On Tuesday morning, the Rockland Boulders held a media conference call with world acclaimed aerialist Nik Wallenda who will attempt a 500 plus skywalk across Palisades Credit Union Park and also try to set a Guinness World Record for highest first pitch from 125 feet above the ground before the Boulders play the Cuban National Team on Saturday June 25 at 6:30 p.m.
Wallenda has set numerous Guinness World Records that include Niagara Falls in 2012 and Grand Canyon in 2013. One of his crazier records is hanging under a helicopter by his teeth 280 feet above the ground. He is a seventh generation member of the Great Wallendas that date back to 1780.
Doing this in Pomona, New York and at Palisades Credit Union Park, Wallenda said he has been training and rehearsing for his entire life.
I had the opportunity to ask Nik the first question, what are the challenges of walking the length of a baseball stadium?
“Everything is relative in my work and dangers are the same whether I’m 30 feet above the ground, 100 feet above a baseball stadium, 1500 feet above the Grand Canyon or 200 feet above Niagara Falls, the dangers are all the same and I respect the walk,” said Nik Wallenda. “One of the unique things is I’m throwing out the first pitch, that is something I have been playing with and throwing the ball from the wire. The stability of the wire, changes between every walk and wind/weather you have to deal and prepare for.”
Wallenda said he has been training four to five hours a day and six days a week in his hometown of Sarasota, Florida plus doing laps on the wire only 16 feet above the ground and 50 feet long. The balancing bar he will be using weighs 45 pounds and is 24 feet long, that, Wallenda says is a major workout on the forearms. He does not intend to wear a safety harness because he feels he has trained his entire life to walk without one and it’s all about skills and having backup plans. He estimates it will take him 10 to 15 minutes to complete the walk.
“When I’m on the wire, I’m able to focus on one thing and something peaceful and enjoyable about it and this is my passion,” said Wallenda. “My great-grandfather Karl said life is on the wire and just waiting. When you do something for your entire life and I say it in a respectful and not arrogant way walking on the wire becomes very natural and I’ve walked hundreds of miles on the cable.”
The second question I asked Wallenda, how special is this walk knowing your great-grandfather Karl walked across Shea Stadium back in 1970?
“It’s always emotional because my great-grandfather paved the way for me to do what I do and I look to him for inspiration and truly a dream to do a baseball game and make that dream come true in a unique way,” said Nik Wallenda. “So to do something that is similar to the one he did is something fulfilling. I have 10 Guinness World Records and on Saturday evening will have 11.”
Wallenda said in closing there are dangers all around and he has lost family members including his great-grandfather Karl who fell to his death in a high-wire walk in 1978 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Wallenda re-created and successfully completed the walk in 2011.
“I live life like it’s my last because I consider it healthy what I do and we all should live that way but no one knows for sure when we will have our last breathe.”
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