This Week in History: June 1987 AJ Hackett Bungy Jumps from the Eiffel Tower in Paris

Bungy jumping is a take from a sport of the Pentecost Islanders of Vanuatu, who dive from high wooden platforms with vines tied to their ankles..

0
65

26 June 1987: Bungy Jumping inventor AJ Hackett jumps off the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Bungy jumping was almost unknown outside New Zealand until 1987 when its inventor, A. J. Hackett, made this illegal jump from the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Hackett’s invention was a modern version of a sport practised by the Pentecost Islanders of Vanuatu, who dive from high wooden platforms with vines tied to their ankles.

Getty Images

The speed skier and bungy pioneer planned the 110-m leap meticulously. His dozen-strong team hid on the tower overnight and Hackett jumped at dawn. He described it as ‘one small step for a man, a bloody great leap for the adventure tourism industry.’

Hackett’s friend Chris Sigglekow had made the first bungy jump in New Zealand in January 1980, from Marlborough’s Pelorus Bridge. The idea of jumping from a height with a sturdy elasticised band attached to the ankles had come from the vine jumpers of Pentecost Island, Vanuatu, via Oxford University students.

Hackett made his first jump in November 1986, refined his equipment and six months later was ready to go public. On a quiet news day, the Eiffel Tower jump was televised around the world.

Dont miss out on Olympic action! Sign up for Digicel TV today.

In November 1988, A.J. Hackett opened the world’s first commercial bungy operation at the Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge, near Queenstown.

The company has opened sites around New Zealand and across the globe.

Watch the video of AJ Hackett’s 1987 jump here.

Samoa is the Home of Taula and Taula Matais are huge fans of the Chiefs. Enjoy responsibly.