Types of Bungee Jumping There are five major types of bungee jumping. Everyone knows the first type of bungee jumping. This is the plain old bungee jump (if there ever was such a thing). Based on the natives from Pentecost Island in the South Pacific, this is where you jump off from a platform or other tall object. Attached either through a let harness or body harness to a bungee cord or cords, you propel toward the earth. Once the cord(s) reach their maximum elasticity, you would rebound a few times. Typical jumpers experience about 2 to 4 rebounds, giving them the feeling of weightlessness. The second type of bungee jumping is called 'the catapult', 'reverse bungee', or 'bungee rocket'. In this version of the bungee jump, you start on the ground and propel upwards. You are actually attached to the ground using a variety of methods. Once the bungee cord is stretched and ready, you are released. This has the effect of shooting the jumper upwards into the air. There is some danger in this method of jumping however. The bungee cord has a tendancy to pull the jumper towards the object it is anchored to. In the case of the 'catapult' jump, it is usually a lift crane. The danger is that you could hit the crane on the initial pull upwards. Of course, after the initial rocket upwards, the jump is much like the normal bungee jump. The third type of bungee jumping is called the 'twin towers'. This type of bungee jump has solved the collision issue created with the 'catapult'. In this version of the bungee jump, there are two towers or cranes with bungee cords attached to the jumper. These are set some distance apart, with the jumper in the middle. This has the effect of shooting the jumper straight up, since they are pulling simultaneously. This eliminates the issue for potentially hitting the platform or crane. Some commercial outfits use a metal cage with this type of operation. However, this does require a bit more calculations, as the added weight of the cage will increase the need for more bungee cords. The fourth type of bungee jumping is called the 'bungee run'. However, as the name implies, it really doesn't involve any jumping at all. This type of bungee activity usually takes place down an inflatable runway. The object is for the runner to get as far as possible before the bungee cord pulls them back toward the anchor point. Competitions are actually held in this variation of the bungee sport. The fifth type of bungee jumping is called the 'bungee trampoline'. This variation involves the use of a trampoline, in conjunction with poles and bungee cords. The jumper starts jumping on the trampoline, in a body harness, attached to bungee cords. The cords are attached to poles on the sides of the trampoline. As the jumper gets up higher and higher, the cords are tightened. Using this method, the jumper is able to go higher than they normally would with just the trampoline alone. As you can see there are many types of bungee jumping in the modern bungee jumping movement. These are but a few of the more well-known examples. The future is sure to bring about even more variations of this extreme sport. The Discovery Of Bungee Jumping The discovery of bungee jumping may have taken place back in the 1700s by European explorers, but it was not until the 20th century that bungee jumping really made waves around the world. The current public awareness and concept of bungee jumping stems from a BBC documentary that aired during the 1950s on the topic of the land divers from Pentecost Island in the South Pacific. This documentary really brought the subject to public masses for the first time since the discovery of bungee jumping several hundred years ago. It was Sir David Attenborough (one of the BBC's best known broadcasters and writers) and his crew that recorded the first film footage of the land divers, or bungee jumpers from the island of Penetecost in the 1950s. The discovery of bungee jumping was so intriguing and original, that it sparked quite an interest in the modern western world. Most people had never seen anything quite like it, much less ever attempted such a feat. Seeing the young natives jump from seventy foot stick towers and hurl themselves at the ground was shocking. The fact that they were tethered to the tower with a jungle vine was almost unbelievable. Because of the impressive nature of this primitive form of bungee jumping, the American show 'That's Incredible!' (which ran on the American Broadcasting Network from 1980-84) actually sponsored a jump from the Royal Gorge bridge. They filmed the event and aired it on their television show, which could be considered one of the original 'reality TV' shows of our times. In addition, an extreme sports group based on Oxford and London called 'The Dangerous Sports Club' began to practice the new sport of bungee jumping. Inspired by the BBC documentary, this group is credited with the first modern bungee jump. The jump took place in Bristol, England, from the Clifton Suspension Bridge in April of 1979. These events catapulted the discovery of bungee jumping into the full attention of the mainstream media and the public's eye. Within a few short years, the world would see an onslaught of bungee jumping enthusiasts and clubs to cater to the excitement of this new and dangerous sport. Modern commercial bungee jumping operators perform and provide jumping services from a variety of mobile cranes, hot air balloons, bridges and other types of structures. Commercial operators utilize the most advanced techniques and equipment to ensure safety of their patrons. Despite the intrinsic danger involved, insurance companies now provide liability coverage for such endeavors, as there have been few fatalities overall. Since the modern discovery of bungee jumping, millions of people world-wide have taken the plunge into this extreme sport. There have been many safety standards and strict guidelines set up to protect the public from injury as much as possible. Many permanent bungee jumping sites have even been set up. The first such site was set up at the Kawarau Bridge in New Zealand. It can truly be said that the discovery of bungee jumping has brought an ancient religious ritual into the forefront of the extreme sports culture of the 21st century, and surely beyond. How Did bungee Jumping Become So Popular? Some people love anything that is new. Some people love anything that is adventurous. Put both of those key elements together and it is easy to see how bungee jumping very quickly went from being one individual inventing an elastic rope and tossing himself off high structures to a legitimate sport which has gained worldwide popularity in a relatively short period of time. Twenty-five years ago no one had heard of bungee jumping; today, it is all the rage-- everywhere! Bungee jumping is one sport for which the aspect of newness is constant. Whether a person is attempting his very first jump or has made it a consistent part of his lifestyle, the element of adventure is such that each and every jump is a fresh experience. Even if you frequent the same bungee jumping sites on a regular basis, this is a sport in which every experience is different, and each time feels like the first time. Adventure-seekers of all ages and backgrounds will delight in this factor, because no matter how long you engage in the sport of bungee jumping it is something which will never become routine. The excitement is present whether it is your first jump or your twentieth! The overwhelming sense of adventure helps in making bungee jumping so popular. There are many people who are naturally drawn to all of the aspects of thrill-seeking, from the adrenalin rush it has on one's entire system to the knowledge that one is essentially risking life and limb and hoping to win the game. There are no other sports that compare in these factors, which makes bungee jumping quite unique. For those who have the time and resources to travel, this too plays a positive role in bungee jumping's popularity. While it isn't difficult to find a jumping site convenient to one's home area, companies which offer bungee jumping expeditions add to the enjoyment, as do faraway locations which make the bungee jumping experience a great vacation. For individuals who have youth on their side, many feel the desire to experience everything that life can possibly offer. The more, the better; and the more intense, the more better yet. For the many who wish to try every extreme that can be found, this sport presents the most unforgettable experience. Those who feel the need to "try everything once" will find nothing lacking in bungee jumping! Being able to capture it on videotape for future reference, and to share with less-adventurous colleagues, is certainly an added bonus. Your bungee jumping experience on videotape could also be the factor needed to prod others into trying the sport for themselves. Sometime in the future surely someone will feel the need to analyze this sport and what its allure is to those who choose to engage in it either as a hobby or a lifestyle. It would make more sense, though, to merely describe bungee jumping as fun -- and that in itself is a good enough reason for its popularity. Ways To Bungee Jump There are many ways to bungee jump. While this extreme sport has one main method, there are many varieties that have come to life in the past decade of this international sport. As the old adage goes, 'variety is the spice of life'. This is true even in the already spicy endeavor of bungee jumping. The variety in bungee jumping usually comes from the position in which you perform the