Everything you ever wanted to know about bungy jumping but were too afraid to ask. Ask Me Anything.

Glenn Murray-Prior
Aug 31, 2018

Since 1989 I've helped over 50,000 people overcome their fears and throw themselves from high places with just a bungee cord attached.

Setting-up jump sites, making bungee cords, training new staff and bungy jumping all kinds of people day and night; you end up with a few fun stories.

Now I'm ready to talk.

So go ahead ask me anything about bungee.

www.actionculture.co.uk/about/

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What is the best and toughest place for bungee jumping in the world?
Sep 2, 3:44AM EDT0

I love 'water touches', that's when you can touch the water below the bungy jump at the bottom of your first stretch. These are only easily possible with a jump height below 70M. Higher than that and you need to be careful to get the set exactly right or there's a risk of hitting the water too hard. 

So, my favourite jumps are around 40 to 60 M high, over nice big pools, lakes or rivers with plenty of water that you can jump into!

Sep 4, 4:17AM EDT0
Do you also offer other adventure activities besides Bunge jumping? If so, what are those and what type of expertise do you hold in running those services?
Sep 1, 1:27PM EDT0

Yes, I founded ACTION CULTURE which is an adventure travel and active travel booking site.

With my experience in adventure activities and tour operators, I'm ready to help as many people as I can, find true adventure. I aim for ACTION CULTURE to be the world's best adventure travel booking site by ensuring we offer only the best adventure holidays, expeditions and courses. And by providing personal service free of charge to make sure that people can find the right adventure for them.

Find your next adventure here: https://www.actionculture.co.uk/

Sep 4, 4:10AM EDT0
Which one is more fun-bungee jumping or sky diving?
Sep 1, 6:38AM EDT0

That's one for personal opinion, like comparing sushi with fish and chips. I love them both.

But they are very different experiences. Sky diving is extraordinary because of the beauty of being up so high, it's so scenic. But at that height you don't get a ground-rush. In fact without the wind in your face and the noise of the air rushing by, you wouldn't realize the speed at which you're falling.

That gets flipped completely when bungy jumping. It is exactly the ground-rush that you get when bungy jumping. You see the ground coming up to you FAST and that is a very exciting experience, a rush.

So in summary, sky diving is a very scenic beautiful experience with adrenaline. Bungy jumping is also usually scenic but has a more intense moment when you jump and get an immediate rush!

I suggest you try them both.

Last edited @ Sep 1, 10:39AM EDT.
Sep 1, 10:39AM EDT0
You’ve done some pretty adventurous things on your travels. What’s the scariest thing you’ve done on vacation and you suggest travelers try?
Aug 31, 7:25AM EDT0

Everybody will have different fears based on their experiences.

For me, I've probably faced my biggest fears sufing in what I consider to be big waves. I've surfed for years but have a healthy respect for the power of the ocean, having been pumbled by waves and caught in strong rips and channels many times.

However, I definitely recommend people try surfing, it's one of the most naturaly rewarding experiences. 

But again, fear is a natural reaction to the unknown or the known risks. People who hate confined spaces, will probably feel more nervous scuba diving for the first time. People afraid of hieghts will feel nervous rock climbing. 

When the opportunity is right (good conditions, trusted partners) we should not let these fears stop us from trying these new experiences.

I founded ACTION CULTURE our active travel booking site to help people find new adventures by ensuring we have an active or adventure tour that matched their experience or lack of experience. So, we have introductory courses, like introductory climbing courses or learn to surf tour packages as well as mountain climbing expeditions and surf trips for more experienced surfers.

The goal of ACTION CULTURE is to always provide the next challenge, your next adventure.

So, in some ways I'm encouraging people to try them all!

Last edited @ Sep 1, 5:22AM EDT.
Aug 31, 7:59AM EDT0
What’s your favorite part of connecting with other travellers? Have they ever given you any unique travelling tips that you’ve used?
Aug 31, 1:58AM EDT0

My favourite part is always the positive energy. The thank you hugs after somebody has done a jump can be epic. You can literally feel the energy pass through you like electricity.

It is not uncommon to end up in a bar with jumpers at the end of the day. It's also likely that you will become great friends with some and stay in touch.

Some people have come back to jump with us hundreds of times! They become like part of the crew.

It's amazing the variety of people you can meet every day. The fun part is that fear is a great equalizer. I've stood next to nervous mothers, back-packers as well as CEOs, rock stars and billionaires. They all experience it and react to it in the same ways.

The fun part is that if you are always talking, always taking an interest in people, you will always be rewarded with wisdom, tips and insights.

For me, it was always people talking about their home and giving you tips for when you get to visit their country or town. Many will extend personal invites!

