History of Bungee Jumping by

Journal Notes

The legend says that bungee jumping first appeared on Pentecost Island, Vanuatu in the South Pacific. During the Second World War, westerners came to this island for the first time and discovered these people and their custom of bungee jumping. According to legend, one of the natives, Tamalie, was abusing his wife, so she decided to run away. She climbed a tall tree to hide, but he found her and climbed after her. While he was climbing, she tied up lianas around her ankles and in the moment Tamalie tried to catch her, she jumped from the tree. Tamalie jumped after her, but without lianas, he hit the ground and died.

From that day, men in the village started practicing jumping with lianas so women couldn't outwit men ever again. They built 28-meter high towers for jumping. Before jumping, every man has a ritual bath and then climbs the tower. Then his wife is brought to the tower where she has to listen to the husband's complaints in front of the whole village. After his speech, the man has to jump, head down, to prove his manhood. The tradition is retained until today and has become a touristic attraction. The western world had not discovered this custom until 1955 when there was an artcle from Irving I Johnson in National Geographic magazine.

The history of modern bungee jumping started on April 1st in 1979 when members of the Oxford Dangerous Sport Club performed a few illegal jumps from the 80-meter high Clifton Bridge in Bristol, England. Some people thought it was a suicide and this attraction made a big public fuss. The main participants were put in prison for a few days, but bungee jumping started conquering the world.

The appearance of the first commercial bungee site was only a matter of time. In 1989, New Zealander and adventurer A.J. Hackett, started the very first commercial bungee site in Queenstown, New Zealand. From that time, A.J. became the world authority on bungee jumping. Up to now, over a million people have jumped from his worldwide bungee sites.

I can say that I am among these jumpers having jumped from two of his sites in Queenstown including the Nevis. Very cool stuff indeed and a real thrill. All you want is higher and higher.

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