jump, how you are tethered, and any 'tricks' you may attempt to perform during the jump or the rebound. First, let's take a look at the different methods of being tethered, and see what impact that has on your jump. The most common attachment method is the use of a body harness. The body harness attaches to your body near the center of gravity, or your belly button. One effect of this type of tethering is that it makes it easier to perform flips and spins. Leg harness or ankle harnesses are another way of attaching to the bungee cord. This type of tethering allows for more of the free fall feeling that is traditional with bungee jumping. It is strictly based on the example of the land divers in the South Pacific. Just these two different ways to bungee jump have a vast impact on the performance of the jump and the sensations afforded the jumper. The other variations basically depend on your position when you jump. We will examine a few of these ways to bungee jump in greater detail here. The position that comes highly recommended is called the Swallow Dive. Just as it sounds, your flight downward will resemble the dive of the bird. Initiated by taking a 'flying leap' away from the platform, the body forms the shape of a bird with the arms outstretched like a bird's wings. Another way to bungee jump is called the Bat Drop. In this position, you are held in place upside down. This is achieved either with the help of the jump crew, or by suspending by your toes off the platform. The effect is less wind resistance, and you drop like a rock on this one. The most common way to bungee jump when jumping off of a bridge is to do the Rail Jump. This is very basic, and consists of balancing on the rail of the bridge prior to jumping. Again, some of the jump crew will usually assist in helping you balance on the rail. This seems to actually be easier than climbing over the rail in order to jump. Another way to bungee jump that is gaining in popularity today is the tandem jump. In this variation, two jumpers take the plunge together. It is somewhat dangerous, as bumping heads at the bottom can be unpleasant, to say the least. The jumpers are actually tethered together, so they are both committed to the jump. Keep in mind, however, that this is by no means a complete list. There are many more ways to bungee jump that what are mentioned here. As the future of this sport appeals to more people with advanced safety methods, there are sure to be more ways to bungee jump developed. The Highest bungee Jumping In The World Located in Southeast Asia, Macau offers the highest bungee jumping in the world. There, you can have the opportunity to throw yourself off of the Macau Tower, a height which is approximately 764 feet (233m). This is an experience which you will most likely never forget -- and it must be experienced first-hand in order to be fully appreciated. If you are seeking the very best in true thrills and excitement, the Macau Tower is surely the place to go for your bungee jumping! In addition to being the highest jump, this particular experience has the added factor of allowing the jumper to fall very close to the concrete tower itself during your descent downward. This factor has the dual purpose of both assessing your speed and creating an increased adrenalin flow. Your plummeting speed will reach approximately 200km/hr; and at the end of your ride on a fifty-meter cord, you will be thirty meters from the ground. There is probably nothing else that you will ever do in your entire lifetime that can ever compare to the adrenalin rush you will get from bungee jumping off the Macau Tower. Their word for this experience -- "extreme" -- is undoubtedly a very accurate description. The A.J. Hackett Macau Tower was opened to the public in December, 2006. Launched and overseen by A.J. Hackett, who first invented the sport of bungee jumping more than two decades ago, the Macau Tower bungee jump experience does contain a number of very important safety precautions. His group has developed a special cord system which ensures, among other things, the even distribution of weight during the jumping. Jumpers also wear a safety harness with dual attachment points for their protection. In addition, prospective jumpers must meet height, weight, and basic health requirements, as well as being properly informed in advance as to the potential risks of the bungee jumping. For the sake of their own safety, pregnant women, and children under thirteen years of age, are not allowed to participate in this activity. The prospective jumper is required to sign a waiver stating that he or she is aware of these risks before being allowed to jump. To commemorate your amazing experience, you will be provided with a membership card, photos, a DVD, and a special Jumpers Edition t-shirt. If you sign up for your bungee jumping experience with the A. J. Hackett Group, you will also receive a ten-percent discount at many of Macau's local restaurants, fifty-percent off your second and third jumps, and your fourth jump will be free. Membership will also entitle you to a twenty-percent discount at all of A. J. Hackett's worldwide adventure locations. If all of this interests you, you should go to the adventure capital of Southeast Asia for the most unforgettable bungee jumping experience of a lifetime. You can request more information or book your trip through the A.J. Hackett Group. After you arrive in Hong Kong, you will take a one-hour ferry ride to Macau -- and be prepared for an extreme experience! Bungee Jumping Clubs So you want to go bungee jumping, and you are trying to figure out where to get started. Or, perhaps you are a seasoned jump veteran, and you are looking for others to start a jumping group together. Either way, you are really looking for the same thing: a bungee club. Bungee jumping clubs have come into existence over the last few decades as a result of the prominence and massive expansion of the bungee jumping industry. A group called the Dangerous Sports Club could be considered to be the first bungee jumping club. This group, from Oxford and London, were active in a variety of extreme sports adventures from the late 1970s through the 1980s. The club is credited with the invention of the modern bungee jumping craze. Their first jump took place on April 1st, 1979. The club was very active during their heyday in the early 1980s. Easily the most famous member of the Dangerous Sports Club was Graham Chapman, of Monty Python fame. Since that time, bungee jumping clubs have grown in popularity as well as quantity. There are bungee jumping clubs on virtually every inhabited continent of the globe. The fact that this extreme sport has taken such strides in popularity is evident from the number of clubs and the amount of jumpers who make the plunge every year. There are two primary bungee jumping safety organizations that operate as certification entities today. One is the United States Bungee Association (USBA), the other is the British Elastic Sports Association (BERSA). These organizations would be a good starting place to find a bungee jumping club, because they keep track of who is certified by their respective organizations. This is good, because you can be assured that the club is operating with safety procedures strictly enforced. Some experienced bungee jumpers may want to start their own club. However, this is a big endeavor, and they should consider all of the steps necessary to start a club before they get started. Just a few of the things needed will be considered here. First, in order to start a bungee jumping club, you would want to write and document your 'business plan', so-to-speak. This would document your project and would provide something for you to give out to prospective investors and concerned government agencies. You will need to acquire financing in order to pay for equipment, insurance, experienced crew, jump location, etc. Once contracts are in place for the crew, location, etc., you will want to get any needed governmental permits. Once all the paperwork is in place, you can begin construction of your jump site. After testing with sandbags, and your crew, you will finally be ready to start promoting your bungee jumping club. As you can see, these are only an overview of the steps required. Even this short list presents a formidable task to starting a club. It is probably best to start by joining an existing bungee jumping club, and drawing from their experience while you grow your own experience. This would provide the springboard needed to launch your own bungee jumping club in the future. Where To Bungee Jump Bungee jumping has taken the extreme sports world by storm. Over the last few decades, millions of people have completed successful jumps. So now, it is your turn. You are getting ready to jump and you are excited. But where do you jump from? What are your options when it comes to the location? In real estate, it is always said that the most important thing is 'location, location, location'. Is this true about bungee jumping as well? Let's take a look at some of the options for where to bungee jump, and how the jumps are completed in these environments. This will help you to make an informed decision when you get ready to take the big dive. Probably the most common place to bungee jump from is the crane. In this scenario, a crane is used with a cage on the end. The cage is lowered to the ground, and the jumper is prepared, rigged up, and attached to the bungee cord. The bungee cord is then attached to the cage. The jumper is then raised up to the jump height using the crane. Often times