Aug 31, 4:05AM EDT0
What are the minimum and maximum age and weight limits for the bungee jumping?
Aug 31, 12:06AM EDT0

Minimum and maximum ages are often set according to local regullations. But I've seen jumpers as young as 6 years old and jumpers as old as 96 years old.

Weight is a little different, this is more operational. So minimum weights are often around 45kg as this will be the weight needed to stretch the thinest bungy cord enough to ensure the jump is comfortable (at least 2.5 x the cord length).

Maximum weight is easier manage because it's often possible to add another bungy cord. In this way we can jump two people together, tandem. I once jumped 6 friends together at once, their combined weight was over 300kg. Sooo much fun.

Last edited @ Aug 31, 3:57AM EDT.
Aug 31, 3:55AM EDT0

Oh my... Bungee jump! My sister did it once in Bali and it scared me to death! So what do you advice to overcome one's fear of jumping in high places? 

Aug 30, 11:00PM EDT0

Positivity is key. 

That's why bungy sites are best measured by their atmosphere. The people, the setting, the crew.

Good bungy jump sites usually have natural beauty around.

Music is always great to have too.

It's all about flipping that energy, turning fear into elation.

So, the key is to:

  • Keep the energy positive
  • Don't wait for it to feel OK, it never will, you need to jump scared
  • Listen to the jump crew, do what they say
  • Use the count down, when the jump master gets to 1, you jump

And remember, the more afraid you are the more personal reward you'll feel after the jump. It really is the most adrenaline you can get without anything bad happenning.

Aug 31, 3:48AM EDT0
Is there a limit to a bungy height? And what is the highest jump you have done?
Aug 30, 3:15PM EDT0

The only limits for height are logistical and physics related. For example if you want to jump from an extreme height, let's say from thousands of meters high, you could. But if you want the freefall to be extremely long, you will need a huge bungy cord. If it's really, really long, then it will also be heavy.

So, follow me here; we now need to consider the weight of the jumper, maybe 70kgs plus the weight of the bungy cord, maybe 100's of kgs for an epic height jump. But the weight of the jumper + G force from their freefall + the weight of the bungy and it's G force, combined.

All of this weight is being applied to the top connection of the bungy cord.

This is the main challenge for jumping extreme distances. But, it can be worked out.

My highest jump is around 150M

Last edited @ Aug 31, 3:40AM EDT.
Aug 31, 3:38AM EDT0

Who are the most common types of people that use your services?

Aug 30, 12:16PM EDT0

Firstly, it's equal between men and women 50/50.

Then there are:

  • Bucket Listers, like young travellers etc. who want to have done it at least once.
  • Thrill Seekers, people who just can't walk past an opportunity to get a buzz
  • The Birthday crew, anybody celebrating an occassion
  • The Tour Group, coming with their guide
  • The Family, experiencing something special together

Then my favourite:

  • The Life Changer, people who want to empower or repower themselves. These people may have had recent changes like divorce or health issues. They jump because it's a challenge, they use that challenge and the resulting energy as a source of personal strength and growth. These people are inspirational and have given myself great reward over the years, just by being a small part of their experience.
Last edited @ Aug 31, 3:31AM EDT.
Aug 31, 3:30AM EDT0
What other extreme activities and sports do you regularly participate in?
Aug 30, 11:12AM EDT0

I now live in Switzerland so it's mostly mountain activities these days. We do some bungy jumps from a gondola (140M), skiing, snowboarding, climbing, mountain biking etc.

I still get a kick out of adrenaline rush acts, like setting up big rope swings etc. But my attraction to risk has definitely changed since having children. I don't seek it out or need it the way I had before children.

I guess I've mellowed a bit.

Aug 31, 3:19AM EDT0

When setting up a new jumping spot, what are the security measures that must be strictly followed?

Aug 30, 9:08AM EDT0

The main consdierations are all of the safety spaces around the 'jump zone'. For example, you need a certain amount of space either side of the jump zone in case of sideways swings, at the back and front of the jump zone for the natural swing of the jumper's path and of course space at the bottom of the jump zone. All of these spaces include extra safety space and are proportionate to the jump height.

Then of course there are always measures you need to take to protect spectators as well. Good hand rails, ensuring things can't be dropped over the edge.

These are just a couple of the things to consider on top of all of the usual requirements for any tourist or commercial attraction. 

Aug 31, 3:14AM EDT0

There are several videos on the internet showing very bad bungee jumping-related accidents. In your experience, are these videos real? Is it possible to be so irresponsible with regards to precautions that it would compromise the life of the client?

Aug 30, 3:55AM EDT0

The internet loves when things go wrong, and yes there are a few really disturbing videos out there. Some are real. There are not many, but they will get a lot more plays than bungy jump videos that go smoothly.

Some are not real.

And horrifically it seems that it is possible for some people to make ridiculous mistakes and be completely negligent with people's safety.

