Entertainment

Nik Wallenda Readies For Thursday High Wire Act In Atlantic City

Nik Wallenda crosses Niagara Falls - Jun 15, 2012 (credit: GEOFF ROBINS/AFP/GettyImages)

Nik Wallenda crosses Niagara Falls – Jun 15, 2012 (credit: GEOFF ROBINS/AFP/GettyImages)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Millions watched in June as Nik Wallenda walked across Niagara Falls on a high wire.

Now he’s back and on Thursday, he will take a high wire walk over the beach in Atlantic City.

The 1,500-foot walk will begin at Sovereign Avenue and the beach, adjacent to the Atlantic Club Casino and finish above the beach at the Tropicana Casino & Resort.

He hopes to complete the walk in 27 minutes and use only a 24-foot-long balance pole.

WCBS 880’s Steve Scott spoke with Wallenda about the walk, including a major difference between the Atlantic City attempt and the Niagara Falls crossing.

LISTEN: Scott with Wallenda – The Full Interview

SS: Nik, I think the first thing I noticed about tomorrow’s walk, unlike Niagara falls, no safety harness this time.

NW: That’s correct. You know, Niagara Falls I wore a safety harness for the first time in my entire career, including training. Of course we train down low, but the reason why I wore it for Niagara Falls was because my network partner, ABC, demanded that I wear it, or they were going to not show it on the air live. And they were a huge financial partner of mine, and I had huge financial costs incurred by doing this walk, well over a million dollars, and without their support, it wouldn’t have been a reality. But this next walk coming up in Atlantic City will be the tradition of my family, and my own tradition, with no safety, over 1,300-feet-long and over 100 feet above the beach.

SS: What are your biggest concerns about this stunt in Atlantic City? You’re right out there in the open along the ocean. The winds could shift.

NW: Yeah, you know the winds are definitely the biggest concern. Those winds do change rapidly, right out in the open there, right on the beach and it definitely makes it for a very unique walk.

SS: You have been doing this for a long time. Do you still feel any fear, any trepidation, when you take that first step out onto the high wire?

NW: I wouldn’t call it fear, but definitely respect. There’s definitely a deep respect for that wire and for the fact that I am vulnerable at times, that it is dangerous. And again, I don’t consider it fear but a deep respect saying, “Look, I know this is dangerous. But I’ve trained very hard, and I know that I can make it to the other side safely and successfully because of all that training.”

SS: Nik Wallenda, you have three young children. Have they expressed any interest in going into the family business? Would you encourage them, discourage them, push them toward law school or medical school?

NW: Well, it’s funny you say that. I’ve got a 14-year-old, an 11-year-old, and a nine-year-old. All three of them already walked the wire, and all have performed, not on the wire, but have performed in front of an audience. However, my oldest wants to go to law school, and my middle son wants to go to medical school. Then I have a daughter that wants to be a ballerina.

Tomorrow’s high wire walk over the beach in Atlantic City is free to the public and scheduled to start at 3 p.m.