The idea of Bungy Jumping

The idea of what we know nowadays as jump with an elastic rope - bungy jumping - has begun in the island of Pentecost one of the eighty-three islands of the Vanuatu complex in the south west part of Pacific Ocean. According to an ancient myth a woman, before hundreds or even thousands of years, was forced to wrap a tendril round her ankles and jump from a tree down in to a gulf trying to escape her malicious husband! The villagers were surprised to see this action and since then have tried to imitate her, either to prove their bravery or avoid similar situations!

Another version of the bungy roots

There is another version of the story about the "forefather" of bungy jumping, which is probably the true one since it takes place every year in April. When they reach the age of 16, the natives of the island of Pentecost have to go through a ritual of passage known as Nagol. Those who are successful can take part in tribe's administration. So, wooden scaffolds approximately 20m high are built. When the jumpers are on the top they wrap tendrils around their ankles and jump bringing the hands over the face in order to protect themselves, if this is possible from their inevitable ground crash. Many finish this test with serious accidents and some even lose their life, while those who survive and are still in "one piece" become the future leaders of the tribe. This custom is still in practice, and has been the subject of a TV documentary.

Bungy Evolution

An ingenious man from New Zealand took this idea and created what we know today as bungy by replacing the tendrils with elastic rope from natural latex leaving out the "ground crash" part of the test something that wouldn’t be very appealing. During the recent years bungy has evolved to a point of becoming one of the safest and widespread extreme sports in the world. Nowadays, bungy techniques and methods are based on mathematical calculations and safety standards that are certified by official international organizations.