A Complete Guide To Bungee Jumping
As far as adventure sports go, bungee jumping is undoubtedly one to try. The thrill of free-falling from heights gives an adrenaline kick that’s full of fun and excitement.
If you’re thinking about experiencing the thrill for yourself, we’ve prepared a comprehensive guide to all things bungee jumping.
Bungee jumping explained
Bungee jumping is all about leaping from a very high position. You can jump off a tall cliff, tower, crane, or bridge.
You can even jump from a moving object like a hot air balloon if you are out for a thrill.
You’ll have a thick elastic cord tied to your feet or ankles, which recoils almost as instantly as you start your freefall.
As you hurtle from the height, the cord tied to your feet will stretch, then rebound, taking you upwards as it recoils.
After which, you will begin to fall back down.
Picture it like an air trampoline— you’ll bounce up and down a couple of times until the cord loses momentum. How’s that for exhilaration?
Where did it all come from?
There are quite a few tales told about how it all started. Some say a woman tied her feet with a rope in a domestic dispute and jumped off a cliff.
Others say men jumped off cliffs to show off their bravado.
Notwithstanding the stories told, records show that the first known modern encounters with bungee jumping were in the 1970s from Bristol’s Clifton’s bridge.
Eventually, it made its way into the mainstream, with the first bungee jumping location operating commercially in New Zealand in 1989.
Is bungee jumping safe?
While falling so far down with nothing but a rope to hold your legs may seem scary, bungee jumping is known to be quite safe.
Establishments are required to stick to a code of safety. You can get a license for it if you don’t meet the standards.
Plus, all the equipment used has to comply with safety standards.
Statistics also show that the risk of dying in a bungee jumping accident is 1 in 500 000.
This means jumps are accident-free most of the time.
Who can bungee jump?
There are usually no limits to bungee jumping; people of all ages can do it.
However, some places will put certain age limits.
But, if you have pre-existing injuries, then you aren’t allowed to jump.
Also, people with conditions like heart problems, high blood pressure, and being overweight can’t jump.
If you’re pregnant, you’re also not allowed to take the leap.
The great feelings from bungee jumping come from the burst of adrenaline release in your body.
That adrenaline released courses through your whole body.
As it makes its way through the body, your heart rate shoots through the roof.
Plus, your metabolic rate and the sugar level in your blood both go sky-high.
So if you have conditions like heart problems or high blood pressure, it would be unsafe for you to try bungee jumping.
That said, if you have a perfect bill of health, there’s nothing to stop you from doing it.
Why do you need to bungee jump?
Agreed, bungee jumping is not for the faint-hearted. It’s an extreme sport.
However, life is all about experiences, and what better way to enjoy a well-lived life than by experiencing something as exhilarating as a bungee jump?
For the thrill-seekers, you simply must take a jump in your lifetime.
Consider adding this adventure activity to your bucket list.
If you want to conquer your fears, especially if you’re afraid of heights, going for a bungee jump will be a great way to conquer your fears.
You can do it gradually, start with heights that are not too daunting for you, and eventually work your way up to taking more tremendous leaps.
Another reason that should stir you to attempt a jump is that it’s an easygoing sport that requires minimum fitness or effort from you.
With your clean bill of health, correct footwear, and an ear attentive to instructions, you are good to bungee.
Essential equipment for a bungee jump
All you need is a bungee cord and sometimes a harness, depending on the setup of your chosen bungee site.
You may also require a helmet if those are the requirements of the location you are taking your leap.
The cord is a specially designed shock cord usually made of natural rubber for elasticity. Bungee cords vary in strength and thickness.
There are two types of harnesses used in bungee jumping; you will have strapped on either a leg harness or a body harness.
The leg harness is strapped to your ankles and attached to the rope.
A body harness will be attached to your thighs, waist, chest, shoulders, and the cord attached.
What to wear
Keep it simple. Wear the most comfortable clothes that will not distract you during your jump.
Suggested options include shorts, t-shirts, pants, or bodysuits.
You can wear a comfortable pair of shoes, but remember to tie your laces.
Remember your clothes should neither be too tight nor too loose.
Tight-fitting clothes will limit your movements, especially since you will be in an unusual upside-down position.
Loose-fitting clothes are also not ideal because they will fly over your head and may become a hazard.
Can I eat before taking the plunge?
