It’s a bird . . . it’s a plane . . . it could be you!
Now there’s a way to take to the skies in Guam that doesn’t take a big bite out of your budget. ZipGuam offers a fun, family-friendly opportunity to zip above the grounds of the Guam Hilton Resort & Spa in Tumon, and glimpse sparkling Tumon Bay and beyond.
Zip lines have actually been around for more than 100 years, and are also known as a flying fox or aerial runway, and have been used as transportation systems in mountainous countries. Similarly, a zip line system can be used to transfer cargo or personnel between two ships.
Today’s popular recreational zip lines are drawn from the Tyrolean traverse, a mountaineering method of crossing open space on a rope suspended from two points, which was also called an “inclined strong” by H. G. Wells in The Invisible Man, which he published in 1897. Who knew mountain climbers were having so much fun back then?
ZipGuam president Trevor Takasu said that the recently opened Guam business grew out of his 2010 visit to Fiji’s largest island, Viti Levu, and the chance to try ZipFiji.
“When I went to Fiji on my (video travel) show a couple years ago, I did the zip line. And the owner out there who built it wanted to do something elsewhere, so we joined forces,” Takasu said.
After securing local land use and other permits, engineering and design work began in March of this year, Takasu said. A series of concrete pedestals were constructed along the perimeter of the Hilton grounds to support the steel platforms and poles used to suspend the twin stainless steel braided cables along the six segments of the zip line.
“We had all the steelwork prefabricated in Korea, the poles, the platforms, the cables. It took a couple of months to build everything. Each pole weighs about three tons. It’s all shipyard steel,” he said.
The total cost of the project, which opened for business on Sept. 1, was about $450,000.
Takasu said ZipGuam appeals to riders of all ages, although they must be at least 5 years old.
“Some zip lines in other places go for the high-adventure, hundreds-of-feet-in-the-air thrill-seeker market,” he explained. “We tried to build in a way that it was good for everybody. And the families have enjoyed it so much. It’s a good starter for people who’ve never done this kind of activity.”
At ZipGuam, customers don safety gear including a harness, leather gloves and helmet and watch a short safety video before walking a short distance to the first platform. Assisted by ZipGuam staffers, riders are hooked to the twin cables and pushed off into the air toward the next platform.
“It’s not something you finish in a few seconds, and you’re done. We wanted a bit more of an experience,” Takasu said. “We have two separate courses, one on the mountain side, one on the ocean side, so you’re walking between them and having a bit of a break. It takes a total of 40 to 45 minutes to get around.”
Resident and military rates are $25 for kids, $30 for teens and $40 for adults. Certain weight and size restrictions may apply.“Younger kids seem to have a great time,” Takasu said. “Last year in Fiji, an 88-year-old woman tried the zip line. It’s really for everybody.”
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