was a member of the Navy Leap Frogs demonstration skydiving team for 3 years. When not BASE jumping or skydiving Trevor has begun working in the Humanitarian, SAR and Aid work field, most recently after Hurricanes Irma and Maria in the Caribbean.

INSTRUCTORS:

Jimmy Pouchert

Jimmy Pouchert Apex BASE

Jimmy Pouchert has been skydiving for 22 years and BASE jumping for 14. Jimmy was actually taught the art of BASE by his now wife and co-Instructor Marta Empinotti. While residing in Moab, Utah he and Marta were part of the founding crew of the original Turkey Boogie. Jimmy and Marta spent many years building BASE gear under the name “Vertigo” before partnering up with Todd Shoebotham (and a few others) to form Basic Research, now known as Apex BASE. Jimmy has done it all: rigging, competitive freeflying, skydiving and BASE demonstration jumps at home and abroad, unique BASE expeditions, and everything in between…there are few people on the planet with skydiving and BASE jumping knowledge as broad or as deep as Jimmy’s.

These days you’ll find Jimmy alongside his wife, Marta, teaching Apex BASE First Jump Courses, Advanced Courses, and leading Coached Apex Expeditions all around the world!

Marta Empinotti

Marta Empinotti Apex BASE

Marta first got into BASE during its infancy in the 1980’s Florida BASE scene. Since the very beginning of her time in the sport, Marta has been deeply involved with BASE equipment manufacturing and development, test jumping, teaching, and event organizing. She has numerous television and print appearances as well as performed successful demo jumps and stunts in the U.S. and abroad. BASE has been both her job and passion for over 20 years. These days you’ll find her alongside her husband Jimmy teaching Apex BASE First Jump Courses, Advanced Courses, and leading Coached Apex Expeditions all over the globe!

Luke Hively (DBC)

WWL 2014 - Photo by Ian Webb

Luke Hively made his first 86 skydives in 1983 in his mother’s womb and grew up on an airport as the child of two accomplished skydivers. He followed his parents’ footsteps and began skydiving at age 15 (1999) and BASE jumping in 2004. With a lifetime immersed in the sport he’s proud to be well-rounded and competent with 3,000+ jumps across nearly all disciplines (freefly, RW, video, CRW, wingsuit, BASE, freefly BASE, wingsuit BASE, etc.). In competition, he’s earned a silver medal (Freefly) at the U.S. National Championships, two gold medals (Freefly), and several Largest Formation Records (Freefly & RW), but his proudest moment came when he competed in the US Nationals on an RW team with his father, placing dead last and having more fun than any other team in the competition. When he’s not jumping, Luke’s day-to-day activities include snowboarding, skiing, speed riding, mountain biking & rock climbing. Catch him year-round in and around the Lauterbrunnen Valley (Switzerland) and elsewhere as he travels the globe jumping, coaching Apex European Expeditions, and living the good life!

Dimitrije Dadic

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Hailing from the Republic of Serbia, Dimitrije (dee mee tree yee) began parachuting as a member of the Serbian Military Special Forces. With over 9,000 skydives he’s a USPA Coach/Examiner, Static Line Instructor, AFF Instructor, Tandem Instructor/Examiner, S&TA, and an FAA Senior Rigger. He’s also a member of the skydiving demo team “Fastrax” and coach/co-owner of Elite Canopy Dynamics. Dimitrije is a total pro in the skydiving world. We trust Dimitrije to provide BASE canopy coaching in the skydive environment to jumpers looking to get coaching from a true canopy professional, and in an environment that is ideal to learn the full range of your BASE canopy. Dimitrije is based out of Skydive Perris in California, but travels to provide coaching when appropriate.

Marc Lambert

Marc Lambert, often known as Marco Poko in the BASE community, has been BASE jumping since 2010. Marc learned to skydive in his home state of Utah while he completed a Doctorate Degree in Physical Therapy at the University of Utah. He continues to work as a Physical Therapist in Twin Falls while staying committed to his passion for flight.  He has lived in Twin Falls since he started BASE jumping. He enjoys being close to The Perrine Bridge, where he can BASE jump and speedfly all year long. Over the years Marc has accomplished many things in the sky community. He has instructed skydiving at DZone in Idaho and Montana, as well as become a certified tandem instructor. In 2015, Marc started BASE instruction. His experience, combined with his knowledge of human movement, provides him with unique insight into BASE jumping. Marc continues to be very involved with BASE and the local community of Twin Falls. He has served as Chairman of the Twin Falls Parks and Recreation Commission and leads the coordination of an annual Perrine Bridge Clean Up, encouraging BASE jumpers to give back to the community that is so welcoming to jumpers. Marc enjoys instructing new jumpers and has a strong desire to educate on safety, staying within individual skill sets and making solid decisions. He enjoys keeping relationships with his students and watching them grow in their BASE journey. He is committed to giving individual focused attention and puts his heart and soul into the students’ courses. Marc’s hobbies are highlighted by airsports (skydiving, BASE, speedflying), but also include being outdoors, taking his two GSP puppies on adventures and spending time with his wife Corinne and daughter Savannah. He has been fortunate enough to be able to travel to China, Greece, Mexico and Switzerland for airsport adventures. 