the jump master will hold the coiled cords to prevent them from tangling up during the jump. Once the cage reaches the jump height, the jumper jumps from the cage, bouncing at the end of the jump. Upon completion of the jump, once the jumper is no longer bouncing, the cage is slowly lowered to the ground. The ground crew is prepared to catch the jumper as he is lowered and safely remove him from his harness. Once the jumper has cleared the platform, the bungee cords are recoiled and everything is inspected and prepared for the next jump participant. So where else can you bungee jump? Another prime location for a bungee jump is from a bridge. Many successful jumps have been done from a variety of bridge types as well. When jumping from a bridge, the jump team usually assembles a platform for the jumper to jump from. The jumper is then harnessed up, and attached to the bungee cords. The cords are then anchored to the bridge. Once everything is ready, the jumper jumps off the platform. A variation of this allows the jumper to jump from the rail of the bridge as well. The jumper will bounce around 2-4 times before coming to a stop. At this point the jump crew will usually lower down a secondary static line. When the jumper clips this line to their harness, it is then used to pull the jumper back onto the bridge. This is the safest recovery method used to get the jumper from the bottom jump position. Another method that is sometimes used is to pull the bungee cord up enough to un-hook it from the bridge, and then use the cord to lower the jumper to the ground. In addition to these tried and true places for bungee jumping, there is no end to the quest for where to bungee jump. In the progression of this modern extreme sport, bungee jumping is taking place from buildings, towers, cable cars, hot air balloons, and even cable cars. There is no end in sight to the locations that will be explored in the bungee jumping adventure. Bungee Jumping Accidents Bungee jumping is, by it's nature, a dangerous sport. There is no denying that fact. However, modern manufacturing methods and safety practices have made the sport much safer over the past decade. It is certainly safer than the land diving of the South Pacific natives. Unfortunately, even with all of these advances in the sport, bungee jumping accidents still occur. In this article we will examine what can happen as a result of bungee jumping. The most severe bungee jumping accidents can actually be fatal. Most of the fatalities that have occurred in bungee jumping occur as a result of head trauma. Miscalculation of the length of bungee cord necessary to complete the jump safely has resulted in several deaths since the sport became a public phenomenon in the late 1970s. One of the most infamous deaths from bungee jumping occurred during practice for the half-time show of Superbowl XXXI, in 1997. Laura Patterson, who was practicing with members of her professional team, died upon impact when she jumped from the top level of the Louisianna Superdome. The accident was blamed on the bungee cords being handled incorrectly. The half-time show was subsequently cancelled, and a tribute to Laura was performed instead. Other deaths have resulted from people actually coming loose from the ankle harness. This has led to the common practice of using a body harness as a back-up safety precaution. Bungee jumping enthusiasts will be quick to point out, however, that there are only a handful of deaths from among millions of jumps that have been performed over the last few decades. Even though this is true, there are many other types of bungee jumping accidents that can occur if strict safety guidelines are not followed. Rope burn, pinched fingers and bruises are among the most common injuries suffered from bungee jumping. While these may not be attributable to actual bungee jumping accidents, they can be considered an adverse side-effect by most people. More serious than sprains and bruises are the possibilities of other bungee jumping accidents, such as severe eye trauma, dislocation, back injury, and even broken bones. These are not highly publicized events, but they do occur nonetheless. In the case of the eye trauma, increased pressure in the eye an cause a blood vessel to burst near the retina. This results in blurred vision or loss of eyesight completely. Although it sounds horrific, this is only temporary, until the body repairs the damage done. Of more concern would be back injuries and broken bones. In the case of back injuries, a dislocation or strain on the spine can cause a lifetime of pain and suffering. That is something to take into account when weighing the risks of bungee jumping. Bungee jumping accidents do occur, but they can be minimized by following established safety procedures. It is up to you to ask the right questions. It is up to the commercial company or club to ensure they have the right equipment and trained operators. Bungee jumping can be fun, and does not have to involve serious injury if done correctly by trained operators and jumpers. bungee Jumping As Stunts While we may never know for certain which is actually stronger -- the media's influence on the public, or the public's influence on the media -- but there is no way to discount the fact that the influence in both directions is very strong indeed. The general population, especially the younger people, are greatly influenced by what they see on on the movie screen, and they wish to emulate their favorite stars. The actions which the celebrities take part in, American youth wants to take part in also. And bungee jumping is no exception! On the other hand, what is presented in the media often clearly mirrors the behaviors and the lifestyles of the American public. For better or for worse, a large part of American entertainment is based on mimicking their audiences. If it is popular amongst "regular folks," presenting it on the movie screen tends to make it even more popular. One of the most well-known recent movie stunts showed James Bond jumping over the edge of a dam in "GoldenEye." Bond's bungee jump stunt was for real, not merely a movie effect. bungee jumping has become an interesting stunt in modern movies, as evidenced by the growing number of bungee jumping companies which offer special training to those who plan to do similar stunts in films. On the Hollywood scene there have always been actors who specialized in movie stunts in general, but seeing more doing bungee jumping stunts shows how popular this sport has become. The James Bond character, stunt-doubled by Wayne Michaels, may have performed one of the most recently popular bungee jump stunts, but is far from being unique. Even thought it was voted as the best stunt ever filmed did not distract others from attempting the same feat; perhaps it even assisted others in wanting to meet or even outdo what Wayne Michaels did. Bungee America, which offers great bungee jumping experiences to all who wish to try the sport, is also Hollywood's number one bungee stunt company. Since 1996, they have assisted in the bungee jump stunts for no less than forty-five Hollywood films. The first, made in February, 1996, starred Arnold Schwarzenegger in his movie "Eraser." In this movie, which involved falling sixty-five feet and doing a back-flip, Schwarzenegger did not use a double, but performed the stunt himself. This is quite impressive, and surely a positive influence on the fans, because most stars do use doubles in their place for such dangerous stunts. It undoubtedly has prodded his already-large number of fans to have an even deeper respect for this actor. bungee jumping is clearly a sport which is here to stay, and its appeal in the media proves it. The more that Hollywood presents it as stunts in their films the more the general public will want to take part; and the wider the public interest and involvement in bungee jumping, the more commonplace it will continue to be on the movie screen -- for daily life mirrors the media, and the media mirrors daily life. Bungee Jumping Culture There is something about an individual that is willing to jump from a high place, attached to a rubber band. This modern extreme sport, known as bungee jumping, seems to have it's own culture attached to it. It's almost ethereal, hard to put your finger on it, but it is there. Perhaps it comes from the past, or is a morphing into a new spiritual experience, but the bungee jumping culture can be seen and felt. So what is the bungee jumping culture? Where did it come from? Where is it going? The origins of the sport itself gives us a clue as to where the bungee jumping culture came from. Originally a religious ritual used on the South Pacific island of Pentecost to appease mother earth, it was supposed to proved for a good yam crop. It was also a demarcation, a rite of passage, for young boys to become known as men. Since as long as anybody can tell, these natives have conducted this ritual every spring, literally for thousands of years. The prevailing culture of the original land divers was definitely a spiritual one. Re-discovered in the 1950s and promoted heavily in the modern world during the 1980s, bungee jumping has grown by leaps and bounds. The modern bungee jumping culture doesn't consist of primitive natives trying to appease the mother earth. However, there is a back-to-earth element to this extreme death defying outdoor sport. It provides a thrilling adrenaline rush that is next to nothing else on earth. Perhaps space travel could rival this effect, but I doubt it. The bungee jump goes beyond the limited religious and cultural conflicts