Since the 1980s, almost 1 million recorded bungee jumps have occurred. In the span of a single hour, 50-year-old Linda Potgieter (South Africa) added 23 more to that figure, breaking the record for the most bungee jumps in one hour outdoors (20+ metre cord).
That’s an average of one jump every two and a half minutes!
Linda’s bungee bonanza took place on South Africa’s highest bridge, Bloukrans Bridge, 216 m (708 ft) above Bloukrans River.
This was an extremely taxing task, both physically and mentally, so it’s no surprise that the previous record of 19 had remained unbroken for 19 years. It was set by another South African, Veronica Dean, at the same location.
For Linda, bungee jumping is a big confidence booster and a way of overcoming fear.
Linda described her younger self as "quite fearful" due to coming from an abusive background and being raised in several different homes.
"I decided that I had to do something on a regular basis that put fear in front of me," she explained.
Linda decided that jumping from airplanes and bridges was the exact thing she needed. Skydiving and bungee jumping soon became her biggest passions in life.
"It very quickly became a lifestyle and it really does boost my confidence."
Linda prepared for the record attempt with the help of her coach, Eugene Eloff, who implemented a strict training regime to boost Linda’s fitness to peak levels.
Bungee jumping might not initially strike you as a physically demanding sport, but doing it non-stop for a whole hour requires a lot of core strength and cardiovascular fitness.
Despite putting Linda through her paces in the gym, Eugene acknowledged that the challenge was "90% in the head and 10% physical."
On the day of Linda’s official attempt, she showed no hesitation while harnessing up atop Bloukrans Bridge. As she stepped off the platform and hurtled towards the river below, arms spread like an eagle, her one-hour timer began.
After being quickly winched back up, Linda sprinted over to the platform to perform her second jump. She continued to make good time, arriving back on top after each jump with a beaming smile on her face.
Linda completed her tenth jump at the 23-minute mark, meaning she was on track to break the record if she maintained her pace.
However, a few jumps later, she began to visibly tire. The high altitude and non-stop jumping had worn her down, but adrenaline kept her going.
By the time she equalled the previous record, Linda was barely able to stand. Regardless, she continued on, determined to put the record beyond reach.
With just over a minute to spare, Linda completed her 23rd bungee jump.
Exhausted, Linda said afterwards, "All glory goes to my God. It’s because of him. Thank you to my husband and my kids. I’m just grateful. I need to puke in a minute."
She went on to thank her team, who were crucial in quickly pulling her back up to the bridge after each jump.
"We can do anything we put our minds to. It was awesome." – Linda Potgieter
Official Guinness World Records adjudicator Sofia Greenacre said, "it was really the epitome of record breaking."
"I’ve never seen anything quite like it and I think this record might have reached its peak now. It’s going to be really, really tricky to see it beaten."
Linda's record attempt featured on episode seven of Stumbo Record Breakers, airing every Sunday on e.tv