How Cliff Diving Works


Cliff Diving Tips

If you're overcome with the desire to experience the thrill of cliff diving, follow these tips to improve your chances of swimming out unharmed:

  • Start low and slow. Before you head to the cliffs, practice the pencil dive from high-dive platforms at a swimming pool. In a pencil dive, you strive to make your body as slim and straight as a pencil. Jump feet first with your arms held tightly to your sides and your feet pressed together and pointed downward. This minimizes the surface area that strikes the water, reducing the force of impact.
  • Use the buddy system. Don't dive alone.
  • Explore the water. Before diving, swim around your landing area to check the depth of the water and search for any obstacles.
  • Plan your exit. Before you plunge into the water, plan where you'll get out and how you'll get back.
  • Dress for success. A wetsuit adds a layer of cushioning between you and the water. Skip the water shoes, though, to reduce the surface area of the first body part that makes impact with the water.
  • Keep it simple. You need to enter the water in a straight, vertical line. Any deviation from this toes-first, narrow-entry position risks injury and assures increased pain. Midair flips and twists can send you askew, so leave those to professionals.

For more information on cliff diving, see the links on the following page.

Related HowStuffWorks Links

Sources

  • ABC Sports. "Wide World of Sports Highlights -- 1960s." ESPN.com. (Accessed 12/30/2009)http://espn.go.com/abcsports/wwos/milestones/1960s.html
  • Castro, Marysol. "Cliff Diving Daredevils Take on the Sport of Hawaiian Kings and Warriors." ABCNews.com. November 8, 2009. (Accessed 12/30/2009)http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Weekend/highs-lows-cliff-diving/story?id=9024936
  • Cramer, John G. Professor of Physics, University of Washington. Email interview, 12/30/2009.
  • Crowell, Benjamin. Newtonian Physics. Light and Matter open source physics textbooks. (Accessed 12/29/2009)http://www.lightandmatter.com/html_books/1np/ch03/ch03.html
  • Extreme Angles Publishing. "Cliff Diving in Jamaica." ExtremeAngles.com. (Accessed 12/31/2009)http://www.extremeangles.com/home/jamaica/cliffdiving/cliffdiving.shtml
  • Fearless Planet. "Introduction to Cliff Diving." Discovery Channel. (Accessed 12/29/2009)http://dsc.discovery.com/tv/fearless-planet/adventure-sports/cliff-diving/cliff-diving.html
  • Glen Canyon Natural History Association. "Lake Powell Safety Bulletin -- Cliff Diving." Glen Canyon Natural History Association website. (Accessed 12/30/2009)http://www.glencanyonnha.org/lake_powell/lakepowell_safety.php
  • The Physics Classroom. "Introduction to Free Fall and the Acceleration of Gravity." (Accessed 12/29/2009)http://www.physicsclassroom.com/class/1dkin/u1l5a.cfm
  • The Red Bull Cliff Diving Series 2009 Media Service. "Cliff Diving Heroes in Portrait -- Orlando Duque." Red Bull Cliff Diving Series 2009. May 26, 2009. (Accessed 12/29/2009)http://www.redbull.com/cs/Satellite/en_INT/Article/CLIFF-DIVING-HEROES-IN-PORTRAIT---ORLANDO-DUQUE-021242744501328?p=1238874343857
  • The Red Bull Cliff Diving Series 2009 Media Service. "The Central Element." Red Bull Cliff Diving Series 2009. September 11, 2009. (Accessed 12/29/2009)http://www.redbull.com/cs/Satellite/en_INT/Article/The-Central-Element-021242780440233?p=1238874343857&pageOrigin=+RedBullAU
  • The Red Bull Cliff Diving Series 2009 Media Service. "The Heroes." Red Bull Cliff Diving Series 2009. April 6, 2009. (Accessed 12/29/2009)http://www.redbull.com/cs/Satellite/en_INT/Article/THE-HEROES-021238874376287?p=1238874343857&pageOrigin=RedBullIE
  • The Red Bull Cliff Diving Series 2009 Media Service. "The Hunt is Over as the Duke Sneaks Home." Red Bull Cliff Diving Series 2009. September 20, 2009. (Accessed 12/29/2009)http://www.redbull.com/cs/Satellite/en_INT/Article/The-Hunt-is-over-as-the-Duke-sneaks-home-021242781499782?p=1238874343857&pageOrigin=+RedBullAU
  • The Red Bull Cliff Diving Series 2009 Media Service. "Water World." Red Bull Cliff Diving Series 2009. Video. September 4, 2009. (Accessed 12/31/2009)http://www.redbullcliffdiving.com/cs/Satellite/en_INT/Video/Water-World-021242778965331?p=1238874343857
  • Timex. "Timex History." Timex Business to Business. (Accessed 12/30/2009)http://btb.timex.com/html/company_history.html
  • Vacations Made Easy. "The La Quebrada Cliff Divers of Acapulco, Mexico." VacationsMadeEasy.com. Destinations. (Accessed 12/29/2009)http://www.vacationsmadeeasy.com/AcapulcoGR/articles/TheLaQuebradaCliffDiversofAcapulcoMexico.cfm
  • Welcome to Croatia. "Red Bull Cliff Diving Series 2009 Dubrovnik." Welcome to Croatia Travel Guide. (Accessed 12/31/2009)http://welcome-to-croatia.com/red-bull-cliff-diving-series-2009-dubrovnik
  • World High Diving Federation. "WHDF European Cliff Diving Championship, Gola del Lupo, Bignasco/Cavergno Maggia Valley, Ticino, Switzerland, 26-26 July, 2008." WHDF.com. July 2008. (Accessed 12/29/2009)http://www.whdf.com/events/Press%20Release%20European%20Cliff%20Diving%20Championship%202008.pdf

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