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Sloggs' Travel Blog A journal of my travels in 2008 & beyond...

Shotover Canyon Swing!!

NEW ZEALAND | Thursday, 12 June 2008 | Views [3790] | Comments [2]

The mad as fook Shotover Canyon Swing, Queenstown!!

The mad as fook Shotover Canyon Swing, Queenstown!!

This morning I was booked to do the last crazy thing not yet done in this town... namely the Shotover Canyon Swing. Pretty simple... big canyon, lots of wires, two ropes and a victim... it is a 60 meter freefall into the 109 meter deep canyon and once the rope catches you a 200 meter swing across the canyon! Sounds easy enough... bring it on attitude was firmly installed at breakfast and I walked into town for the pickup. This office also had a DVD playing of the exploits of the staff at the jump, and there seems to be much more of a fun and games attitude with this company. Marius, the German lad I met skydiving walked in and was booked on the same trip, so we had a good old chin wag about falling and the like and waited for the bus. There were not many people on this trip, and the company was doing an offer on the second jump (normally $49) for just $10 which gets donated to a local charity, this year it was for an albatross conservation fund. I knew I'd want to a second jump, so this was a bargain.

The driver started with the comedy right from the off, replacing words like 'safe' and 'professional' in his sentences with 'bloody dangerous' and 'mental'! It turned out that he was going to be assisting us with our jumps (or them throwing us off) through the day too, which is a nice touch. This place is only a ten minute drive from town and runs along a similarly precarious gravel road up into the canyon as the Nevis bungy. The station is a wooden building on the side of the canyon, with a little path leading down to the jumping platform below. The canyon is an other impressive one, and the drop looks awesome from the office. As we arrived a girl was hanging upside down over the canyon waving her arms above her head when one of the staff reached out and pulled the cord and she disappeared from sight over the edge in a flash! We got signed in and they took note of the colourful marker pen drawings that the girl who weighed us in the office in town had drawn on our hands, and then sent us through and down to the jump platform to meet the team. The whole buzz here is one of fun, each of the guys working here has tons of gags and jump/fall related jokes to make you a little more uneasy, all the while their setup is as slick and professional as the AJ Hackett venues, with safety obviously paramount. We got kitted out with the full harness and then put into a jump order and asked what styles of jumps we would like to do. This place has a 'menu' of jumps, from the standard throw yourself off to the insane blind folded and thrown off option. Check out their website to see the choices and their rather unique 'pants' rating, from one pair of pants needed (easy) to five pairs of pants needed (mental). I opted for one called the 'pin drop' where you stand side on the to the edge of the platform, feet together and arms behind your back, lean forward slightly and then simply 'hop' off over the edge to the left... and fall like a lead weight! I was third to go and watched as the young lad on the trip (with his dad watching from the viewing platform) was first up and he chose to go off backwards with his hands behind his head. The guys held him out leaning over the edge with his feet on the platform while they took his photo, and then they counted him down... 5...4... and let him go! He disappeared with a huge look of surprise on his face, lol! Up next was the crazy European girl who I hadn't had a chance to chat with yet, and she chose the 'chair', where they sit you and seat belt you into a plastic garden chair and you tip yourself up backwards until you tip too far and go over the edge backwards, spinning all the way down strapped into the chair! She was squealing and wriggling around in the chair as the two guys put more pressure on with their antics, tipping her back over the edge and pulling her back on after counting her down... she then tipped herself over and with a huge scream disappeared from sight! Me next... huzzah! I strolled through and was already feeling nervous, much more so than with either bungy... not because of the fall, but because of the shenanigans of the clowns (staff). I told them my prefered method of dispatch, which was well recieved. I was then told that doing this jump I must lean forward as I might hit my head on the rocks behind, which were pointed out to me (lol), so would I like a crash helmet 'just in case?'. I turned the helmet down and they kept up with the serious faces asking me why I was laughing? One of the guys wore the helmet as it made him 'feel safer for your jump', lol! The guy that originally came over to offer the helmet grabbed my arm from behind whilst I was stood on the edge, making me jump of course, to ask me if I wanted it, lol! So, after the games were finished (for now) I was ready to go, stood on the side and simply hopped off to the left...