KEY EMPLOYEES:

Todd Shoebotham

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Todd Shoebotham has been at the forefront of BASE jumping since it’s earliest days. One of the original manufacturers of BASE specific containers and canopies much of the BASE technology we take for granted today (e.g. Tail Gate, Bottom Skin Vents) was developed under the watch of Todd and the other founders of Basic Research (now Apex BASE). Todd is still actively BASE jumping, operating President and Owner of Apex BASE, and proud husband and father of two sons.

Joachim "Jojo" Pfahler

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“Jojo” (pronounced “Yo-Yo”) is an independent FAA Master Rigger and he’s responsible for quality control on all Apex canopies and containers. This means he’s not actually an employee, but an independent contractor who we hire to ensure that there are zero conflicts of interest during the QC process. Jojo doesn’t care if we’re trying to keep up with lead times, or trying to get your gear done before your big BASE trip, or about anything except making sure that every piece of equipment that leaves this shop is up to his highly rigorous, highly precise, and highly German standards.

Jojo owns and operates the “Thrill Inc.” rigging loft in San Diego, CA and has helped develop multiple products for Apex BASE including the Remove-A-Slider System, the Static Line Shock Absorber Bridle, and more. His rigging knowledge is deep in both skydiving and BASE gear.

Rigo Anaya

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Rigoberto “Rigo” Anaya is the lead harness/container builder at Apex where he has been building BASE gear for 18+ years. When he’s not hanging out with us in the shop, Rigo loves spending time at home with his family!

Lourdes Alvarez

Lourdes Alvarez Apex BASE

Lourdes took over as our lead canopy builder when Francis retired in 2018. With over 30 years of sewing experience she took to canopy production quickly and impressively while training under Todd and Francis. Outside of the shop Lourdes enjoys camping, attending her local church, and spending time with her two children and five grandchildren.

Jordan LaShelle

Jordan LaShelle Apex BASE

Jordan has been a friend of the Shoebotham family since age eight and started working for Apex BASE after graduating from High School in 2016. He’s quite proud of his nickname “No Toe,” which he earned after losing his big toe (right) in an off-road accident. Jordan is a true utility player here in the shop where he helps primarily with accessory construction and the initial stages of container and canopy production.

Caden Castellini

Caden Castellini is the man behind Apex BASE Social Media. Quietly driven with an abundance of natural talent, Caden is an avid BASE jumper. He’s accumulated nearly 200 (mostly bandit) jumps after starting in November 2019, and only made the national news once. Always excited to be under a 7 cell, his most enjoyable moments in Skydiving are his cutaways. When he’s not travelling for BASE, you can find Caden surfing, partaking in the downhill skate scene, or working as a Tandem Instructor in Santa Barbara.

THE APEX FAMILY TREE:

Apex BASE has family members all over the planet. Countless jumpers have worked in our shop, taken our courses, joined our expeditions, and stood on exit points with us since the earliest days of BASE jumping. Here are a few notable people who are no longer part of Apex, but we still consider them family.

Steve Doherty

Steve Wingsuit After Landing

Steve Doherty worked in the Apex shop from 2007 through 2016. He’s been skydiving since 1997 and BASE jumping since 2007. When he’s not skydiving and BASE jumping; he enjoys speedflying, paragliding, and all-things outdoors.

Anne Helliwell

Annie Apex BASE

Annie has been BASE jumping for over 35 years with 1400+ BASE jumps and skydiving for more than 37 with 10,000+ skydives. Co-founder and former co-owner of the first BASE manufacturing company, Basic Research (now Apex BASE). While at Basic Research Annie focused on building parachute equipment for BASE jumping, teaching first jump students, leading international BASE expeditions, and working on several television programs and commercials. She has 3 skydiving world records and several awards from BASE jumping competitions. Annie is also a skydiving pilot, flying PACs, Caravans, and Twin Otters at dropzones around Southern California. Annie is a skydiving Instructor, Tandem Instructor, and FAA Master Parachute Rigger. Annie is also a trauma nurse at a level 1 trauma center in California. In short, Annie has done it all, and continues to do it all!

Francisca Wigginton

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Joe Putrino

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Joe Putrino worked with us in the Apex shop from 2016 to 2019. He had a large part in curating the merge between Atair and Apex, and helped with refining the TL2 and Summit Lite. He’s been BASE jumping since 2013 and skydiving since 2011. Taking a large opportunity, Joe returned to the real world as a professional. He’s currently passionate about dirt bikes, desert adventures and horses, yet you can still find him occasionally dabbling in tunnel flying and WS BASE. Intelligent, gear knowledgeable and witty – definitely hike with Joe during his next terminal trip to Europe. If you ever share a jump with Joe in the US, be sure to buy him a drink at his favorite restaurant (Chili’s) right after, and he’ll love you forever.

Michael King

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Mike worked with us in the Apex shop from 2014 to 2017. Mike earned his senior rigger ticket while at Apex, and did a little bit of everything from rigging to shipping and sales. He has been skydiving since 2012 and BASE jumping since 2013. When he isn’t jumping Mike enjoys skiing, hiking, and spending time outdoors. He now works as a Tandem Instructor and lives in San Diego, California.