High-Wire Daredevil Amazes Crowds at Atlantis, Paradise Island

Sunday 29th, August 2010 / 18:50 Published by

Nik Wallenda, of the famous Flying Wallendas circus family, looks sure to break his own Guinness World Record after safely cycling along a wire strung between the Royal Towers at Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas.

Wallenda pedaled more than 31 metres across a precarious wire, at a height some 79 metres above the resort – without a safety net.

Wallenda currently holds the Guinness World Records for longest distance and greatest height traveled by bicycle on a high wire, set in 2008 in Newark, New Jersey, when he travelled 72 metres at a height of 41 metres.

Once this new stunt is verified by Guiness, Wallenda will have broken his own world record for the highest bicycle ride without a safety net.

Hundreds of tourists and resort workers gawked from pools and footpaths, snapping pictures and shooting video.

“It shows you the agility, balance and intestinal fortitude that these people have.  It’s phenomenal, incredible, a gift of balance,” an amazed observer said.

If that wasn’t enough, Wallenda later performed a second high-wire stunt on foot, walking about 610 metres at a height of 76 metres over the resort’s open-air marine habitat, teeming with sharks, barracudas and piranhas.

Spokesman Winston Simone said it was the longest distance Nik has ever travelled by foot on a wire.

Before the second stunt, Wallenda’s father, who usually rigs the wire and walks along with him on the ground, passed out with heat stroke and was carried off in an ambulance.

The father is said to be in good condition, and Wallenda’s mother and wife strung the line instead.

Wallenda, known as the “King of the High Wire”, didn’t stumble a bit during either performance, despite winds measured at 51km/h and scattered thunderstorms looming overhead.

“Against all odds I walked on that wire today,” Wallenda said. “There was lightning in the area, high winds, and it was the first walk without my father. It was one of the hardest decisions I ever made in my life, and the hardest walk I have ever done.

“But my family history and my family tradition is that the show must go on,” he added.

Mr Wallenda, a high-wire daredevil, belongs to the seventh generation of The Great Wallendas – a family of acrobats, jugglers, clowns, aerialists and animal trainers who began working as a circus troupe in the 18th century.

A native and resident of Sarasota, Florida, Wallenda is the great-grandson of circus legend Karl Wallenda, who fell to his death during a wire walk in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 1978.

Wallenda, 31, said he hopes to keep performing on the high wires until he is no longer physically able.

“I want to be the first person in the world to walk across the Grand Canyon,” he said, “and I have the permit to do it.

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