Where bungee jumping was invented?
Bungee jumping was first invented by the Dangerous Sports Club of the University of Bristol in the late eighteen-fifties. The sport was originally confined to club members and was considered a niche activity. At that time, the idea of bungee jumping was still very obscure and it was only practised by a few enthusiasts. However, after gaining popularity in the UK and the US, bungee jumping was embraced by the wider community.
Bungee jumping was first discovered during the Second World War on Pentecost Island, South Pacific. Europeans were surprised to find natives practising the sport. The locals were using lianas to rig the tower for jumping. When a man tried to catch her, she climbed the tree and tied lianas around her ankles. When he attempted to catch her, she jumped and fell to the ground.
The custom was later adopted by men in the village and became a part of the village’s celebrations. The men of the village practised jumping with lianas from a tower 28 meters high. To perform this act, men must first take a ritual bath and then climb the tower. Their wives, who are expected to listen to their husband’s complaints in front of the entire village, must listen to their husband’s complaints before they attempt to jump. The tradition was adapted by the American military during World War II.
Modern Bungee Jumping
The first modern bungee jump was completed on the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol, England, in 1979. Geoff Tabin, a professional climber, and two members of the Oxford University Dangerous Sports Club attempted the jump. The men tied vines around their ankles and climbed the tower. The women had to listen to their husbands’ complaints in front of the entire village.
In fact, the practice was invented in the early nineteenth century on Pentecost Island, which was first used in Vanuatu to celebrate the festival of the Virgin Mary. The earliest versions of bungee jumping involved participants tying themselves to vines on an elevated surface and leaping off. Today, this is legal in most countries and is practiced in many countries across the globe. In the 1960s, bungee jumping was banned in Vanuatu.
The practice of bungee jumping was first recorded in Pentecost Island during the Second World War. The tradition was first used by a group of students on an island near the Clifton Suspension Bridge, a 75-meter-high structure. During the Second World War, the practice was brought to the west by the British Army, but it was not until 1955 that westerners learned of it.
Bungee Jumping Origen
The sport was invented in the 1700s on Pentecost Island in the South Pacific. During the Second World War, Europeans were shocked to discover locals performing this sport. A local woman, Tamalie, was abusing her husband and had a tree planted in her yard to hide from the man who was trying to kill her. The man tried to catch her but she jumped into the ground.
The first bungee jumpers were arrested but later released on promises to never try it again. The concept spread to other islands and became an extreme sport. In 1982, bungee jumpers started bungee jumping from hot air balloons and mobile cranes. In December 2014, a bridge in Switzerland celebrated its 150th anniversary and is still open to bungee jumping. It is now illegal to practice a bungee jump from the bridge.
Bungee Jumping as a Sport
The sport of bungee jumping first appeared on Pentecost Island in the South Pacific. Europeans first heard about it during the Second World War. A woman named Tamalie decided to climb a tree so that she could hide from her abusive husband. She tied lianas to her ankles and jumped from the tree, in spite of the man’s attempts to catch her. A few days later, she jumped to the ground and was caught by a man.
The sport was popularized by AJ Hackett, a man who travelled to New Zealand in the 1800s and was responsible for making the sport a global sensation. Thousands of people have jumped from bungee towers since then. As a result, the sport has evolved into an extreme sport and is increasingly popular around the world. While there are several places to bungee jump around the world, it is best to check the safety of a location before you try it.
A.J. Hackett and the history of bungee jumping
Today, bungee jumping is a common extreme sport that can be found in almost every country around the world. But it must have taken some nerve to be the first person to attempt to jump from a bridge with nothing but an oversized elastic band strapped to your ankles.
New Zealander A.J. Hackett is often credited as being the originator of the bungee jump, but while he certainly popularised it and set up the first commercial jump, the history of bungee goes back a long way – probably further than you think.
Origins in Vanuatu
Bungee jumping was actually inspired by the ritual known as ‘land diving’, which originated hundreds (or perhaps even thousands) of years ago on Pentecost Island – one of the islands that makes up the country on Vanuatu in the South Pacific.
The ritual came about as a part of an ancient story of a local woman who was being mistreated by her husband. The legend says that she often attempted to run away only to be caught and punished. So she came up with a plan and when she ran away she climbed up the tallest banyan tree on the island, tying a vine around her ankle as she made her way to the top. Her husband followed her in an attempt to catch her and bring her back. When she reached the top of the tree, the woman jumped to the floor and the vine broke her fall. She then taunted her husband, saying that he was too cowardly to perform the jump himself. With no vine around his ankle, the husband threw himself after her, only to fall to his death.
The event has been reconstructed ever since as the islanders build a tower and then jump from it as a means of providing their bravery and warding off evil spirits, including that of the husband who plummeted to his demise. It is believed that a successful Yam harvest can only be achieved if the ritual takes place.
Oxford University Dangerous Sports Club
In the 1970s, the first footage of land diving surfaced around the world. A copy of the footage got into the hands of the Oxford University Dangerous Sports Club – a group of people based in Oxford and London. These were some of the early pioneers of extreme sports and in fact they coined the word ‘bungee’ in reference to their first attempts to emulate land diving.
In 1979 members of the club visited the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol where they carried out the first successful bungee jump. However, it was seen very much as a niche activity that the club confined to its own members. The club itself had a policy of dressing in rather aristocratic dress and there was an element of elitism surrounding the group. It wasn’t until bungee jumping made its way to New Zealand that the sport gained notoriety around the world.
While the Oxford University Dangerous Sports Club may have invented the concept of bungee jumping as a pleasurable activity, it was then that A.J. Hackett and some of his friends who took it to the mainstream. Hackett and his cameraman Chris Sigglekow had seen the footage of the land diving in Vanuatu and had learned about the Club’s experimental jumps and they were keen to attempt it themselves.
Creating a stretchy elastic cord they performed their first jump from the Greenhithe Bridge in Auckland in 1986. The jump went exactly as planned and the two enjoyed the rush so much that they vowed to attempt higher jumps. Roping in other friends, they visited several other bridges in New Zealand before heading to Europe.
During this time they moved away from the system of using a parachute harness (which meant they jumped feet first) or an ankle-tie, allowing them to jump head first. A run-in with the authorities in New Zealand led to the police contacting Television New Zealand to put out a story warning people not to jump from bridges. However, this actually acted as publicity for Hackett and got people interested in the idea.
Bungee had captured the imagination of the public and Hackett saw this an opportunity to explore the idea further. He attracted even more media attention when he managed to illegally bungee from the Eiffel Tower.
Hackett opened the world’s first commercial bungee jump site in 1988 in Ohakune, before finally setting up a permanent operation at Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown. Today Queenstown is known as a hub of extreme sports in New Zealand and attracts over 500,000 visitors a year.
Bungee or Bungy?
It is interesting that there is no definitive agreement on whether the correct spelling of the word is ‘bungee’ or ‘bungy’. It is generally considered that Oxford University Dangerous Sports Club first created the term and their spelling was ‘bungee’. But in New Zealand, where the sports was popularised and commercialised, ‘bungy’ is the preferred spelling.
It’s usually considered that both spellings are acceptable, although in the UK and much of the world, ‘bungee’ is the usual way.
By Sara Bryant, independent content writer who consulted UK experience day specialist Into the Blue over some of the information contained