When AJ Hackett and Henry Van Asch set up the world’s first commercial bungy jump operation in Queenstown, New Zealand back in November 1988, there were many skeptics who thought they were mad. You can almost hear them muttering ‘who in their right mind would pay good money to jump off a bridge?’
But it seems that Hackett and Asch knew something that the skeptics didn’t – people want to step out of their comfort zone. And let’s face it, jumping off a bridge, abet with a safety rope, is pretty far out of the comfort zone.
Twenty-five years later, over 3 million people around the world have jumped, many at the world-famous Kawarau Bridge located a few miles outside of Queenstown, New Zealand where Hackett and Asch set up their original bungy operation.
Back in 1988, when the Kawarau Bridge jump was established, it was seen as seriously extreme.
Once it was the world’s highest bungy jump. But at 43 meters, it is today considered not only on the world’s shortest but also the easiest of bungy jumps – the perfect place for a novice to take the plunge.
Tomorrow, on it’s 25th birthday, the Kawarau Bridge jump will celebrate this by inviting students and teachers from local schools to embrace their fears and complete their first ever bungy jump.
Extreme adrenalin junkies, however, see Kawarau Bridge as less of a challenge and more as a stepping stone for the more extreme Nevis bungy jump, which, at 134 meters, is the highest bungy in Australasia.
So what’s it to be? Easy or extreme?
I have to confess, neither option really works for me.
(photo credit @AJ Hackett Bungy)