of our modern day, and appeals to something more primitive, more basic. The modern bungee jumping culture is a multi-ethnic, multi-generational, and multi-socio-economic group, all looking for the thrill of their lives. So what does the modern bungee jumping culture look like? It defies logic. Both young and old alike flock to bungee jumping events. There is simply a mystique that permeates this sporting event like no other. Back to mother earth, defying death, and telling the tale -- all of these are the bragging rights of successful bungee jumpers. They all share in common this aspect of the sport -- survival. Jumpers face a primeval fear, the ultimate loss -- death, and overcoming that fear to complete a jump. There is a sense of accomplishment and victory that goes beyond mountain climbing and other extreme sports. Taking the back-to-nature theme to the extreme, there is a new movement within bungee jumping called nude bungee jumping. It typically appeals to the green back-to-earth movement, as well as the frugal bungee jumpers. Commercial bungee jumping outfitters usually provide a discount, or even a free jump, if someone decides to go the full monty. This type of jump is usually done with a partner, for a spiritual bonding that goes beyond the everyday realm. This is yet another evidence that the bungee jumping culture is evolving beyond normal boundaries, and we have yet to truly see what it will become. bungee Clubs Around The World If you are a newcomer to the sport of bungee jumping and wish to find others who share your likeminded interests, or if you're a seasoned jumper who considers this sport to be one of your main passions, you may be interested in connecting with bungee clubs and their members. As the popularity of this sport has become worldwide, so have the clubs which cater to bungee jumping enthusiasts! In the United States, there are currently twenty-five states which have their own listed bungee clubs. This is quite impressive for a sport which has only been in existence in its present form for the last two decades. Some of these states boast more than one club; California has the most, located in Sacramento, El Segundo, Alameda, and Los Gatos. Canada presently lists five, located in British Columbia, Alberta, Ottawa, and two in Ontario. If you are truly passionate about this sport, checking into these bungee jumping clubs is a great way to make your experiences even better. If you wish to do a bit of traveling to join in with bungee jumping clubs, you can proceed to Mexico, Costa Rica, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Guatemala, Colombia, Venezuela, or Ecuador. Whether your interest in bungee clubs is for the jumping itself or interacting with other members, these clubs in Central America and South America will give you both benefits as well as broadening your horizons in very different geographical locales. In the United Kingdom, many of the best bungee clubs are affiliated with the British Elastic Rope Sports Association in Oxford, England. Endorsement by this Association assures you that the clubs have met and maintain specific standards, including the Code of Safe Practice. In becoming involved with any of these clubs, you will know that your safety is their primary concern. It is important to note that bungee jumping clubs in the United Kingdom are not required to be affiliated with the Association, and only those who are must adhere to their standards. Therefore if you wish to become involved with bungee jumping clubs in the United Kingdom, it is a good idea to find out beforehand if the club you are interested in has been approved by the British Elastic Rope Sports Association. In addition to those located in the United Kingdom, twenty-four other countries in Europe list bungee jumping clubs, as well as fourteen clubs in other locations. If traveling will be a part of your bungee jumping experiences, becoming involved in the bungee jumping clubs in the areas you will visit will certainly add to your enjoyment. In selecting foreign destinations in which to engage in your hobby, you can go beyond the sport to the extra fun of taking part in a new culture, sampling its cuisine, learning a new language, and, above all, having the opportunity to get to know many other people who share your interest in bungee jumping. You may choose a club close to your own home, or you can make it an even more special treat by finding one to your liking on the opposite side of the globe! Five Bungee Jumping Questions There are five bungee jumping questions that you need to ask when you decide to go jumping. Here's what they are, and why they matter. # 1 -- How do I want to go bungee jumping? This question will help decide how high off the ground you will be when you do your bungee jump. Do you want to use a commercial crane outfit, or are you looking for something more in tune with nature? Perhaps jumping off of a bridge towards the earth and a running stream of water would be more appealing to your sense of adventure. # 2 -- What club or outfitter will I use? This question is of primary importance, as it relates directly to the safety of the experience you will have. Not all bungee jumping clubs or commercial outfitters are the same. Make sure that the jump team, especially the jump master are all certified. The club or company should participate in a certification program as well. Do your homework here, both with the company and with local governmental offices and consumer advocacy groups such as the Better Business Bureau. Be sure you are selecting a reputable group that abides by the best safety practices out there. # 3 -- What position will I jump in? There are a variety of positions available to most bungee jumpers. First timers will often want to do the swan dive, while more experienced jumpers may prefer a different method. Some outfitters offer what is called the water touchdown. Confident in their abilities to correctly calculate the exact length needed, they provide the opportunity to go into the water at the bottom of a bridge jump. This is best done in an area where the water is fairly deep. Obviously this is a more dangerous jump than the regular bungee jump position. Knowing how you will jump and what to expect will prepare you in advance for your jump (as much as possible). #4 -- How will the recovery be done? It is important to know how you will be retrieved once your jump is over. You don't want to be stuck at the end of the bungee cord, upside down, for a long period of time. Most outfitters will let down a secondary line that you will attach to your harness, allowing them to pull you back up. Some, however, prefer to allow slackening of the bungee cord in order to lower the jumper to the surface. This is, however, a more dangerous method. You should be aware in advance so you can be prepared after the jump. #5 -- How much is this going to cost me? While this shouldn't be a primary determining factor of if you are going through with it or not, you don't want to get ripped off. The average cost of a bungee jump is in the neighborhood of $100, give or take depending on your location. This can sound intimidating, but remember, this is a once in a lifetime experience (even though many participants return over and over to this type of event), and your decision to participate should not be based solely on the cost. These five bungee jumping questions will assist you in making the best decisions possible on your jump. Don't allow these things to make you timid, just remember, 'Carpe Diem, Sieze the Day!'. Naked Bungee Jumping There's a new trend in bungee jumping, but I wouldn't exactly say that it's taking the world by storm. So what is this new angle on the ancient sport of bungee jumping? How about naked bungee jumping. OK, so I know you think I'm crazy, but there hundreds, perhaps thousands out there who will swear by this experience. Let's take a few minutes to look at the possible attraction, as well as the detractors, of this bizarre variation on the sport. First, it is interesting to note that the natives who have performed the ritual that has become bungee jumping for thousands of years wear very little clothing. I'll admit, it must be a bit different jumping from a make-shift wooden tower using a jungle vine attached to your ankles. This is a far cry from modern bungee jumping. However, these native young men wore nothing more than a flimsy loin cloth on their plunge to please mother earth. So in some primitive, instinctual way, there must be a spiritual attraction of sorts in performing naked bungee jumping. Some people who choose to participate in this variation of the sport have admitted to being extreme naturalists, even nudists. Of course, there are those who complete nude bungee jumping who wouldn't qualify as nature lovers at all. A common theme that is seen at the special events held for such display is that of a couple performing a tandem jump. A tandem jump is simply a jump where two people go together, usually tethered together, facing each other. There is obviously some primitive expression of sexuality in this type of event. However, more modern couples are choosing to participate in naked bungee jumping to show their devotion to one another. Taking the plunge can now be applied to more than just marriage! Many couples who share their experience afterward say that there is a definite bonding that takes place. Sharing an adrenaline rush such as the death-defying act of naked bungee jumping is something that will tie them together forever in their eyes. Another reason many people choose to go 'full monty' on the ropes is because it is usually cheaper. Yep, you heard me right. Although the time investment and equipment used by the jump company is the same, the cost is less. Some companies even allow those brave souls who want to go naked bungee jumping to go free of charge. These types of promotional efforts appeal to those who are of a more frugal nature. Some companies that offer naked bungee jumping do so once a year, on a pre-planned date or weekend event. This helps make the event more palpable to the public. Imagine going to an amusement park and seeing people riding the rides naked! It would be a great shock, especially if you did not know that it was planned that way. By scheduling the special jumps for a specific date, the promoters of this type of event avoid that aspect of publicity. It's growing among the ardent fans of the sport, as well as the newcomers. It seems to have no defining characteristic except that those who perform it are lovers of adventure. So whether you believe in the spirituality of it all or not, naked bungee jumping is here to stay.
