A. J. Hackett
|Alan John Hackett|
|Known for||Commercialisation of bungee jumping|
Hackett grew up on Auckland's North Shore. He attended Westlake Boys High School, but left at the age of sixteen and served an apprenticeship as a carpenter. At this time, he took up snowboarding and skiing. In 1986, Hackett performed his first amateur bungee jump from the Upper Harbour Bridge in Auckland, citing it as "one of the most riveting experiences of my life."
Inspired by the Vanuatu ritual called land diving and the Oxford University Dangerous Sports Club experimental jumps in the 1970s, Hackett developed a super-stretchy elastic bungee cord in the mid-1980s and demonstrated its use by throwing himself off the Eiffel Tower in Paris in 1987.
Hackett launched his own company, AJ Hackett Bungy, and created a site on the Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge in Queenstown, New Zealand in 1988 to become the world's first commercial public bungy. He later expanded his company by founding bungy sites in Australia, France (Souleuvre Viaduct in Normandy), Germany, The United States, Mexico, Indonesia, and Macau. Hackett initially partnered with Henry van Asch, but the two split in 1997 with van Asch taking over the New Zealand-based business. In 2008 the pair reunited - and currently work together on the AJ Hackett business.
Hackett is widely known for his many bungy stunts that have earned him Guinness records and personal milestones, just a few including:
- 1988: Jumping off the Auckland Stock Exchange Tower, claiming the title as being the world's first Bungy off a building
- 1990: Jumping 380 metres out of a helicopter for the first time
- 2000: Jumping off the Royal Gorge Bridge, also known as the highest suspension bridge in the world
- 2006: Opening and jumping out of the Macau Tower in China measuring 233 metres above ground and holding the title as the highest sky jump
- 2007: Opening and jumping out of the Macau Tower in China measuring 233 metres above ground and holding the title as the highest commercial Bungy
- 2007: Doubling the previous record of 700 metres out of a helicopter with 1,499.6 metres in Malaysia with his new Bungy technology allowing Bungy stretches of over 1 kilometre
- "The Soaring Success of AJ Hackett". Enterprise. Enterprise North Shore. November 2006. p. 3. Retrieved September 21, 2012.
- Gibson, Jano (February 27, 2007). "Extreme bid to stretch bungy record". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved September 21, 2012.
- "AJ Hackett Malaysia - History". Retrieved 2008-05-06.[dead link]
- "Henry van Asch". Archived from the original on 6 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-06.
- "This Is Your Life". Television New Zealand. Archived from the original on 21 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-06.
- Hackett, A.J. (Alan John) (2006). Jump Start - The Autobiography of Bungy Pioneer AJ Hackett. Random House, Auckland, NZ. ISBN 1-86941-842-5.
- "AJ Hackett Bungy Company website". Archived from the original on 29 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-06.
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