Bungee jumping will take its toll on your body. You will be in an unusual head-down position, being jerked about for a bit as your body bounces from the recoil.
In light of this, you are advised not to eat just before you jump, let alone take a heavy meal.
After all, you wouldn’t want to throw up all over the gorge below and ruin your bungee experience.
Essential tips for your first bungee excursion
Bungee jumping is not just about taking the plunge; it’s about the entire experience.
You want to look back and reminisce on what an enriching experience it was.
- For bungee rookies, the most important tip is to pay as much attention to your instructor as possible. Most of all, trust your instructor. Your instructor has been through this enough times to know how it’s supposed to go, not to mention being certified to do this.
- If you’re going as a group, take the lead. Watching others jump before you may only heighten your nerves instead of getting you psyched up about the jump. The earlier you take to jump, the higher your chances of backing out of the enthralling experience.
- Don’t look back, literally and metaphorically. You have come this far already.
- Don’t wait for the countdown to end before taking your leap of faith if you’re doing a countdown. If you do, chances are you won’t jump, and there will be more countdowns before you jump.
- Try not to look down; look straight ahead. Looking down makes the jump scarier than it is. Even the bravest of hearts will become nervous by staring down the expanse of the gorge. You are better off keeping your eyes closed before you jump.
- Remember to smile. You want to look back at the pictures of this memorable moment and be proud of how brave you were, not cringe at how afraid you looked.
- Above all, just have fun. These are the moments worth cherishing.
What will the jump entail?
Here is a basic rundown of what to expect when you go for your leap of faith:
Bungee jumping excursions are pre-booked appointments, so you need to arrive well on time to familiarise yourself with your surroundings.
Arriving early will help calm your nerves and prepare you for your leap.
Before the jump, you should get a safety briefing.
The briefing should include a lesson on inspection, testing, and maintenance of the harness and tips on safely executing your jump.
They will take your weight to ensure you use the appropriate cord to carry your weight suitably.
Next, your cable and harness will be strapped on and checked to ensure everything is sound and in good working condition.
Having gone through these checks, you are ready to take your leap.
During the jump
Relax. With your arms stretched wide, your knees bent, and your eyes focused ahead or shut (whichever you prefer), steadily take that jump into the open air below. Enjoy the moment and savor your free fall.
Once the cord has been fully stretched out, it will recoil and bring you back slightly up, and you get to enjoy swinging like a pendulum from the end of the cord.
- There will be a prepared airbag to land on
- A boat will be waiting for you below
- You will be rewound up to where you jumped from.
After the leap
The instructor will detach the cord and remove the harness.
You can proudly stand tall and look back at the thrilling experience you have just had.
Where can I go bungee jumping in the US?
Across the United States, there are countless bridges, canyons, cliff tops, and buildings where you can get your dose of heart-pumping adrenaline experience.
And that’s it; now you know what to expect and where to go for a jump.
Go ahead and book that all-important first bungee jump experience, and enjoy an unforgettable free-falling experience to brag about for a lifetime.
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The Complete Guide to Bungee Jumping
What is bungee jumping?
Bungee jumping put simply is an exhilarating adventure sport which involves jumping from a high platform – normally from a dam, bridge, crane or tower, connected to a specially-made thick elastic cord which recoils after a few seconds of freefall. Though the bungee platforms are usually from static structures, it is also possible, and highly thrilling, to bungee jump from hot air balloons, mountain gondolas and helicopters.
Practiced around the world, this activity is great to do in groups with friends or family, cheering each other on as you wait for your own turn to jump!
Some bungee sites have a minimum weight limit rather than a minimum age, so it’s a sport that can be tried by a range of ages, with no maximum age limit. Some bungee sites however have a minimum age, the average being around 14 years old, but this is dependent on each individual bungee.
A sport that requires minimal preparation on the participant’s part, requiring only a minimal level of fitness, good health, to wear appropriate footwear, and to listen to a safety briefing, this is a great sport that almost anyone can try!
You can ease into bungee jumping by picking the height that suits you best, depending on your threshold for tolerating heights. To compare various bungee sites from one another, take a look at our list of the World’s 10 highest bungee jumps! If you have your eyes set on booking a specific bungee jump or would like to know if there’s a site around you, make sure you check out all our bungee jumps around the world!
