Bungee jumping has been providing the ultimate rush to thousands upon thousands of people over the decades. It is not for everyone, but those who have experienced the thrill form a certain fraternity. The culture surrounding this fraternity of daredevils is one that is difficult to attach any one tag to.
Bungee jumping has exploded in popularity across the world in the last few decades, but its history can be traced much further back. The first group to partake in the sport of bungee jumping was found on the island of Pentecost in the South Pacific. The natives of this island did not bungee jump for sport of thrill, nor did they use pre-stretched or un-stretched cords for their jumps. In fact, they began bungee jumping before it was even know to the world as bungee jumping.
The Pentecost natives originally used vines attaches to points high above the island to freefall toward the earth until the vines reached their end, leaving them suspended just above the ground after a few bounces. Although a thrill was surely associated with it, the Pentecost natives used this bungee jumping as a way to both provide a good crop of yams, as well as a way to usher boys into manhood through this death-defying action. For thousands of years, this bungee jumping has served as a sort of spiritual feat performed by the island’s natives each and every spring.
Today, those who share in the thrill associated with bungee jumping come from every corner of the globe. One can find a bungee jumping club in every inhabited continent. While some in these clubs bungee jump as a way of defying death to truly feel alive, others may jump as a way to feel free and gain a sense of returning to nature. This is where the bungee jumpers of the past meet with the jumpers of today; on the spiritual plane that bungee jumping offers some.
Unlike popular public view, those who are part of the bungee jumping culture are not always those extreme members of generation X. People of every age and background have taken to experience what bungee jumping has to offer. It gives them a sense of mortality, as well as a way to bring them to the edge of that without crossing over. Some say it is then that they truly feel like they are alive.
Bungee jumping attracts a motley crew of enthusiasts and interested parties. Although it is difficult to fit them under one specific umbrella, one thing is for certain; those who bungee jump share the same ice water in the veins and nerves of steel, no matter their reasons for jumping.
Source: “Bungee Jumping: For Fun and Profit” by Nancy Frase