AJ Hackett recalls great leap for adventure tourism


Bungy pioneer AJ Hackett plans new ventures to mark the 25th anniversary of his legendary leap off France’s Eiffel Tower.

The Aucklander’s daring feat on June 26, 1987, created worldwide headlines and launched the bungy phenomenon.

To mark the anniversary Hackett is not only celebrating with a good bottle of French champagne but also rolling out a number of new ventures.

These include adventure tourism products in Macau, bungy and swing sites in Sentosa, Singapore, and Sochi, Russia, and beachside accommodation on the Indonesian island of Gili Trawangan where he lives part-time.

A year later, Hackett and mate Henry van Asch teamed up to open the world’s first commercial bungy attraction off Queenstown’s Kawarau bridge.

Hackett recalls he and friends spent months furtively planning his daring 110-metre Eiffel Tower jump.

Tasks included measuring with a fishing line the exact height of the jump platform to the ground and undertaking reconnaissance trips to work out how to evade security guards.

“It was an amazingly elaborate plan with lots of us heading up the tower, but nobody noticed us taking our places there.

“That in itself was incredible.

“And then, actually stepping off the tower into space – I could see the police slowly figuring out something was happening, and a crowd gathering, but figured there was only one way down for me.

“It was one small step for a man yet a bloody great leap for adventure tourism.”

Hackett was initially detained by French police but then released five minutes later.