Taipā's new bridge had been officially opened for less than an hour before locals were doing backflips into the river below.

Originally the design for the two-way, $19 million bridge included a facility for the time-honoured Northland summer tradition of doing bombs — the art of creating as big a splash as possible when jumping off a bridge.

Safety concerns, however, prompted a U-turn by the NZ Transport Agency, which ditched the jumping platform in favour of a lookout.

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That, however, is unlikely to discourage local youth, especially on a sweltering day like Monday.

Associate Transport Minister Shane Jones had barely finished declaring the bridge open before 16-year-old Ella Bijl, from Taipā, was putting it to the test with a series of backflips.

Ella said the new bridge was a major improvement on the old one.

''It's harder to get over the rail but it's higher and it's much better. It's more stable too — the rail on the old one was a bit rickety.''

Sixteen-year-old Ella Bijl from Taipa does a backflip off the new bridge. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Sixteen-year-old Ella Bijl from Taipa does a backflip off the new bridge. Photo / Peter de Graaf

With years of experience of jumping into the Taipā River, she said the water was deep and she had no safety concerns.

She also noted exit steps had been built on the riverbank so jumping was clearly expected.

Luke Bijl, 17, shared his sister's confidence.

''I reckon they're trying to wrap us in cotton wool. There's risks to everything,'' he said.

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Friend Helen Wasey, 16, had another compelling argument for bridge-jumping.

''There's not much else to do in Taipā anyway,'' she said.

As of Monday there were no signs banning jumping, only signs warning of submerged objects.