Browsing on Bookme, a website with discounted activities, trying to find something to do for the weekend, I came across rap jumping. So on Sunday morning I went into the city to walk off a building.
I was greeted by a young guy who told me to wait until everyone had arrived. Once the whole group was complete, we got the introduction, making sure that everyone knew what they’d signed up for. We then took the elevator up and took the last stairs up to the roof.
There we got harnessed up and got told about safety. Our harness was put on backwards, because we needed a belay loop in the back. After all, as opposed to abseiling, in rap jumping you descent the building facing forwards. The young guy who had greeted us went down first to show us how it was done. He casually walked down. Well… maybe a bit faster than casually. Once he hit the ground, he turned around and got ready to help us.
After seeing a few people go it was my turn. All the checks were done and I was attached to the rope. I was wearing gloves and as soon as I squeezed the rope, I would stop. We started from a sitting position, sitting on the edge of the building. The height didn’t really bother me, but once I sat at the edge, my brain still wondered if this was a thing I needed to do. Just for a second.
From there you had to try to walk/run down. It was harder than it seemed. My feet kept slipping off the wall and it was hard to get your legs straight. We all walked in a half-sitting position, with bent knees. You also had to keep your hands in the right spot. I kept my left hand too close to my body and therefore swung from side to side, losing my balance.
That first run was really to get a feeling for what you were doing and how to control yourself. At the second run things became more interesting. To maximise the kick you get out of it, you need to maximise your speed. The best way to set up for this, is starting from a standing position, leaning slightly forward, facing het ground. I definitely got off to a good start. I heard one of the other guests at the bottom scream: “That was sick!” About midway I lost my balance though, braked, and spun to the side against the wall.
In my third go I finally felt like I was getting it. My hand were in the right position and I was ready to roll. I hung off the building, simultaneously started running and let go of the rope. And I made a free fall run until halfway down the wall. There was a quick rush and then I tightened my grip on the rope, coming to a stop to recover. So this was what it was all about!
I wish I’d had a few more runs, but our time was up. Rap jumping is a very cool activity, but it gets better the more you’ve practised. You don’t need to have any experience, but it takes some skills to get down in a perfect run. Out of all the people joining the activity, I haven’t seen a single run that looks like it looks in the promotion videos. To get that rush and run down all the way, you simply need more practise. Maybe it’s something for another quiet weekend.