Still one jump ahead

Celebrating Shotover Canyon Swing's 10th birthday with the company's new ''Cheer Chair'' tandem jump are, from left, sales manager Claire Stewart, general manager Matt Hollyer and operations manager Brad Cutler. Photo supplied.
Celebrating Shotover Canyon Swing's 10th birthday with the company's new ''Cheer Chair'' tandem jump are, from left, sales manager Claire Stewart, general manager Matt Hollyer and operations manager Brad Cutler. Photo supplied.

Sunday marked a milestone for the world's highest cliff jump operator, Shotover Canyon Swing, which celebrated its 10th birthday by launching a ''world-first'' jump.

More than 120,000 people have launched from the company's Shotover River cliff edge, and more than 60,000 opted to jump again.

General manager Matt Hollyer said a focus on innovation was at the very heart of the company.

''We created a great product, sustained it, refined it and, with encouragement from agents and customers, it simply gets better and better.''

Shotover Canyon Swing stemmed from Hamish Emerson and Chris Russell's love of climbing and free-falling.

From throwing mates off the cliff and finding the ideal location for it, they pursued all engineering and safety requirements for the then named ''Not Your Average Backyard Variety Swing''.

The pair built the track, swing and platform by hand, hauling 1.2 tonnes of wire cable and 1.5 tonnes of concrete to the present-day site and launch pad overlooking the Shotover River.

When the first commercial swing was launched on December 2, 2002, no-one comprehended how big the operation would become. In the first year of operation, five jump ''styles'' were offered. Ten years on, people lining up for the 109m plunge can choose from more than 70 launch techniques, with a world-first new style, code-named ''Cheer Chair'', launched to mark the company's birthday.