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## Where Did Commercial Bungee Jumping Originate?

Bungee jumping, a thrilling adventure sport that involves leaping from a high structure while attached to a long elastic cord, has its roots in ancient rituals and modern-day exploration. Here’s an in-depth exploration of the origins and evolution of commercial bungee jumping:

### Ancient Precursors

**Vanuaaku Land Divers:** Centuries ago, the indigenous people of Pentecost Island in Vanuatu practiced a ritual known as “land diving.” Young men would construct wooden towers up to 100 feet tall and jump from them, tethered only by vines or tree branches. The purpose of these jumps was to demonstrate courage and manhood, as well as to ensure a bountiful harvest.

### Modern Innovations

**Bristol University Bunjee Club:** In 1979, a group of students from Bristol University in England formed the Bristol University Bunjee Club. Inspired by the Vanuatu land divers, they experimented with jumping from the Clifton Suspension Bridge, using climbing ropes and equipment. The term “bungee” was derived from the slang word for elastic band.

**A.J. Hackett:** In 1986, A.J. Hackett, a New Zealand adventurer and co-founder of the Bristol University Bunjee Club, made a groundbreaking commercial bungee jump from the Auckland Harbour Bridge in New Zealand. This event marked the birth of commercial bungee jumping, as Hackett licensed the rights to use the “bungee” trademark and established bungee jumping companies around the world.

### Evolution and Spread

Following the commercial success of A.J. Hackett’s jump, bungee jumping rapidly gained popularity. Jump sites were established at bridges, towers, and cliffs in countries around the globe, including:

– **Australia:** Sydney Harbour Bridge, Gold Coast SkyPoint Tower
– **United States:** Royal Gorge Bridge, Las Vegas Stratosphere Tower
– **United Kingdom:** Liverpool Cathedral, York Minster
– **Switzerland:** Titlis Cliff Walk, Verzasca Dam
– **South Africa:** Bloukrans Bridge, Mossel Bay

### Safety and Regulations

As commercial bungee jumping grew, so did concerns about safety. Strict regulations were developed to ensure the safety of participants. These regulations included:

– **Equipment standards:** Elastic cords must meet specific specifications for strength and durability.
– **Jump master training:** Jump masters undergo rigorous training and certification to ensure proper technique and safety protocols.
– **Medical screening:** Participants are medically screened to ensure they are fit to jump.
– **Site inspections:** Jump sites are regularly inspected for potential hazards.

### Bungee Jumping Today

Today, commercial bungee jumping is a well-established adventure activity that continues to attract thrill-seekers from around the world. It can be enjoyed at various levels of intensity, from short jumps at low heights to extreme jumps from towering structures. Bungee jumping remains a symbol of courage, adventure, and the human spirit’s quest for unconventional experiences.

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