Bungee or Bungie Jumping You've seen it, but perhaps are still unaware of the controversy surrounding bungee jumping. No, I'm not talking about the obvious discussion surrounding the safety of this sport. What I want to present in this article is the origins of the word 'bungee'. Actually, there is some controversy as to whether it is bungee or bungie jumping. My word processor's spell check feature likes the 'bungee' version, but as we shall soon see, this may not actually be the historically correct spelling. While the sport of bungee jumping was brought to the forefront of the modern public's attention by a BBC documentary in the 1950s, the term bungee was in use prior to this time. The natives whose religious ceremony has evolved into this sport did not come up with this term, as some might suspect. Looking back into the dictionaries of the past and the etymology of the word, we can find this disclaimer: origin unknown. While this may be the official stance, let's take a closer look at the word, it's historical uses, and possible origins. The first documented use in Western culture of any variation of the word bungee appeared in a novel called 'Tall Ship' in 1915. The spelling of the word in this novel was actually 'bunje', and was used as a nick-name for a physical training instructor on the ship. It just so happens that the term also referred to Indian rubber, or rubber that was exported from India at the time. Perhaps the nickname was used as a reference to the stretching performed as part of the instructor's training regimen, as similar to the stretching of rubber from the rubber tree. The next variation occurs in 1934, in a journal called the 'N&Q'. The statement is made referencing the use of the term 'india-bungie' or 'bungie' in the school classrooms referring to soft rubber used as an eraser. Interestingly enough, the reference is to the word's usage some fifty years prior to the publication date, which would be back in the 1880s. Perhaps we are getting closer to the origin? Can we come to a conclusion yet as to whether it is bungee or bungie jumping? Let's look a bit closer at the idea that the word comes from an Indian rubber produced at the turn of the 20th century. In the country of India, Hindi was and still is the native language. If we look into the Hindi language, we can find some idea as to the origin of this strange word. In the early 1800s the term 'bungee' and a variation, 'bhangi' was used in a derogatory manner towards house servants. In fact, during this time, the term described a low caste, usually employed as sweepers. They were considered among the lowest servants in the home. Could it be possible that the name for this group was later given to a product that they began to produce? If these servants were put into the fields to harvest the sap of rubber trees, it would not be a far stretch to see their nickname associated with the product of their toil. Whatever the case may be, today we see two primary spellings. Whether you participate in bungee or bungie jumping today may have more to do with where you go for your jump. Those in the northern hemisphere seem to prefer the term 'bungee', while those in the southern hemisphere stick with the more traditional 'bungie'. The History of Bungee Jumping The history of bungee jumping goes back many hundreds, if not thousands of years. Coming from another culture in a land that time seems to have forgotten, we find an ancient ritual called 'naghol' or land diving. It is an intriguing story with some elements of mystery, religion, and adventure. Let's take a closer look at the history of bungee jumping. Examining the history of bungee jumping takes us to a small island in the South Pacific named Pentecost Island, one of 83 islands that make up the country of Vanuatu. Pentecost Island was discovered in 1768 by French explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville during his voyage to circumnavigate the globe. It was not named, however, until sighted by the infamous Captain Cook in 1774. The name came as a result of the day on which Cook spotted the island, which was the Christian holy day of Pentecost. During the history of bungee jumping, many Christian missionaries have attempted to change the culture of the inhabitants of Pentecost Island. However, even though most of the inhabitants of the island profess Christianity today, their ancient culture and rituals remain strong. Bungee jumping is one such ritual. The history of bungee jumping goes back to ancient times and beliefs about pleasing the gods in order to get good crops. The yam harvest is the principle event around which the naghol, the ancient predecessor of bungee jumping, takes place. The natives believed that if your jump was acceptable that the gods would grant you a good harvest. It is also a ceremony which marks the right of passage from a boy's youth to manhood. They believed that the males who jump (it was only males, by the way), should not have sex the evening before their jump, and should wear no 'good luck charms'. Either of these was said to produce a bad jump. On an island without a hospital of any kind, any injury can become life threatening. Indeed, the history of bungee jumping has some very strange roots. While examining the history of bungee jumping, it is intriguing to see how these ancient people practice this religious ceremony. Prior to the jump day, a wooden tower is built that is some seventy feet in height. Latched together with vines and no modern construction methods, it appears to be far from stable. To reduce the swaying of the tower from the wind, vines are used like guy wires. Groups of 20 or so men participate in the land diving ceremony. As the young men would jump, their mothers would toss an object from their childhood to the earth, symbolizing their transition from a child to a man. While the ancient history of bungee jumping is still shrouded in some mystery, we do know where the modern activity originated. It is a wonder that this practice remained isolated to the South Pacific after the discovery from the European explorers. Only in the 20th century has this ancient ritual been promoted to the world as a new sport. The history of bungee jumping will never be the same. Physics of Bungee Jumping While modern bungee jumping has become known and practiced worldwide, what is less understood is the physics behind bungee jumping. Interestingly enough, the extreme sport originated from spiritual rituals of South Pacific natives, who had no idea of the science behind the sport. Modern bungee jumping enthusiasts find much comfort in the idea that someone has worked through the math required to perform a safe jump. So who developed the physics of bungee jumping and how sure are the modern practitioners of the sport that it is relatively safe? Let's start by taking a look at the origins of the science behind the sport. Years before the discovery of the land diving natives on Pentecost Island, a British mathematician named Robert Hooke was discovering the physics of bungee jumping. He began working as an assistant to the famous scientist Robert Boyle in 1653. However, it wasn't until 1660 that he formulated and wrote down Hooke's Law of Elasticity. In laymen's terms, Hooke's law basically tells us how much tension a spring can endure, and the maximum length it will reach. Hooke's law can be used on any material that is considered linear-elastic, or stretching lengthwise. Oddly enough, rubber is usually considered non-linear, because variations of stress and temperature can have a significant impact on the elasticity of the rubber. Today, modern practitioners of the physics of bungee jumping don't have to be as well-versed as Hooke. Depending on the bungee cords used and their ratings, the science has been simplified quite a bit. The commercial proprietor who is offering 'bungee jumping' as an extreme sport still has to be on their toes. Cords that are manufactured to meet a well established United States military specification (mil spec) are perhaps the best to use. This is simply because of the rigorous testing that must go in to making sure they meet the mil spec. Most of these cords have a specific weight limit and elongation potential. Using these numbers, along with the length of the jump and the weight of the jumper, the calculations can be made. The length of rope needed, how many strands are needed for the weight, and how much beyond the normal length of the cord the jumper can expect to go. The physics of bungee jumping has changed some with advances in the material