Land Diving

The Pentecost Islanders in Vanuatu have been practicing land diving for a long time, in a traditional fertility-rite ceremony only for males, some as young as seven. It is considered the birthplace of the extreme sport of bungee jumping.

The islanders jump from 20-30 meter high tree towers with their legs tied with supple liana vines, aiming to just touch the ground. It is not an exact science, and there have been some tragedies over time.

The sport was first given international exposure when a BBC film crew filmed the ritual in the 1950s. In 1974, Queen Elizabeth II visited Pentecost an was shown a demonstration of land diving. Unfortunately the jump was performed too early in the year when the vines were much less elastic than usual, and one islander died.

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