New Zip n Dip ride tests your mettle

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Weve all seen them: Photos of men and women hitched to a cable high in the air, gliding over a valley, a canyon or a river to welcoming arms on the other side.

But have we ever considered what goes into building a zipline before seriously considering riding one?

Denise and David Carswell, owners of Princeville Ranch Adventures on Kauai, launched their Zip N Dip Expedition a little over a year ago after a year of constructing the zipline.

David and his crew would hike down one side of a valley with the cable, haul it across the valley floor and hoist it up the other side, Denise Carswell said. Then they would use trucks and tractors to pull the cable until it stretched across from the anchor poles at each end. Each zipline is engineered and constructed to exceed all industry safety standards.

Even so, the ride can be frightening for first-timers.

Many people sign up for the expedition only because their spouse or friend wants to do it. Its obvious when they check in that theyre reluctant; in fact, some of them are terrified.

Denise Carswell, co-owner of Princeville Ranch Adventures, Kauai, takes a glide on one of the outfit's ziplines.Carswells advice is to let go of inhibitions and feel what its like to fly.

For those who want a trial run, theres a 175-foot-long line that runs just 25 feet above ground. Participants can get a taste of whats to come on this practice zipline, Carswell said. If they decide its not for them, they dont have to continue.

If they do continue, Carswell said that 99% of them come back ecstatic.

They have a sense of accomplishment because they went out of their comfort zone, she said.

Adventure lovers of all ages (a few people over age 80 have ridden the Zip N Dip, Carswell said) cruise along lines that range in length from 300 to 660 feet. The length of the line, wind conditions and the zippers weight, height and body position determine the speed and duration of each ride. On average, participants glide at 35 mph for 15 to 45 seconds.

Daring zippers can boost the wow factor by adding spins and swings to their crossings.

To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to [email protected].

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