used in bungee cords. Some cords are also 'pre-streched' so there is less elasticity and bounce, and a more forceful shock and return from the bottom of the jump position. The problems with some jumpers using cords that were too long are the result of not understanding the physics of bungee jumping. Even though modern bungee cords are weight and elongation rated, some people still fail to take this into account when performing amateur jumps. This is why it is highly recommended that anyone who wants to learn bungee jumping should consult with a professional. This is not a sport that you can learn and practice at home. The physics of bungee jumping have been simplified by 20th century manufacturing standards, resulting in a much safer sport for everyone participating. The Risks Of Bungee Jumping Thusfar, there have been a half-dozen deaths and nearly as many critical injuries attributed to bungee jumping. As bungee jumping is a relatively new sport, this is a significant number, and should make clear for anyone considering bungee jumping that it is quite risky indeed. While how well the bunjy jumping equipment is maintained and overseen for its safety factors plays a large role in preventing deaths, there are a number of health risks associated with the sport itself. Deaths and critical injuries generally occur as a result of improperly maintained equipment or miscalculations of cord length. A death from massive cranial trauma occurred in 1997, for example, from improperly handled cords. The victim was a female member of a professional bungee jumping team. However, even with the most stringent safety precautions, it is not possible to eliminate risks of injury, especially those which are actually associated with the sport of bungee jumping. One of the most significant risks particular to women is that of uterine prolapse. It is said that the speed and pressure of the bungee jumping can cause the uterus to not only tip but, in some cases, slide out of its normal location and even out of the body itself. This, naturally, is very dangerous and potentially life-threatening. Eye trauma is another very serious health risk from bungee jumping. One of the most dangerous types of eye trauma associated with this sport is retinal hemorrhage; this presents a very real possibility of losing one's eyesight. bungee jumping also presents the possibility of orbital emphysema, which can also result in permanent loss of vision. On a slightly-lesser scale, but still noteworthy, are basic injuries to the eyes and their surrounding tissues. Other health risks vary in their severity. While such injuries as bruises and rope burn may be thought to be rather minor, dislocations and back injuries can range from moderate to disabling. One must decide if all of these potential risks are worth engaging in the sport of bungee jumping, especially since there is no sure way of calculating the individual's chance of these results occurring. Even being in good general health beforehand is not a guarantee that the act of bungee jumping will not lead to any or all of these results. If you have assessed your own personal health concerns and have decided to try bungee jumping anyway, it is essential that you do your bungee jumping on equipment which is frequently checked for and maintained for the optimum degree of safety. Next, you should ensure that those who handle the equipment before and during bungee jumping are adequately trained to do so properly. In addition, you should consider the factor that some bungee jumping groups allow newcomers to the sport to bungee jump alone, while others take the extra safety precaution of having a newcomer be accompanied by a trained jumper. As with any adventurous sport, bungee jumping comes with many risks. It is impossible to eliminate all of these risks, regardless of how professional those in charge may be or how cautious the jumper may be. If you plan to become involved with bungee jumping, it is essential that you become aware of these risks. Bungee Jumping In America Although there are many bungee jumping sites in countries all over the globe, many Americans who have developed an interest in this sport would prefer locations that are closer to home. Fortunately, there are plenty of places in the United States where prospective bungee jumpers can begin trying out this fascinating new hobby. Whether you'd like a plan a traveling vacation centered around bungee jumping, or if you want a day of excitement nearer to where you live, it is not difficult to find a bungee jumping location which suits your needs. You may just decide to make it a part of your lifestyle. Some of the prime bungee jumping sites in the United States can be found in California. Due to its year-round mild climate, outdoor sports in general are very popular in this state, and bungee jumping is no exception. Bungee America, which is located in Los Angeles, is one of the most well-known in Southern California. Since it first opened in 1989, Bungee America is the oldest bungee jumping company in the country. This fact, coupled with their perfect safety record, may help you in deciding that Bungee America would certainly be a good choice for your bungee jumping trip. Pioneer, California, is home to Bungee Experience, which has been an operating business since 1989. It was founded by Glenn Bruno, one of America's first bungee jumpers. They usually schedule bungee jumping once per month between April and September at various Northern California bridges which are no lower than one hundred forty feet. They also offer bungee jumping excursions to higher bridges around the United States. In Washington state you can find the Pacific North West Bridge surrounded by the area's breathtaking scenic beauty. Bungee.Com provides for this location's bungee jumping; if you elect to become a member of their Dangerous Sports Club you will be entitled to special members' discounts for your future trips. Located in Wisconsin, the Extreme World's sports park has bungee jumping as its main attraction. The Extreme World Bungee Jump tower, at a height of one hundred thirty feet, is currently the only bungee jumping provider in the midwest that allows this sport to be done without the use of traditional ankle harnesses. Your Extreme World bungee jumping experience will have you plummeting toward the ground at a speed that accelerates to forty mph. After your fall has been successfully completed, you will be given the opportunity to purchase a videotape of your experience. Over the Edge, Inc., in Boise, Idaho, offers bungee jumping for individuals and groups. They have bridge sites in various parts of Idaho, or they will take you on an excursion to any of their nineteen other bungee jump bridges in the western United States. One favorite is the Grand Canyon Jump, located at the northern tip of the Grand Canyon. Another popular bungee jumping experience offered by Over the Edge, Inc., is the one hundred sixty foot jump at Yellowstone National Park. Wherever you are in the United States, and whichever part of America you would like to be the destination for your bungee jumping, there are plenty of options available. Do You Want To Learn bungee Jumping? Perhaps you have decided to take up the sport of bungee jumping, but would prefer some professional training before taking the plunge. Or perhaps you have thought a lot about bungee jumping, but still have not reached a conclusion as to whether you want to try it or not. If you find yourself in either of these categories, you can benefit from taking some bungee jumping classes which are designed to teach you everything you need to know and have a bit of hands-on experience under the guidance of skilled instructors. This way, you can have the confidence of knowing you have learned the basic skills needed for bungee jumping before you take your first death-defying challenge. As there are already a number of classes in various locations for bungee jumping staff members, it shouldn't be long before suitable classes are also open to the general public to assist them in gaining the important knowledge and skills needed for this sport. You can decide if this is something you would like to consider as an option; if so, check to see when classes like this are available in your area. Another possibility for learning all about the sport of bungee jumping is to begin as a spectator. While this may also help you decide whether or not you are personally suited for bungee jumping, you will have the chance to view this amazing activity as close as you can be without actually participating. With this goal in mind, you can watch either your friends doing their own novice bungee jumps, or you can see perfection in motion by viewing trained professionals. In addition to watching bungee jumping first-hand, you can also utilize a video camera so that you can focus on all the details of the jumps later on. While you can probably gain the helpful cooperation from most of the companies that provide bungee jumping by simply requesting the chance to begin your initiation into this sport as a spectator, there are some of the companies which already present it as an option and consider spectators to be a basic part of their customers' bungee jumping experiences. One that lists this as a trip option in itself calls it the "Auckland Ultimate bungee Jump Spectator" part of their Adventure Tour. Offered by New Zealand on the Web, it includes a guided bridge walk where you can watch the action from a safe point. Not only will this give you the chance to take in the excitement up-close, you will be able to learn the basics from