History of Bungee Jumping
According to a legend surrounding the South Pacific island of Pentecost Island, bungee jumping originated there. The legend says that a woman, fleeing her husband who was mistreating her, climbed a tree to hide, which her husband followed her up. Just as her husband tried to grab her, she tied vines around her ankles and jumped. Her husband jumped at the same time but hit the ground and died, so the woman was saved by the vines.
A man from the South of Pentecost Island bungee jumping using vines
Since this legend originated, the men of the island have practiced jumping from trees with vines tied around their ankles. This ‘land diving’ or Naghol, as it is known on the island, has become a tradition on Pentecost Island. It is practiced every year on Saturdays between April and June.
In April 1979, on ‘April Fool’s Day’ the Oxford Dangerous Sport Club tried jumping from Bristol’s Clifton Bridge in England. Illegally and moderately unpreparedly, a few members of this club attached elastic bungee cords to themselves and jumped – something they later did again at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, USA. the following year.
This, along with other jumps, propelled the sport into the mainstream. In 1989, the now world-famous New Zealander A.J. Hackett opened the world’s first commercial bungee jumping location in Queenstown, New Zealand.
Bungee jumping at Europabrucke, Innsbruck, Austria
What equipment is used in bungee jumping?
The amount of equipment required for this sport is minimal, with the participant only needed to bring appropriate footwear.
The bungee site will supply the specially designed braided shock cord you will be connected to, the leg and body harness you will be wearing, connected to the bungee cord and a helmet may be required at some destinations.
Don’t be skeptical of the location if you don’t spot a harness, as some bungee sites simply connect jumpers to the bungee cord via the ankles, whilst others use a harness. You can rest assured, knowing both pieces of equipment keep you secure:
Bungee Cord: A specially designed and made cord made from tightly woven strands of rubber. With different strengths and thicknesses available, different bungee sites opt for slightly varying cords. This cord will have recoil when you reach a certain point before you reach the ground.
Harnesses: The harnesses are worn around the thighs, waist, chest, and shoulders, with the bungee cord connected at the front to both of these pieces of the harness.
Bungee jumping Stockhorn, Interlaken, Switzerland
What will I do?
Arrive at the bungee site at least an hour before your slot, this will give you time to take in the surroundings, watch the people before you jump and get acquainted with the instructors and have a safety briefing.
Before the jump, you will be weighed so that the operators set up the particular rope you will use. After attaching your harnesses and rope and checking everything is secure and safe, you’ll then be ready to jump!
During the activity:
Relax, stretch your arms out, bend your knees and jump into the void. Enjoy the sensation of the freefall, it will only last a couple of seconds, and then the rope will be fully stretched and the elastic will recoil and bring you back up slightly and you will swing momentarily at the end of the rope until you are either lowered down to a specially-made landing area airbag, platform or even a boat sometimes (dependent on the location) or lifted back up to the spot you jumped from.
After having your harnesses detached from the rope and the harness subsequently taken off, you’ll be able to relax and think back on the incredible bungee jumping experience you’ve just had!
Bungee jumping Sentosa, Singapore
Who can do bungee jumping?
Bungee jumping is an inclusive, accessible sport, able to be tried by people with reduced mobility, amputees or visitors with partial paralysis. If you have any doubts about whether yourself or one of your group can participate in bungee jumping, it is highly recommended to speak to the staff at the bungee site that you intend to visit beforehand.
Min. and max. weights:
Rules vary for different bungees, but the general minimum weight for bungee jumping is 35/40kg. The maximum weight again differs between sites but is generally around 145/150kg.
Bungee jumping unfortunately is not recommended for women who are pregnant.
Generally the participant must be in good health, if you suffer with epilepsy, joint problems or heart disease you may not be allowed to participate. It is worth checking with the bungee site you’re planning on visiting ahead of booking to see their individual policy on health requirements if you are unsure.
It is also worth noting that it is not advised for bungee participants to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, as they may not be permitted to participate. This sport requires a high level of engagement and attention to the safety instructions provided by instructors.
Bridge Swinging near Barcelona, Spain
Variations of bungee
This exhilarating sport has a number of equally exciting variations such as bridge and canyon swings and sky jumping.
Bridge Swing: This is offered at a number of bridges around the world, bridge swinging is a variation of bungee jumping in that you still jump from a bridge but the type of rope is different and you swing rather than freefall.
