Bournemouth’s newest attraction the ‘PierZip’ is now open so we sent along a couple of Lets Go Out staff to give it a whirl and report back on the experience, here’s what one of them had to say…
To me most English Pier’s conjure up images of Victorian structures with not much to do but to sit and look out to sea. But here in Bournemouth the pier’s operators have brought it bang up to date with a great new thrill seeking attraction – a zip wire that sees you soar over the sea down to the beach below. And I agreed to go test it out, all for the purpose of research obviously!
Firstly you must sign a waiver, this is done electronically online and not with an old fashioned pen and paper. I’m not sure whether it’s nerves or adrenalin but my ‘mouse’ signature resembles a child’s first drawing and not my usual squiggle but after three attempts I’m happy.
After signing our lives away we make our way to the base of the tower where we are harnessed and helmeted up. As the tower has only been open a week the equipment is nice, shiny and new so it inspires confidence that it will hold me. Anyhow the maximum weight allowance is 120kgs and despite an over-indulgent summer I’m sure that I’m not that heavy!
It’s a glorious September afternoon (as is often usual here in Bournemouth) however there is a slight breeze in the air and as I look upwards at the oppressive structure towering over me I can’t help wondering that at the top it’s going to be windy. But no time to contemplate too much as the gate it opened and we’re giving the go ahead to start our assent.
Now apparently there are 84 steps to the top, plus platforms after every twelfth step or so, but I can’t confirm this as I was far too busy concentrating on my clockwise rotations spiralling upwards. The climb up seems to go on and on and as you can see through the steps to the pier and sea below it can be a little disorientating and unnatural but I have to admit that it’s all worth it as the views from the top are incredible. And as for the wind I must admit that I had initially forgotton all about it until I felt the structure move slightly! But the operators claim that the zip wire can be used in a range of weather conditions so the 9 knots blowing that day was just a mere breeze, it’s safe to continue!
However by now my legs were starting to feel a little light and my hands a tad sweaty. The crowd enjoying afternoon lunch and drinks at the Key West Restaurant below us look rather small, however they seem much more comfortable than me, after all I am about to jump off of a 60 foot platform into thin air, what’s comfortable about that?
Now the PierZip is dual line so you can ‘race’ friends to the beach, some 250 metres away. The lines are named ‘Bournemouth’ and ‘Boscombe’ – simple really with Bournemouth on the left as you look down and Boscombe on the right.
Myself and my colleague are hooked up, I can’t say I took much notice of what was being connected and where but at least it all sounded good and felt good!
We then debate briefly the best ‘take off’ action. You can try and take your weight but as the line is quite slack this is quite hard to do. Apparently some people crouch down into a near seating position to try and take as much weight as possible whilst others have actually sat on the edge of the platform and sort of ‘fall’ off! The braver ones simply step off or ‘leap’ off. I just seem to keep moving my hands up and down the ropes in front of me, undecided!
Apparently you can reach speeds of up to 30mph we’re told as the staff are given the go ahead to open the gates. Unfortunately you’re not allowed to ride the zip wire whilst under the influence of drink but at this particular time a shot or two would not go a miss! Nevertheless we both edge our way to the edge, the people in Key West now looking even smaller, as the go ahead is given for us to jump when we’re ready.
My colleague asks to be pushed off whilst I decide to half take my weight and sort of step/jump off. For an initial few seconds you feel like you’re falling then the ropes take your weight, which was actually a lot smoother than I’d imagined. I hear the Key West spectators cheer as we wizz over their heads and pick up speed as we descend. I feel brave enough to let go of the ropes as I spin around trying to take in the view as I go. The ride is very smooth and actually feels a lot faster than it looks from the ground. As we get lower the sea gets closer and the beach races up upon us.
The braking system kicks in which suddenly slows you right down and sort of throws you upwards and backwards as the staff attempt to grab you and hoist you back onto the landing platform. Not the most elegant of ‘landings’ but a landing all the same.
And with that my zip wire experience is over. My adrenalin is pumping and I’m on a high, to some adrenalin junkies who love bungee jumping and free falling the Bournemouth Zip Wire may seem tame but for me (and I’m sure many, many others) it was an exhilarating achievement.
We later work out that it took us approximately 24 seconds from top to bottom and at £18 a go for adults (£14 for 6 – 15yr olds) it equates to 75p a second. Not the cheapest of rides when considering the length of it but a totally thrilling experience and I’d highly recommend it. After all it is the only pier to shore zip line in the world and we’re lucky enough to have it right here in good old Bournemouth…..I just want to go do it all again!
Bournemouth Zip Line Video
Check out the view as you go down the Bournemouth Pier Zip Wire!
The PierZip is open to ages 6 and above however you must be at least 120cm tall to ride it and the minimum weight allowance is 30kgs. The maximum is 120kgs.
Long hair must be tied back and body piercings removed or taped over. Midriffs should not be bare.
No sandals or slip off shoes to be worn and all glasses/spectacles must be secured.
No loose items to be taken on the zip wire and any cameras or mobile phones must be secured.
Please wear clothing suitable for the weather.
You will not be permitted to ride the zip wire if you are or appear to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The PierZip can operate in a number of weather conditions but in the case of extreme wind, heavy rain or freezing conditions then the operators reserve the right to close the attraction.
Find out more by clicking here.