Extreme Hot Tubbing, Anybody?

photo of suspended hot tub
photos courtesy SWNS Group
photo of suspended hot tub

They'd summitted great peaks. They'd scuba-dived in some of the world's most dangerous seas. Suspended hot tubbing was clearly the next step.

Thierry Bieler, Jean-Christophe Boillat, Pierre Cauderay, Dominique Weibel and Nicolas Weibel are leaders of the jaccuzzi.ch association, a group of extreme hot tubbers with a long history of pulse-pounding achievement.

While soaking at great height is their latest feat, the last 10 years have seen a regular succession of hot tub projects for the group. From tubbing in the middle of a lake, to doing it deep in a cave, they never work on a boring project.

To that end, on Oct. 1, 2011, the jaccuzzi.ch association successfully suspended a hot tub from Gueuroz Bridge in Switzerland. Gueuroz Bridge is one of the highest bridges in Europe with 600 feet of extremely non-supportive air between the span and the ground. The hot tub was hung a mere 130 feet below the bridge, leaving the group of 23 people with the distinct possibility of a rapid 470-foot descent should any one of them slip on wet acrylic near the spa's edge.

So how does a group prepare for such an amazing feat? Lots of practice. The project began with a test run in the backyard. They designed a rotating platform that they hung low to the ground from a strong tree.

The basin of the tub is made the same way in all of their projects, plywood for the walls and a plastic sheet to keep it waterproof. The platform, on the other hand, was something new. A flat surface had to be created, which was then suspended using cables. These cables accounted for "300 percent of the security factor," says Boillat.

After a smooth test run at home, it was time to put the "astounding" factor into the project. The group had three basic requirements for tub placement: 1) it had to be high, 2) it had to be free of traffic, and 3) it had to be technically achievable.

The Gueuroz Bridge was the perfect venue — the highest bridge in Europe (at the time of its construction) with an aside bridge for traffic.

After the platform was built and suspended, the water was heated with gas in a temporary basin on the bridge and pumped through a 120-foot pipe to the hot tub below. Each person had two climbing ropes with which to make the descent. All that was left was good times and hot soak with friends.

Boillat says that the main goal of their association is to encourage friendship through imagination and unusual activities.

"For the five of us that are the founders of jaccuzzi.ch, the best sensations are found when we give ourselves a new challenge related to an 'almost impossible Jacuzzi,'" Nicolas Weibel adds.

To check out this project and other extreme projects, visit jaccuzzi.ch.

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