Canyon swing: Similar to bridge swinging, though instead of jumping from a bridge, you jump from the side of a canyon. Canyon swinging is like cliff jumping, but you’re attached to a rope.
Sky jump: A sky jump is a controlled fall from a large height. The participant has a wire attached to them as they ‘fall’ at a controlled speed. Unlike bungee jumping, there’s no recoil of the wire and most sky jumps will end on a landing platform at the bottom of the tower that you jump from.
For more information about this exhilarating sport, check out our bungee jumping articles.
How Old Do You Have To Be To Bungee Jump? (Country Age Limits)
Bungee jumping is great fun, but it does come with risk. This extreme sport is bound by a lot of safety legislation as you would expect, with some of that concerning age limits. I love bungee jumping so decided to see what the different age restrictions are around the world. With that in mind, is there an age limit for bungee jumping and how old do you have to be? Yes, in many countries there are, let’s take a closer look…
How old do you have to be to bungee jump? The age limit on bungee jumping will differ from country to country. In the UK, the age is 14 but in the United States there is no legislation. In most countries, bungee jumpers under 18 will need written parental consent. In Australia you can bungee jump at 10 years old!
Do you have to be 18 to bungee jump?
You do not have to be 18 to bungee jump. However, in most countries you will need to have written parental consent to bungee jump if you are under 18.
If you scroll down the page, you will see a table of countries and places listed which show how old you have to be and any notes on the age limits.
How old do you have to be to do a bungee jump in the UK?
The youngest age you can go bungee jumping in the UK is 14 years old. However, between the ages of 14 and 16, you will need parental consent and be accompanied on the site by a parent or guardian. No under 14s are legally allowed to bungee jump in the UK.
In the UK you don’t have to be 18, but will need a parent or guardian to sign a consent form before the operator will let you take part.
There is no legal upper age limit for bungee jumping in the UK, but some operators will impose their own restrictions.
For example, some bungee jumping companies will only let over 65s jump with written permission from their doctor. Many operators also advise that over 50s seek medical advice before they book a jump.
How old do you have to be to bungee jump in America?
There is no law on how old you have to be to bungee jump in America. However, if you are younger than 18 years then operators will need written permission and parental consent. Many operators will refuse to allow jumpers younger than 14 years old.
In many states, bungee jumping has actually been made illegal. This was in responses to a lot of accidents that occurred in the 1990s. In states where it is legal to bungee jump, many operators will only let you do so in tandem with an experienced jumper.
Handy Hint: I published some research into how many people die each year in bungee jumps. You can see my findings in this guide to bungee jumping fatalities.
|Country (or location)||Lower age limit||Additional notes|
|Australia||10 years old||Jumpers under 18 years will need guardian or parental consent.|
Maximum weight limit: 100 kg/220 pounds.
How old do you have to be to bungee jump off The Stratosphere?
To bungee jump off The Stratosphere you must be aged 14 years or older. If you are aged between 14 and 17 years old you must have a parent or guardian with you. They will have to sign a parental consent form in order for you to jump.
The Stratosphere in Las Vegas is one of the world’s tallest buildings and is a prime location for bungee jumping. But as you would expect there are some age restrictions in place.
What about upper age limits for bungee jumping?
Whilst you probably aren’t surprised that there are lower age limits, can you be too old to bungee jump? The truth is, there is no legal upper age limit in any of the countries and locations I researched for this guide.
However, certain operators will make stipulations. Here’s a few examples of what some operators say about maximum ages.
- Jumpers over 50 should seek medical advice before participating.
- Jumpers over 65 will need written permission from their doctor.
There is no upper age limit for bungee jumping, only restrictions that the operators will have put in place themselves.
Did You Know? The world’s oldest bungee jumper is thought to be Margit Tall from Finland. At 93 years old she bungee jumped 150 meters from a crane in Helsinki in 2014. You can read the report and watch a video on the Mail Online website.
What about how much you weigh?
Every operator and site will have different restrictions on weight. I researched into the most popular global bungee operators and came up with a global average for both the minimum and maximum weight limits.
You don’t have to be 18 to bungee jump apart from in Costa Rica. In most countries, 14 years old appears to be the average minimum jumping age. However, in most of these places people under 18 will need some form of waiver signed by a parent or guardian.
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