Urban Rap Jumping!
This is, by far, the most fun, most outrageous, most goofy sport I've ever tried. It's just what you'd expect from Kiwis, for whom wild sports are a national passion. My understanding is that you can't sue there. With no lawyers getting rich from people who spill coffee in their laps, people in New Zealand are free to do some incredibly wild things!
The building at the left is what was, at the time, the Novotel Hotel in Auckland. A company called Adrenaline Adventures ran this bizarre sport from the roof of the hotel. The sport is called "Urban Rap Jumping."
Rap is short for "Rappel," which is:
"The act or method of descending from a mountainside or cliff by means of a belayed rope that is passed under one thigh and over the opposite shoulder so that it can be payed out smoothly and gradually."
The writer of that definition, however, probably never envisioned Urban Rap Jumping.
This is RJ Cook. He runs the show. As you can see, Mr. Cook is a conservative, subdued gentleman. Of course, one would never have any qualms about entrusting one's life to this man, would one?
RJ is a great guy. His personality is entertainment in and of itself, even without the rap jumping.
RJ is wearing a harness that allows him to chain himself (literally) to the roof of the hotel, so he can't be pulled over the edge.
Here I am with a hard hat, taking one of the most terrifying steps of my life (almost as scary as walking across a crowded club to ask a lady to dance). I'm stepping over the edge of the roof. You've heard people say, "Whatever you do, don't look down." Ha! Not here! You HAVE to look down. AAAAGGHHHH! I can't believe I'm gonna go face-first down the side of a 14-story hotel! In New Zealand, you learn the fine art of forcing a smile for the camera while you're deathly terrified.
The day started out sunny- hence my wearing of shorts. It suddenly turned to rain with high winds. RJ's hair tells the story.
There are two lines that, in theory, should keep me from plummeting 14 stories. One is a "static" line, which doesn't stretch much, and one is a "dynamic" line, which does. RJ feeds the dynamic line from a winch on the roof. It's there for safety, to slow your descent if RJ decides that you're going too fast. The static line stays put. It's what I'm holding, and I'll use it to guide my descent.
At the ground level, another fellow holds the static line. The static line runs through a curved area in a block of metal (not visible in the photo), which is attached to the jumper's harness. Even if the dynamic line should fail, and even if the jumper should lose consciousness, the fellow on the ground can pull the static line taut, causing a braking action in the metal block.
This is the view looking over the edge of the roof. There's a restaurant at the top floor of the hotel. As you descend past the window, the people in the restaurant get a hilarious view of your butt!
This had to be the most bizarre sensation I've ever experienced. I'm trying to think of a good way to describe what this feels like, but I can't. Any description of the feeling wouldn't do it justice. It's just too weird! Your brain doesn't know how to process the information that it's receiving. Which way is up?
"Oh- to be a fly on the wall." After Urban Rap Jumping, that phrase doesn't mean the same thing anymore.
I'm hippity hopping down, soaked to the bone from the rain. During my descent, I found myself singing the lyrics to a Police song: "Giant steps are what you take-- walking on the moon." You can jump "up" in the air (though what constitutes "up" is a puzzling question), and you float for a few seconds before you come back "down."
I did three jumps. You've heard of "getting your sea legs." During the first jump, I was "getting my concrete legs."
On the second two jumps, having gotten more comfortable with the bizarre sensations, I got to be silly and do some stupid human tricks. Horizontal spins and cartwheels on the side of a 14-story hotel in the blowing rain-- Wheeee!!
Urban Rap Jumping is