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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Jumping off the bridge

I was contacted by The Southland Times for comment about the time-honoured practice of jumping from the Riverton bridge into the waters of the Aparima and Pourakino rivers as they prepare to join the Pacific Ocean. This was in response to the drowning of a young man who jumped several nights ago, into the then muddy and swollen water. I said that people had been jumping and diving from the bridge for years and years without incident and that I had dived from the bridge myself, one sunny afternoon and was surprised at how placid the water was, contrary to my expectations. I said I did not believe a ban on jumping from the bridge would be effective and that such an action would just as likely provoke more leaping. I was quoted twice in the Times, on two separate days.
Yesterday, I heard there is talk around the town that I'm proposing to ban jumping from the bridge.



Armchair Critic said...

I like hearing the rumours about me and what I have or haven't done, or said, or been. There are a couple of reasons. One is that some of the things I'm rumoured to have done are so much better than the truth. The more mundane reason is that knowing is better than not knowing, because then the rumour can be managed.
I can see why you'd be aghast at the idea of being labelled as part of the pc brigade, especially when you're not. All I can suggest is that the best approach is to dismiss anyone who says you are the fun police by telling them to go jump off a bridge.
And you're correct, a ban and signs are likely to encourage jumping; that's exactly what happened at a much more dangerous bridge at Mercer.

robertguyton said...

Being assigned to the fun-police ranks is funny and empowering. If people think I can ban something, they are attributing me to much influence, and that's okay by me. I once saw a lad climb the street-light pole and jump in off that, at night. That was something to see. There was no one else there, he couldn't see me. Did it for his own satisfaction.

robertguyton said...

Oh, the pole was on the bridge. He landed in the water, many metres below the point he took off from. To clarify.

Philip Todd said...

An important part of growing up is to learn to push the boundaries and challenge your fears. Our role as adults is to be open and explain that while such things are OK to do they should also use their brains and consider the risks. Our children have all humped off the new Cromwell Bridge which is pretty high but into calm water and once when coming home with a group of kids from the rowing in Twizel we stopped at Lowburn so they could all jump off that bridge. When I grew up with two brothers every tree was a challenge but for some reason jumping off bridges was not. We did enjoy jumping off the wharf at Karitane and being swept along by the tide in the channel before the river widened out and I would imagine the Riverton bridge would be exciting when the tide is running

robertguyton said...

I'm amazed, Philip, that you are so open about your children's humping exploits (line 3, Cromwell's a pretty relaxed town but even by their standards...:-)
Did you ever visit Whakarewarewa and see the penny-jumpers leap from the high bridge into the soup below following coins tossed by tourists? I did, as a kid. How they retrieved those coins (they invariably surfaced with a penny or shilling between their teeth) from that opaque water, I'll never know! And how they managed not to land on one of their number already in the soup is equally amazing. I did a lot of high jumping and diving when I was a boy, off rocks and trees and into the Lee and Aniseed rivers near Nelson, so the Riverton bridge was a cinch.

Philip Todd said...

hahaha deserved that much time climbing trees and to little time doing schoolwork perhaps