By SOPHIE STONE
A few Mondays ago, I decided my assignments weren’t important enough not to procrastinate and joined some friends to do the Sky Tower jump.
The jump, like a lot of tourism events at the moment, was reduced in price, from around $230 down to $88 at that point, (cheers Covid-19) which we figured was as good a reason as any to face the challenge of the 192m plummet.
We started the day filled with anticipation and excitement. Getting harnessed up and ready to go, the four of us embarked on our mission looking remarkably like the 2016 Ghostbusters in our orange jumpsuits. Our fifth friend was waiting near the landing pad, having decided pretty much instantly in the planning stages of our excursion that she wasn’t keen to jump off anything higher than a footstool.
I think it was going up in the lift that the nerves really started to kick in. The see-through panels on the floor and walls left no question of the height we were ascending to, revealing the increasingly distant solid ground we’d all taken for granted up until this point.
When we did reach the top, we were greeted by two very lovely ladies who would be harnessing us in for the jump. The feeling of anticipation and anxiety was real as we watched our first friend being harnessed up outside on the platform, exposed to the air and rain and suddenly looking very vulnerable amidst the backdrop of grey sky, rooftops and the harbour below.
The instructor counted down and she was off without any fuss, something I’m now really impressed by having done it myself. However, back in our area, people were really beginning to freak out, and I don’t think my palms have ever been more clammy.
Both the other two friends tried next, and unfortunately decided they weren’t able to do it at that time, despite trying really hard. One of them was brave enough to step out on the ledge twice and try, something that I know wasn’t easy.
At that point, it was my turn.
I’m not going to lie, at this point I was pretty freaked out. Being repositioned and manoeuvered by the workers while they attach your harness to the bungee cord, all the while trying not to stare down at the distant ground, tiny cars dotting the roads, the roofs of skyscrapers still a fair distance below, is not an experience that incites calm. I did my best to put a brave face on and listen to the instructions of the instructor, attempting to convince myself that I was going to do it, and that it would be fine.
This facade fell apart slightly when she began counting down. At 1, I had been instructed to let go of the ropes on either side of me, the only thing stopping me from tipping off the edge where my feet were precariously placed.
Yeah, didn’t happen. Didn’t happen the immediate next attempt either. While it made for an embarrassing/funny moment on the go-pro video, at the time I was trying to figure out how I could override the part of my brain responsible for my fierce gripping of the ropes. Reminding my frugal self I wouldn’t get a refund did help to an extent, but it wasn’t quite enough. Luckily my instructor once again came to my rescue, pointing out how I could hold onto my harness for support if I needed to, taking one hand off the rope at a time. I did, she gave me a slight push, and that was that.
The fall actually wasn’t bad. If I hadn’t been so psyched up beforehand, and if I were to do it again, I think I would have enjoyed it. And I did, to an extent, though this isn’t really reflected in the gopro video, which is basically six seconds of continuous swearing before I slow to meet the ground and sheepishly greet the instructor as he helps catch me.
Top gopro tip: it helps if you let go of the harness (I didn’t) and hold your wrist out so the camera can catch you and not just the descending city landscape.
Also: this is probably obvious but if you have long hair, maybe wear a hair-tie. I didn’t and there are some pretty amazing shots of me mid-air with a face full of hair, looking like an old English sheepdog in need of a groom.
What I will say is that being unhooked out of the harness and greeting my friends who had jumped/were witnessing did feel pretty great. Knowing I’d conquered a challenging situation and could now get ahold of the photos, video and gopro video (which were all also reduced in price) in addition to a free t-shirt and certificate for endless bragging rights was pretty awesome.
I think our next hangout might be fully on the ground, though.
Sophie is a third-year Communication student at Massey uni who loves cats, ice cream and musicals.