those who are actually participating. Taking still-pictures or making a video of the action will allow you to view it at a later date when you can pay close attention to the details. Whether you choose the method of "watch and learn" or seek training from skilled professionals, you will be at an advantage when you finally decide to take your first solo jump. The more you know beforehand, the more you will want to take part in bungee jumping. Modern Bungee Jumping Modern bungee jumping started with a jump from a suspension bridge in Bristol, England, on April 1, 1979. Obviously, it was no April fool's joke. From a height of 250 ft., four friends from the 'Dangerous Sports Club' leapt into the history books by taking the historic plunge. They were promptly arrested by the authorities shortly after completion of their activities. However, this failed to dampen their spirits much. They moved their jumping activities to the United States, where the jumped from the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco, California. They also managed to secure sponsorship from the American television show 'That's Incredible' for their jump from the Royal Gorge bridge in Colorado. Their perseverance helped bring modern bungee jumping to the spotlight of the media, and the masses. Bungee jumping takes place around the world today, from Australia to the United States, to many countries in Europe. It is well respected as a dangerous and extreme sport. Despite it's obvious dangerous aspect, millions of people have successfully completed jumps since the onset of modern bungee jumping. Indeed, tens of thousands of bungee jumpers take the plunge each year, in an ever-increasing variety of ways and places. Many commercial endeavors have sprung up because of the rise in popularity of bungee jumping in the modern sports world. One of the most notable and respected outfits is the A. J. Hackett Bungee Company in New Zealand. A. J. Hackett founded the company in the late 1980s, after popularizing the sport with his own jumps. Indeed, he contributed to the modern bungee jumping by developing a new type of bungee cord. He personally demonstrated his new super elastic bungee cord when he jumped from the Eiffel Tower in 1987. His company has done a great service to the sport by helping to develop modern means and methods that provide a safer form of bungee jumping. Modern bungee jumping has even crept into some aspects of mainstream western culture. For example, there have been a few major movies that have featured a bungee jump in their plot. One of the most well-known of these movies would be the James Bond spy-thriller, 'GoldenEye', from 1995. In this particular film, Bond is shown performing a bungee jump from what is supposed to be a dam in Russia. While the jump was actually performed, and was not computer or artist generated animation, the actual location of the jump was incorrect. The filming actually took place at the Versazca Dam in Switzerland. Modern bungee jumping has even become a sport that in which the participants are striving to outdo one another. The Guinness Book of World Records has become involved, and has recorded what they have officially deemed as the 'highest commercial bungee jump'. This jump takes place from the Bloukrans River bridge in South Africa. At over 700 feet above the floor of the valley, it is an astounding feat indeed. While other jumps have taken place from higher locations, this particular locale is considered the highest because it is purely a bungee jump. There are no additional cords or secondary safety cables... just the good ol' bungee cord. Like it or not, it looks like modern bungee jumping is here to stay. What Type Of Bungee Jumping Trip Would You Like? If you would like to try the sport of bungee jumping, you can select from a number of trip packages that are sure to give you the experience of a lifetime. You may have a preference in destinations and other available activities; you can find a bungee jumping trip which will suit your own personal tastes and interests. If you are one of the most extreme thrill-seekers, you may like the idea of bungee jumping to the top of an active volcano. Located in Pucon, Chile, you can bungee jump from a helicopter to within seven hundred feet from the molten lava. You will, of course, be accompanied in the helicopter by both a trained bungee jumping professional and a photographer. To add to the excitement, this trip includes traveling thirty-five miles to the volcano at high speed and high altitude while on the outside of the helicopter. This would certainly be an unforgettable initiation into the sport of bungee jumping. Perhaps your preference leans more toward a great bungee jumping experience without the death-defying risks, if so, you might like to try the sport in California's Angeles National Forest. In thirteen years of business, Bungee America's jumpers have not had any injuries, and has an excellent safety record. This bungee jumping is done from a ten-stories-high bridge. You will be able to do front-flips, back-flips, back dive, front dive, or the elevator drop; and you can choose between one and five jumps. Located in Northern California, Icarus Bungee also has a perfect safety record. The bridges which they use for bungee jumping are all a minimum of one hundred twenty feet in height, and some are considerably higher. All of the bridges they use for bungee jumping are in beautiful locations, which is a wonderful addition to the enjoyment of the bungee jumping trip. You can also find some great bungee jumping spots in Canada. One of these is nestled amongst the breathtaking scenic beauty of Vancouver Island. WildPlay at the bungee Zone offers the very best of the basics. If you're looking for a bungee jumping trip with a no-frills emphasis on the sport at reasonable prices, WildPlay at the bungee Zone could be the trip you are looking for. But do not confuse "no-frills" with boring; for you will certainly have all of the excitement bungee jumping can afford, with the details focused on the sport itself. Not fancy, just great, would be the best way to describe it! If you select Vancouver Island for your bungee jumping trip, you can do single jumps or tandem jumps with a friend. If you are especially adventurous, WildPlay at the bungee Zone has an annual gathering of jumpers where clothing is optional. bungee jumping in Mexico is considerably less expensive, but you will not need to sacrifice any of the excitement. There are bungee jumping companies in Mazatlan, Monterrey, Guadalajara, and Puerto Vallarta, all of which provide the much sought-after thrills of this sport. Whatever type of bungee jumping trip you would like, it is available for you! Who Is Best Suited For bungee Jumping? As with all sports, there are some people who are more suited to bungee jumping than others. Those who are naturally inclined toward seeking the most extremes of thrills and excitement are those who will most likely be drawn to bungee jumping. It is certainly not a sport for the timid, the nervous, the faint-hearted! One of the most basic components of this sport is the extreme nature of it -- the amazing rush of adrenalin you will receive from plummeting downward at high speeds, your life and safety guarded only by elastic bungee cords and, in some cases, a body harness. It is easy to see why there is virtually no other sport which can compare to the experience of bungee jumping. Given the daredevil, death-defying aspect of this sport, it should not be surprising that there are more men than women who go for bungee jumping. It is also not surprising that younger people choose this sport much more frequently than older people, as older people are generally less inclined to engage in activities which present unnecessary risks. Some studies have also shown that most women are not impressed with men who base their "macho" image on activities such as bungee jumping, and even consider it to be reckless behavior. For the women who do have an interest in bungee jumping, however, there is a very clear emphasis on participating in this sport rather than being a spectator. Many people place bungee jumping in the category of things they would love to try, but lack the courage. Others simply consider the risks to be too great. Obviously those who have preexisting health conditions which would make bungee jumping more risky for them would be wise to steer clear of this sport. Children who are too young to be fully aware of the risks involved should also not participate in bungee jumping. Pregnant women should definitely avoid bungee jumping. You can safely assume that bungee jumping companies which advertise that this sport is for anyone and everyone are not demonstrating adequate responsibility for the lives and health of their prospective customers. In addition to these obvious factors, to be basically average in height and weight is also important, as these factors contribute to the safety of the jumping itself, as well as the general body-type size that the bungee jumping equipment has been designed for. If both your health and temperament are suited to this sport, and you have decided that it is something you definitely wish to try, it is essential to select a bungee jumping company that is both reputable and responsible. For all prospective bungee jumpers, but especially beginners, having the knowledge beforehand that the equipment is correctly designed, maintained on a regular basis, and handled properly during its use, will contribute to both your safety and your peace of mind. If you meet these basic requirements, and have assessed