This ancient ritual inspired the Oxford University Dangerous Sports Club in 1970s. AJ Hackett, along with a few mates, saw a video of this group in action and, in true Kiwi fashion, his imagination took over.
He and Henry van Asch started developing bungy cords with a bit of help from Auckland University Scientists (guess they weren’t too busy at the time). They knew people would be just as pumped as they were to take a leap of faith, push the limits and live without fear.
After some extensive testing, they needed a radical way to demonstrate their faith in the bungy ropes. What they did would make headlines around the world. In June 1987 they snuck up the Eiffel Tower at night.
The next morning, AJ jumped from the iconic building. He was immediately arrested but released not long after, with a round of handshakes and très biens from the Parisian police officers as a parting gift.
Bungy took off. The world’s first commercial bungy operation opened at the Kawarau Bridge in November 1988. People couldn’t wait to try it, paying $75 to jump.
Visitors would soon flock in from around the world to take part, in what would eventually be recognised at the birth of adventure tourism in New Zealand.