## Who Made Bungee Jumping Popular in the 1980s?

Bungee jumping, an adrenaline-inducing activity involving falling from a tall structure while attached to an elastic cord, gained immense popularity in the 1980s. This thrilling sport was introduced to the world by a group of young adventurers who dared to push the boundaries of extreme sports.

### The Oxford University Dangerous Sports Club

In 1979, David Kirke, a member of the Oxford University Dangerous Sports Club (OUDSC), became fascinated by the traditional Melanesian ritual of “land diving” in Vanuatu. During this ritual, villagers leapt from a high wooden tower with vines tied to their ankles. Kirke was intrigued by the physics of the jump and the psychological effects of freefall.

### The First Bungee Jump

Inspired by the Melanesian tradition, Kirke and his fellow OUDSC members decided to recreate the jump in England. They constructed a 75-foot wooden scaffold in the Avon Gorge near Bristol and used elastic cord instead of vines. On April 1, 1979, Kirke and three other members of the club performed the first modern bungee jumps in Western history.

### Popularity and Controversy

The daring stunts of the OUDSC quickly garnered media attention. Newspapers and television shows reported on the new extreme sport, capturing the imagination of adventure seekers worldwide. Bungee jumping became an instant sensation, with people from all walks of life eager to experience the thrill of freefall.

However, the popularity of bungee jumping was not without controversy. Some critics raised concerns about the safety of the sport and the potential for serious injuries. In response, the OUDSC developed safety guidelines and procedures to minimize risks.

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### The Role of Simon Willis

Simon Willis, a commercial adventurer and film producer, played a crucial role in popularizing bungee jumping beyond the OUDSC. In 1982, Willis organized a highly publicized bungee jump from a bridge in San Francisco. The event drew thousands of spectators and was widely covered by media outlets. Willis’s efforts helped to bring bungee jumping into the mainstream and established it as a legitimate extreme sport.

### Commercialization and Expansion

The success of Simon Willis’s bungee jump in San Francisco opened the door for commercial bungee jumping operations worldwide. Companies began offering jumps from bridges, towers, and cliffs in various locations. Bungee jumping became a popular tourist attraction and a sought-after experience for thrill seekers.

### Safety and Regulation

As bungee jumping became more popular, concerns about safety continued to arise. The sport was unregulated in many countries, leading to accidents and injuries. In response, organizations such as the World Bungee Association and the British Bungee Jump Federation were established to set safety standards and promote responsible jumping practices.

### Conclusion

The popularization of bungee jumping in the 1980s can be attributed to the daring exploits of the Oxford University Dangerous Sports Club, the efforts of Simon Willis, and the subsequent commercialization of the sport. Through a combination of adventure, innovation, and safety, bungee jumping has become a widely recognized and enjoyed extreme activity, providing thrill seekers with an unforgettable experience.

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