Monday, April 21, 2008

Condom Bungee

A Durban man took a plunge with a difference when he bungee jumped 30m using an elastic rope made from condoms. Jump master Carl Dionisio made the unusual jump at the Wavehouse at Gateway to get what he described as "the virgin buzz" one got on the first bounce back.

The condom bungee jump was the first of its kind in the world and Dionisio said part of the thrill was getting recognition from the jumping community. The 37-year-old made his first jump 15 years ago in Mossel Bay. He was quickly hooked on the extreme sport and turned it into his career.

Dionisio, who was born in Lisbon, studied photography and at first took pictures of jumpers. He later started his own company designing bungee structures as well as being involved in marketing, shows and team-building exercises.

Dionisio said he and his assistant, Michael "Sniper" Xaba, had been working on the idea of the condom rope for more than a year.

They used 18,500 condoms to make it. "It was difficult as the condoms are slippery. When we tied knots they would just slip out," he said. He then cut the tips off the condoms and made loops.

"It took us four months to make the rope," said Dionisio, one of a handful of master jumpers in the world.

He said he was not concerned that the rope would be strong enough. "Latex is latex. But the cord was based on a mathematical formula and although I was 99 percent sure that it would work, my stomach was in a knot for a month before the jump," said Dionisio.

Now Dionisio is going to take a year off. He and an old army friend have bought a small yacht and will soon be flying to Israel where it is berthed.

"We have never sailed, but we've studied the theory and we will be joined by a 74-year-old skipper to show us the ropes."

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