The creators of this masterpiece of rope technology are both avid rock climbers. Hamish Emerson and Chris Russell spent years reconnoitring rock faces though every inch of the Wakatipu Basin, climbing, abseiling and swinging – fixing the rope some distance out from the point of departure so that at the last minute its natural arc lifts you away from the rock face, and what began with dragging mates out in the wee small hours and using unique methods (a car as hauling winch) started the ball rolling.
They needed their own setup to avoid dodging authorities and making hasty retreats. A purpose built system that had a mix of free fall, cliff edge for ground rush and speed sensation was required. As there was no other structure or activity in the world like it, it meant designing and engineering everything from scratch and a lot of testing.What followed was a testament to kiwi ingenuity. Three years of hard labour later (they built everything by hand), all the parts were carried, wheel-barrowed and dragged from the car park, over 1.5 tonnes of concrete and 1.2 tonnes of wire cable.
All of the jump styles that exist today were dreamt up through creative dare devil testing and over a few quiet ales at the local pub. Freedom of expression is a big ingredient along with trying to max out the sensation. The cutaway boom was designed after having mates that couldn’t jump off the bridges in the old days and the only way to get them off was to simply cut the rope.This is one experience that is truly born out of “kiwi can do” in terms of its conception – designed and built by guys enthusiastic about sharing their sport (in total safety) – but also good kiwi hospitality.
The cable system is a dual 11mm steel cable each with separate rock anchors drilled 1.2 metres into the rock and held by 30mm reinforced steel rod, the platform was built by suspending the platform beams from the cable system, the entire building process took 8 months for 2 people building fulltime, then followed another 6 months of testing with water barrels and satisfying local and government authorities and gaining paper work.The swing officially opened on 2nd December 2002 with Linus from Hamburg, Germany being the first customer to jump off the platform and his girlfriend Julia being the first female, they were the only people on the first trip.