Shotover Canyon Swing was an awesome way for my 14 year old to leap into summer. Him as the participant and me as the spectator, we headed out to the Shotover Canyon with an Aussie family in the back of a canyon swing van, watching scary videos of different jump styles.
Just a few minutes from the centre of town we cross the river and turn off to climb a gravel road to the jump site. Once there, it's a picturesque walk through the bush along the edge of the canyon to the very cute wooden home of the reception area for the swing. From here you can see into the canyon and it is a looooong waaaaay dowwwwn. I can see Solly starting to realise the implications of his decision, while I'm thinking 'i hope their systems are good' and, 'maybe he'll chicken out and i won't have to worry'.
We both head down to the jump site - it's like a large plank, you're basically walking the plank - to where friendly and jocular jumpmasters are hanging out and making good fun of an Australian girl about the same age as my boy. She kind of falls of the edge in fear, screaming all the way - so we know she's alive - she reemerges shortly ready to do it all again.
Harnessed up, Solly clearly has no intention of chickening out and is joking with the jumpmasters - planning a front flip, he gets to the edge. Then they play with him, holding him out over the edge - he's smiling, but his face is going pale... finally they bring him back to the edge so he can jump, plans to flip are gone, he tentatively jumps from the platform... silence, no squeals.
Finally he emerges way below in the canyon swinging right across the river. Ages later, the jump masters haul him back to the platform. Exhilarated, happy, terrified, and bouncing about like tigger. "Man that was freaky" he says, "The first bit was way tooo scary, but swinging over the canyon was awesome."
The ride home was hilarious - a blooper of canyon swinging. What a great way to say goodbye to the shool year.
Thanks guys, you all rock.