- Issue Time
This article focuses on how the hook-and-loop jump game is one of the most popular activities in New Zealand bars.
Hook and Loop jumping is a game where people wearing hook-covered suits take a running jump and hurl themselves as high as possible at a loop-covered wall. The wall is inflated, and looks similar to other inflatable structures. It is not necessarily completely covered in the material—often there will be vertical strips of hooks. Sometimes, instead of a running jump, people use a small trampoline.
Television show host David Letterman immortalized this during the February 28, 1984 episode of Late Night with David Letterman on NBC. Letterman proved that with enough of the material a man could be hurled against a wall and stick, by performing this feat during the television broadcast. This put the hook and loop fastener in the national spotlight.
Jumping goes beyond David Letterman, though. Amusement companies rent walls and jumpsuits for $400-$500 a day. It was also done on a regular basis in pubs in both New York and New Zealand, where it is a competition to see how high a person can get their feet above the ground. Jeremy Bayliss and Graeme Smith of the Cri Bar and Grill in Napier, New Zealand, started it after seeing American astronauts sticking to walls during space flights. They created their own equipment for the "human fly" contests, and sold it to several others in New Zealand.
The game moved to the U.S. after Sports Illustrated published a story on it in 1991. Adam Powers and Stephen Wastell of the Perfect Tommy's bar in New York city read of the game, and soon became the United States distributor of Human Bar Fly equipment. Wall-jumping now exists in dozens of New Zealand bars and is said to be one of the favorite bar activities there.