Skip to main content

Why This Marine Veteran Is Training Brazil’s Next Generation of BASE Jumpers


It’s tough to reach Scotty Bob Morgan now in rural, remote Brazil. It’s been two months since he and his wife, Julia, began working a nearby drop zone, “a place where idiots learn how to jump out of airplanes,” he says, laughing. But really, that’s just a side gig, a way to pass the time when not practicing his true passion: Building, antenna, span, and earth jumping, or BASE, and teaching it to others.

Morgan, 34, seems like just another dirtbag outdoorsman at first glance, and the internet is filled with the jumps, dives, and wingsuit flights that have earned him worldwide renown. But the San Diego, Calif., local spent his first five years out of high school in the Marine Corps as a Combat Cameraman, a job akin to Joker in Full Metal Jacket. For the entirety of his enlistment, which included two deployments in Iraq, he documented the exploits of others. Now, with the Corps far behind, the military veteran has entered a second act more daring than the first.

Related Videos

Related Guides

“Scotty Bob is like a flying fireball with a tender heart,” says Tyler Lee, the marketing director and athlete manager for KAVU, one of Morgan’s longtime sponsors.  “You know he is always out there burnin’ and arguably one of the best wingsuiters in the world. When you are lucky enough to get close to him and grab a hug you can truly feel his genuine soul.”


Most of the world’s BASE jumpers start and work out of one of a few hubs in Europe. Gondolas and trams pull you close to drop points, English is readily spoken, and the roads and trains are reliable. Brazil, on the other hand, is almost the opposite: Buying equipment within the country is either expensive or impossible due to trade regulations and taxes, the roads can be poor, Portuguese or dialects are spoken almost exclusively, and if you want to reach the top of a mountain to jump, you’ll need to work out an arrangement with the local coffee farmers to drive you up in their trucks before elbowing through a herd of cattle. It may seem strange, then, that Morgan would end up there, a foreign country in which he doesn’t speak the language, but desperate times call for creative measures: “It’s difficult with the [worldwide] travel restrictions and, on top of that, finding a cliff that’s acceptable,” he says.

Proper BASE jumping and instruction requires an overhanging precipice at least 400 meters high that is easily accessible so that you can jump multiple times in quick succession. “There’s really not that many places out there,” he says, which makes the expansion of the Brazilian location so significant. But it’s also distinct when compared to what the Euro-centric BASE jumping world has grown accustomed to. “It’s not going to be sanitized,” he says. “It’s more raw.”

How raw is raw?

“You have to deal with a few scary animals every once in a while,” he says, shrugging. “If you just don’t wear your glasses, then you don’t see the snakes and spiders and everything else. You just walk right by them.”


With this curious strategy, it’s not surprising that his students are far from the jet-packing, yoga-retreat crowd. Morgan says they’ve come to this fledging endeavor from all over the world, including many from Brazil herself. It’s the latter group with whom he’s become so enamored. “It’s kind of like the Marine Corps,” he says, “they do 10 times more with 10 times less.” Whether that’s experiencing life, enjoying the task at hand, and especially jumping, he’s developed a newfound passion for the sport and for Brazil’s future contributions to it.

When Morgan talks about Brazil, he gushes about a new generation of Brazilian athletes training far from the watchful eye of the BASE jumping world. And as for the location itself (not yet revealed), he believes it’s a significant addition to the international stage, as its year-round mild climate allows year-round jumps, another key to progression. “The amount of training and learning and potential there is for the sport in general is awesome,” he says. “It’s like we found a new door for what is possible in terminal base jumping.”


Morgan’s wife, Julia, a Brazilian by birth and half of the couple’s company, Bob’s Base Academy, calls to him from the bar where’s he’s scrounged enough Wi-Fi to make a Skype call to the States. She’s got a drink the size of a volleyball, he says, called “The Wilson,” and it’s time to end our talk so he can celebrate another day in BASE jumping paradise.

So how’s the future look? we ask.

“I’ll be down here for the next 10 years,” he says.

And how’s your Portuguese coming along?

With the confidence of a college sophomore asking where the bathroom is in a Mexican restaurant, he rattles off a practiced phrase that ends in “poco.” While he’s teaching the next generation of Brazilians how to BASE jump, Scotty Bob Morgan still needs a good instructor.

Editors' Recommendations

Improve your snowboarding edge transition with this easy-to-follow rule
Linking turns is a fundamental of learning to snowboard. This advice will help
how to set your snowboard stance snowboarder cranks turn on mountain slope

The key fundamental of snowboarding and the aim for all beginners is the hallowed ground of linked turns. Most likely, you'll start by side slipping, with a little falling leaf to move across the hill — using your edge to zig-zag down the hill without turning. Then you'll want to start working toward S turns, and this means transitioning from heel to toe edge or vice versa.

Every snowboarder you see has been in this position — yes, even that guy carving a snowboard and sending huge spins off jumps. Linking your turns together isn't easy, but without it, you'll find yourself stuck in a thigh-burning position all day. Perhaps the biggest challenge associated with linked turns is edge transition. This is the moment when you shift your weight from one edge (the uphill edge) to the other (the downhill edge) in order to initiate your snowboard turn. Doing this at the right moment, without tripping over that edge, requires practice, but we've got a gem that can help you out next time you're hitting the slopes.

Read more
Burton Family Tree Hometown Hero snowboard review: Powder lovers apply within
Snowboard review: What do we really think about the powder-plowing Burton Family Tree Hometown Hero?
burton family tree hometown hero snowboard review

Saying “fresh pow” to a snowboarder is like saying “walkies” to a dog. Ears perk up, heads tilt, eyes widen, and the mind spins into overdrive about how much fun can be had outside. For many, the lack of a proper snowboard equipped to handle deep powder detracts from heading into the snow altogether. Some take their main all-mountain ride into deep powder and hope for the best. For us, Burton snowboards rule the mountain, on and off-piste, so we were excited to give the Hometown Hero a shot at proving itself in powder. The Burton Family Tree Hometown Hero snowboard wants to help powder hounds achieve more – but is it worth the spend? Moreover, is it great in all conditions, or should you leave it on display until powder days arrive?

I recently tested the Burton Family Tree Hometown Hero in various conditions and on various terrain. Here’s my unbiased take.
The type of snowboarder I am
I am highly technical. If you want to nerd out on down-unweighted turns, I’m your guy. I plan my lines and execute them. I don’t crave speed, and I’m not reckless. I’m not always a park rider, but I’m not afraid of features. For me, side hits are far more fun to me than a terraformed park. I ride in the Pacific Northwest most days but often travel to go snowboarding.
The conditions for my Burton Family Tree Hometown Hero review
This board was tested on Mount Hood in Oregon and at Vail Resort in Colorado.

Read more
Make shopping easy: The best gifts for men (no matter what he’s into)
These are the best gifts for men in 2023

Shopping for the best gifts for men can at times seem like a daunting task, whether it be for a birthday, an anniversary, or any gift in between. So, we decided to help you out and lend you a hand and make gift-giving a little less stressful with a thoughtfully curated list of tried-and-true gifts suited for men. And at times, no matter how well or how long you have known someone, you just don't know where to look.

From small everyday carry items and others from the cool tech world to experiences that help you disconnect to reconnect, we offer you a gift guide for every guy on your list or some nice ways to treat yourself, too. Ahead, you will find a list of the best practical gifts for every type of guy. With that being said, here are the best gifts for men in 2023.

Read more