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What flies through the air, hits the wall - SPLAT - and stays

January 17, 1992 GMT

NEW YORK (AP) _ What flies through the air, hits the wall - SPLAT - and stays there? No, not an insect, unless you count barflies.

The latest nocturnal game to hit the New York bar scene is called Velcro wall-jumping.

″It’s sort of like parachuting in reverse,″ said Bob Ouelette, who recently was initiated to the game at Perfect Tommy’s, a bar on the Upper West Side.

Contestants don lightweight zippered jumpsuits covered in the back with Velcro strips. They get a running start, jump off a mini-trampoline, execute half a forward somersault and then land - if they do it right - upside down on a Velcro-padded mat hung on the wall.

The object is to land with your feet as high off the ground as possible.

The world record is 12 feet 8 inches. It was set at the Cri Bar and Grill in Napier, New Zealand, which held the first human fly contests last summer. The bar’s management created the Velcro wall-jumping equipment and sells it.

Stephen Wastell, bartender at Perfect Tommy’s, read about wall-jumping and told the New York bar’s owner, Adam Powers, about it. He loved the idea, contacted the New Zealand bar and arranged to become the U.S. distributor of Human Bar Fly equipment.

He and Wastell have sold the equipment - at $4,000 - to a few party promoters, a television game show and a Long Island bar.

Fittingly, Wastell holds the U.S. wall-jumping record: 11 feet 4 inches.

One of the first Velcro wall-jumps was executed seven years ago by David Letterman on his late-night comedy show, when, as a goof, he put on a suit with Velcro loops and jumped into a Velcro wall.

″I guess it’s another of those yuppie experiences,″ said Madison Gulley, who frequents Perfect Tommy’s. ″What else is there to do after a few cocktails but jump against a Velcro wall?″