As I've mentioned in other answers, bungy jumping is regulated differently in different countries.

Australia and New Zealand share a common safety standard (a code of practice AS/NZS 5848) I beleive this is a good standard, and many other countries or operators use this as a standard.

To put it in perspective, the first commercial bungy jump operator AJ Hackett Bungy has operated longer than any other operator and jumped well over 3 million jumpers and never had a fatality.

Last edited @ Aug 31, 3:05AM EDT.
Aug 30, 5:31AM EDT0
On average, how many people use your services every day?
Aug 30, 2:43AM EDT0

At the moment I'm working on a bungy jump from a gondola in Switzerland and we only jump 6 to 20 people each session.

However, on the busier sites I've worked on we could do over 100 jumpers in one day. Those are great days, with loads of great positive energy.

Aug 30, 5:18AM EDT0

What is the tallest spot that you have set up for a jump?

Aug 30, 2:26AM EDT0

Personally only about 150 M (500 ft). But there are commercial jumps much higher.

My favourite jump height is between 40-60 M. That's a really fun height to jump from and to work on. If you jump above water you can go all the way down and dip into the water. Great fun!

Aug 30, 5:16AM EDT0

What are the safety criteria you check (or double check) before each jump?

Aug 30, 2:14AM EDT0

There are too many to simply list here and different sites have specific things that need to be considered before each jump.

However, these are the basic checks; 

  • The bungy cord and how it is set matches the jumper's weight 
  • The rigging is all connected and set ready.
  • The jump area is all clear
  • The jumper is connected in two places
  • The crew are all ready
Aug 30, 5:13AM EDT0
How long does the training of new staff take?
Aug 30, 12:05AM EDT0

It varies, but I would say at least three years. The most  important thing is how many jumps have you been involved in.

Again this is something that different countries have different regulations for. The best process is that new crew start as Jump Assistants, helping to put the harness and foot ties on jumpers etc. They work under the supervision of qualified Jump Masters. Then gradually they can start to do more jump master functions under supervision.

Once they have completed 250 hours, 1250 jumps within a 3 year period they are eligable to get certfied as a jump master (in NZ) for example. But they also need a good technical knowledge, first aid training and the right attitude.

Last edited @ Aug 30, 5:07AM EDT.
Aug 30, 5:06AM EDT0

How many different bungee cords are there? What is the difference between them?

Aug 29, 10:37PM EDT0

Bungy cords should be made of 100% latex. That's it.

Latex has predictable characteristics, so you know how it will perform, and at what point it will break. This predictability is the key to safety.

Some operators added a back-up cable, rope or sling to the entire length of the bungy cords. I think this is a mistake and does not add to the safety but instead creates a new risk.

Each bungy site usually has 2 to 4 different thicknesses of bungy cord. Always the same length. So, a light person can jump on a thin or 'light' bungy cord, the bungy cord can stretch gradually and they have a smooth ride. Then a heavy person can jump on a thicker or 'heavy' bungy cord and get the exact same smooth ride.

Last edited @ Aug 30, 4:56AM EDT.
Aug 30, 4:55AM EDT0
Have you used helicopters or hot air balloons as jumping spots?
Aug 29, 10:29PM EDT0

Friends of mine have jumped many times from helicopters. It was something that AJ Hackett offered to clients for years. The jump height is often over 1,000M high. 

Hot air balloons are also great spots to do big jumps from. But commercially both are limited heavily by weather conditions, mostly wind.

Aug 30, 4:45AM EDT0
Do you usually test your jumping spots? How many times have you jumped?
Aug 29, 10:23PM EDT0

We always work with minimum safety spaces around the jump zone. We carefully inspect and set everything up together, often the first jump is done by a block of concrete as a test.

If it's a new comercial jump site, we do a lot more testing and jumping ourselves to make sure we have everything ready so that the first jumps for our clients are totaly predicatble, and we get the best photos and videos possible.

I've jumped thousands of times. I was lucky enough to work at a few sites that had elevators! So, I could jump down, say hi to friends or go to the bathroom and just pop back up the tower using the elevator.

The thrill of bungy jumping has never worn off for me. I still love it.

Aug 30, 4:41AM EDT0
What are the most common misconceptions about bungy jumping?
Aug 29, 9:54PM EDT0

The most common general misconception is that it's dangerous.

This is because it's spectacular. Of course there are risks involved, but they can be reduced so much by good operators that it is far more dangerous driving to the bungy jump site than it is bungy jumping.

Another common one is that there are strong forces on your body, that could harm your back or even damage your eyes. This is not true, again with good operators, because the bungy cord will actually be strecthing for 75% of your fall. So there is no one strong moment that the bungy kicks-in, it's stretching most of the way down and slowing you until you eventually gradually start to head back up.

Aug 30, 4:32AM EDT0
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