the potential risks as being worth taking for the experience, you may be one of those who is well suited for the sport of bungee jumping! The Sport Of bungee Jumping Three decades before bungee jumping began to come into the public eye as a new sport, the well-known broadcaster Sir David Attenborough encountered people on the Pentecost Island who demonstrated their courage by tying vines around their ankles and diving from tall platforms. Shortly after, Chris Baker of England devised an elastic rope for attempting a similar feat. In 1979, members of the Oxford England's Dangerous Sports Club jumped from the 250-foot Clifton Suspension Bridge, marking the first attempts at bungee jumping as it is known today. bungee jumping was slowly but surely gaining the public's interest as a potential sport. In 1986, A. J. Hackett of New Zealand did his own first jump. To promote widespread interest, he bungee jumped from numerous structures, including the Eiffel Tower in France, going on to start up one of the world's largest bungee jumping companies. The A. J. Hackett bungee company has expanded to locations in Macau, Mexico, Indonesia, Germany, the United States, Australia, and France, in addition to his original New Zealand location. Not only was A. J. Hackett successful in spreading the word about bungee jumping, in creating his company he began to make this new sport much more widely accessible to those who wished to try it. While the Macau location boasts the highest commercial bungee jumping in the world, all of the other branches provide a nearly-equal degree of excitement for all who elect to participate in this sport. The basic bungee jumping equipment consists of latex strands which are made into shock cords. Some companies and customers prefer to use plain ankle attachments, but in the interest of the jumpers' safety body harnesses are often used also. Although sites vary in their means of retrieval, the most common method is with the use of a mobile crane which can quickly and accurately lower the jumper to the ground. The variations of retrieval methods generally depend on the types of jumping platforms that are used. In addition to the basic form of bungee jumping, there are some variations to this sport. In a Decelerator Descent, the jumper is able to slow down to a safer and more comfortable landing speed; the Macau Tower site provides for this style of bungee jumping, and is the world's highest facility for this style. The Catapult version is actually bungee jumping in reverse, as the jumper begins on the ground and, with the aid of a crane, shoots up into the air. The Twin Tower variation is similar, but the jumper uses two cords. The two other most popular variations are quite different from the usual type of bungee jumping. In bungee Running, the person races along a track to see how far he can go before he is pulled back by the bungee cord. On a much more tame scale than regular bungee jumping, the person wears bungee cords while using a trampoline, thus giving him the ability to jump much higher than with normal trampoline jumps. The popularity of bungee jumping has been increasing. Whichever form of this sport you develop an interest in, you will be able to find exactly the one you're looking for. Bungee Jumping Equiqment Bungee jumping equipment comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. In fact, each piece of the equipment used in bungee jumping can have quite a few variations. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the equipment used in bungee jumping before you participate in a jump. This way you will know what to look for and what type of setup you would like best. While there are many different types of platforms and retrieval equipment, for the purpose of this article, we will look at two things that will affect your jump the most -- the bungee cord, and the harness. When talking about bungee jumping equipment, the bungee cord is one of the most important items. There are several variations on the type of cord that is used in bungee jumping today. There are braided cords, unbraided cords, pre-stretched and un-stretched, natural rubber, mil spec, and the Euro cord. These are the major variations in the bungee cord used in today's bungee jumping sports events. Let's take a minute to look at the characteristics of each one of these cords, and the impact that it has on the end user: the bungee jumper. First, there is the military specification cord (or mil spec), which is manufactured to meet the requirements of the U. S. military. Of course, the military uses it to tie down equipment, not jump from bridges and other tall objects! However, because of the rigorous and standardized testing of the mil spec, these cords work well for bungee jumping. When using mil spec cords in bungee jumping, they are usually grouped together to form a set, as one cord can typically hold around 200 pounds of weight. Each cord has a protective sheath on it to prevent dirt and foreign objects from abrading the cords. The downside to this is that it is not possible to inspect the ends of the cords for fraying and / or signs of failure. Some bungee cords are pre-stretched. This prevents the cord from stretching as much during the actual jump, which provides more of a 'jerking' action and a shock as the jumper reaches the end of the cord length. These are used mostly in the northern hemisphere. In the southern hemisphere the commercial proponents of bungee jumping tend to use a natural rubber, un-stretched and unbraided cord. This provides for a lot more 'bounce' and a more smooth experience at the bottom of the jump. While these natural cords do not last as long as the mil spec cords, they do provide a much more comfortable jump for the average user. The next piece of bungee jumping equipment that you should inquire about is known as the harness. There are two main types of harnesses -- the leg harness and the body harness. The leg harness usually consists of a towel wrapped around the ankles with webbing tied around this in a special knot. The towel provides padding to help prevent injury to the ankles. The webbing is then attached to the bungee cord. The body harness is very similar to a climber's harness, and in fact, is many times the same thing. The most important aspect of the harness is how it attaches -- if it is secure -- to the bungee. Some accidental deaths have occurred when the bungee cord was attached using climbing carabineers instead of specialized equipment. It can definitely be said that bungee jumping equipment has come a long way since the vines on Pentecost Island! Bungee Jumping Safety Bungee jumping safety should be at the top of anyone's priority list if they plan to engage in the extreme sport of bungee jumping. It's not every day that someone jumps off of an object 100 or more feet in the air, attached only by a large rubber rope. There are many, many things that can go very, very wrong in bungee jumping. Bungee jumping safety is the art and practice of making the sport as safe as possible. This is especially true with commercial ventures that are open to the public. Such places may serve thousands of patrons every year. One fatality can be enough to put them out of business for good. They take bungee jumping safety very seriously... as well they should. The first thing you should know about bungee jumping safety is that each organization or group that conducts bungee jumping is referred to as a 'club'. It is important that you find out if the club you are jumping with is certified through some safety governing body. In most countries, there is a government safety organization that regulates public safety standards in various environments. In the United States, for example, we have OSHA, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, who oversees all workplace safety issues. In Great Britain, there is the Heath & Safety Executive (HSE), whose functions are very similar. However, there is an organization devoted strictly to the safety of bungee jumpers everywhere. The organiztion is known as BERSA, the British Elastic Rope Sports Association. BERSA has put together a code of practice in conjunction with the HSE, as a standard for safe operations when conducting bungee jumps. While member clubs and companies sign up voluntarily to follow the guidelines, there is no legal requirement for those who decide not to. Another aspect of bungee jumping safety is the actual equipment used in bungee jumping. While there is a variety of methods and equipment that can be used, regular inspection is important. It is highly recommended that each and every piece of equipment be triple checked after every single jump. After all, if one piece of equipment fails, it can cost someone their life. Most commercial operators do just that. Attachments at the platform are checked. The bungee cord itself is checked for any damage. Each jump is logged, as each type of cord has a known life expectancy. The weight of each jumper is checked, and usually written on one hand of the jumper, so it can be double-checked as well. Every detail and element of physics must be correct before a person jumps off of the platform. Once you jump, there's no coming back -- there can be no mistakes. There are a number of injuries that can be sustained during a bungee jump. From minor bruising, to broken bones, to death, all of them can be prevented with proper bungee jumping safety. As in any extreme sport or occupation where there is no second chance, safety should always be the number one priority. Bungee jumping is no different.
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