The fall here is fucking awesome! It rates for me personally as loads better than a bungy, and heres why... you are in a chest harness and roped from the middle, so both legs and arms are free to flail about as much as you like (or don't like!). You basically feel like you ARE NOT attached to anything, until 60 meters down the rope grabs you and you accelerate out into the swing over the canyon. It is a superb jump. If you are only going to do one jump whilst in Queenstown, either bungy or this, pick this! I implore you! The whole package of the jump feeling and the quality staff, make this the best by some way in my opinion.

The winch back up made the required (and expected thanks to the briefing) clunks and bangs and I was soon laughing with the nutters at the top about just how good that fall is! They clipped me back onto the safety line on the platform and then unclipped me from the rope and were ready setting up for the next jump.

Marius went next, and was planning on jumping off forwards for his first jump. It definitely takes a bit more balls to jump off yourself, rather than have the staff hang you out there and pull the ripcord, or kick you off the platform should you choose! I went up to the viewing station to take some snaps of Marius's jump, which turned out great... he was still running in through the air when he was falling, it was a very funny jump! The shot of him coming back up on the winch is class... mahuuuusive smile on his face, lol!

We warmed up in the office for ten minutes while the others jumped and checked out our DVD's of the first jump, which were ace.

For the second jump I chose to go off backwards, and the guys suggested that I hold the rope in one hand and put the other hand above my head in a 'John Travolta' disco stylie and push myself off backwards and keep looking at them to get the full rush of the platform disappearing! Ok, deal. I stood with my heels on the edge of the platform and one of them held my harness and told me to lean back for my photo, which I did but I looked down at the moment of the click. I asked them to take another fearing that I'd just be let go of! As I grabbed the rope in front of me and leaned back the guy holding on to me shouted "don't pull that rope!" which instantly mad me laugh for some reason! After the pic was taken he stood me on the edge and I had to jump off backwards myself... kind of disappointing in a way, lol! Anyway, the rush jumping off like that and keeping my eyes fixed on them on the platform is fucked up insane! I screamed like a bitch I tells thee... lol! Halfway through the fall I'd forgotten all that and had turned round to see the river coming up fast... the swing is superb when it grabs you, you really feel the acceleration for that big swing across the canyon... great great fun! I watched a couple more jumps before thanking the guys for a great time and heading in out of the blistering cold of the canyon wall!

Once again I had DVD's and photo's to buy, but they are really good, and capture the fun and games nicely. (It's expensive, falling!!) On the drive back into town they showed us a DVD on the bus of what they do to staff members that are stupid enough to quit and leave the job, one poor girl was strapped to a sacktruck and rolled over the edge! Then when they winched her back up they left her hanging, strapped to this thing and poured all sorts of horrible stuff over her, hilarious!

Once back in town, Marius and I went to Fergburger (LOL!) for a celebratory feed and a good chat about our travels. This afternoon I took a 2 hour walk/run along the lake bank near to the hostel which was quite nice, and sat here tonight writting this it is now hammering down with rain out there. From what I hear in the hostel, this is how its going to be for a few days, so perfect timing to get all the madness in when I did!

My time in Queenstown is over now... tomorrow morning I am going to take one last hill climb here before driving off back up to Wanaka where there are a few more things I want to see there (including the first England v All Blacks test on saturday night!) and then I'll be heading up to Mt Cook and Lake Tekapo. I might brave sleeping in the van again for a few nights, I don't think it is going to be as cold now for a few days.

Thats all for now, all the jumps are done and I loved them all... falling is such good fun, lol! (In fact it is such good fun that my back is actually aching a bit tonight... lol)

Pics from the Canyon Swing are over on facebook for you to check out...

Ciao!
Sloggs :-)

I Almost forgot! I've now BOOKED my time on Vorovoro as part of www.tribewanted.com !!! I'll be there from Saturday July 5th for two weeks, as a 'hunter' member of the tribe, lol! Really looking forward to that, I'll post more details soon, with links to my profile on the site etc... :-)

Tags: adrenaline, walking

Comments

1

Hey Sloggy,

Looks like your having the time of your life. Enjoy it. Drop me a line when your not falling out of a plane or a perfectly good bridge. Hope all is well and that you havn't caught anything.

Cheers Pal, Jason McWilliams aka Mr. Incredible

  Jason McWilliams Jun 20, 2008 7:12 AM

2

Blimey! Mr Incredible himself!

The only thing I've caught is the bug for travelling and 'falling', lol!

I'll certainly be dropping you a line... :-)

  sl0ggs Jun 25, 2008 7:42 PM

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Me with the kids at Cawaro Village School during the Vitika Trek

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