Bungee jumping at Clarke Quay
Singapore's first reverse bungee jump ride literally got off the ground at Clarke Quay on 19 November 2003. Unlike the conventional bungee jump, where thrill seekers leap off a bridge while tied to a bungee cord, riders of the reverse bungee jump are catapulted into the air, experiencing an adrenaline rush like they had never before in Singapore.
Bungee jumping was not officially banned in Singapore, but an application by adventure firm Radical Adventure Sports to provide the bungee jumping service in 1993 was rejected by the authorities then. However, in July 2003, a surprise announcement was made by Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, allowing the "revival" of bungee jumping in Singapore. The approval for bungee jumping relates to recent government efforts to encourage a more risk-taking culture among Singaporeans.
The news was greeted with much enthusiasm by the public in general, and adventure and sporting groups in particular, as the move will benefit Singaporeans who do not want to spend a lot of money to go overseas to bungee jump. In the past, Singaporeans had to travel to countries like Australia and New Zealand. The closest alternative Singaporeans had to bungee jumping was at Waterfront City in Batam, Indonesia, which ceased operations in 2001.
Clarke Quay's reverse bungee ride is operated by Frontier Sports NZ Pte. Ltd., a New Zealand adventure activities company, in collaboration with CapitaLand, which owns and manages Clarke Quay. The reverse bungee jump is part of CapitaLand's S$50 million plans to revamp Clarke Quay into a world class waterfront development and premier leisure destination for Singaporeans and tourists alike. CapitaLand had been working with Frontier Sports since October 2002 to get the necessary licenses from Singapore authorities to operate the "G-Max Reverse Bungee" machine. Approval to site the reverse bungee jump at Clarke Quay was given by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA). Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has targeted more than 30, 000 visitors, of whom 40% are likely to be tourists, to try out the G-Max in its first year of operation.
Singapore's first reverse bungee jump took place at Clarke Quay (3E River Valley Road). Chan Soo Sen, Minister of State (Education, Community Development & Sports), officiated its launch on Wednesday evening, 19 November 2003. The first bungee jump ride had brothers Jeffrey and Javin Lim, with MTV Asia host Denise Keller, as the first official patrons of the ride. Jeffrey and Javin Lim had won an MTV Asia online contest for the chance to take part in the first ride on the G-Max reverse bungee.
The reverse bungee jump is situated on a triangular, 35 m by 85 m, plot of land at the tip of Clarke Quay overlooking the Singapore River. For S$30 a ride, passengers get strapped down and hurtled into the air in the G-Max reverse bungee machine. The G-Max is a steel, open-air capsule, which can seat 3 people. This three-seat capsule is suspended between bungee cords. Once in, passengers are strapped down by a 5 point safety harness. Ride attendants will then pull the bungee cords taut and unclip the capsule, which sends the strapped-down passengers spinning end-over-end about 60 m (or about 15 storeys) into the air. The capsule bounces up and down at least 7 times between two 35 m tall towers, at a speed of 200 km/h. It is airborne for about 90 seconds while the whole encounter lasts about 4½ minutes. Passengers must not have any medical or heart problems, and need to be at least 1.1 m tall.
When the reverse bungee ride was launched in November 2003, issue over its operating hours came up. The URA allowed the bungee ride to operate till 10:30 pm to avoid disturbing residents living nearby with the bungee jumpers' screams. In late January 2004, after an appeal by Frontier Sports, the authorities relented. With its new closing time of 11:00 pm to 12:00 midnight on weekdays and 1:00 am on weekends, business has improved by 35 percent monthly.