Nothing can fully prepare you for free falling at Skypark Sentosa by AJ Hackett. But with jump master Izuwan around, you’re in safe hands.
“It’s tough to describe what a jump feels like until you’ve done it yourself. Even after you’ve jumped, it’s still hard to put into words how it feels. But I would say that it is very freeing. You let go of everything, and you just free fall.
Bungee jumping is not about overcoming your fear of heights. You don’t really overcome it. Even as a jumpmaster, I would still feel scared if you asked me to stand on the edge without a safety line. Bungee jumping is more about dealing with your fear at that moment.
You need to have complete trust in the people that you work with. You also need complete faith that the safety line will prevent a fatal fall. That’s why at Skypark Sentosa by AJ Hackett, we always emphasise safety and check our equipment before we do anything.
Skypark Sentosa is a 40-metre tower that was purposefully built with a bungee and giant swing. We have a safety pool which is 3.5 metres deep. This is quite cool, because not a lot of bungee sites offer water touches as part of the overall experience.
And it’s nice that we get to enjoy a beach site location at Sentosa. We’re the tallest point at Siloso Beach, so we can see far out. And the view of the sunset from the top of the tower is something you need to see.
My blood, sweat and tears are literally in this tower. Me and John Dealy – he’s a jumpmaster from Australia who trained me to become a jumpmaster – built this tower with contractors and a few other pioneering members. We were actually part of the construction.
I remember from the time the lift wasn’t up yet. So every morning, when we had our safety briefing, I would always say, ‘Don’t forget your tools!’ Otherwise, you would have to go all the way down and climb 17 storeys up again.
I’m Singapore’s first local jumpmaster. To become a certified jump master, you need to conduct 1,250 customer jumps safely. I had to undergo training to acquire the knowledge and skills to work with ropes and bungee cords.
It was quite stressful, being the only local jumpmaster for a period of time. Jump masters are responsible for the safety and set-up of a bungee jump. They do the final checks before a jump can occur. The customer’s life is literally in your hands.
Every single day, it was either me or John on the deck. When he’s away for vacation or busy with other work, it’s only me up here. So the pressure was on to make sure everything was safe.
Now, I feel relieved with two more new jump masters in the team. I’m more relaxed because I can share the responsibility with others. I have another person to check on me, and I can also check on that person. We learn from one another.
Over the years, I’ve learnt to read people’s facial expressions and body language and use that skill to actually adapt, respond and interact with jumpers who are on the edge, or off the platform. This has shaped me to be more empathetic and patient with people.
Some of them start crying; some start grabbing me. They can also say a lot of nasty things to you or to whoever is around them, just to release emotion. And you cannot react, be angry or say nasty things back. Jumpmasters need the ability to assess and control situations.
We understand that a bungee activity can be terrifying, especially for those who fear heights. But that’s one thing I enjoy about being a jumpmaster; you get to meet people from all walks of life.
The best part is when they share their story of what brought them to this point of doing a bungee. They would say things like, ‘It’s my birthday, I want to push myself,” or ‘I want to overcome my fears, but I don’t really want to do this.’
So I’ll say, ‘Don’t worry, it’s safe. I’ve done this hundreds of times already.’ When you get a terrified person to trust you, and you manage to get them to jump and reach the ground safely, the feeling is just amazing.
Sometimes they leave a note, or they come back and say ‘Thank you so much.’ That gives me a sense of satisfaction – I did it. And we, as a team, did it. Everyone played a part in keeping that person safe. That person enjoyed themselves and actually came back to try again. It’s really nice.
For anyone out there who wants to bungee jump, I just want to say that they need to be mentally prepared. AJ Hackett, who commercialised bungee jumping, said, ‘Bungee is about shoulders-up, not shoulders down. It’s all in the mind.’
We’re not going to lie to you. It will be really scary; but, it will be very safe. We will check and make sure everything is safe for you to jump. The longer you stand on the edge, the scarier it gets. So when you’re on the edge and hear us counting down, ‘5, 4, 3, 2, 1,’ just go for it!” – Izuwan, 30
Interview by: Arman Shah
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Everyone has an incredible and inspiring story to share. These are such stories by the everyday people in Singapore. #everydaypeoplesg