SYDNEY – Australia’s adventure sport enthusiasts are joining the ranks of those heading to the seaside but for a much more stomach-churning activity – rope jumping.
A dozen friends have gathered atop a cliff some 60 meters (196 feet) above the ocean at Currarong, a town in eastern New South Wales state, to free-fall to the ocean’s surface while tied to a rope.
They wear a harness with a rope attached to another line that is strung between two cliffs, one on either side of the jumper.
Rope free-flying, or rope jumping, was born in the 90s and grew in popularity in the past decade, looks like bungee jumping crossed with abseiling, and includes dizzying rope swings.
But with rope jumping, the free-fall tends to be longer than with bungee jumping, and the jumpers themselves often install their own ropes on cliffs, mountains or skyscrapers.
The highest recorded free-fall jump was set in 2017 in a 1,873 ft jump that included free-falling 424.8 meters in Norway’s majestic Kjerag mountain.
Upon taking the leap, 24-year old Daisy Allen free falls most of the way down toward the ocean’s surface, before being grabbed by the tension of the rope to which she is attached, which then goes taut and swings her over the sea.
“There’s a lot of fear that comes up…for me it’s a matter of just calming down, centering myself, really focusing in on my breathing,” Allen said.
“The moment I jump off, it’s just going to be an exhilarating, thrilling rush of adrenaline.”
After the leap and swings, Allen is hauled back up the cliff face on the taut rope by her friends at the top. A half dozen people work to bring their friend back up from the abyss below.
“It’s mostly about the people…it’s like an informal tribe,” said Allen’s partner Tom Oliver. “There’s so much trust and faith put in each other…it’s just special.”
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