Cliff Diving Tips from Blake Aldridge
Standing on the end of the 28-meter platform is a feeling of complete concentration, immense fear, nerves, adrenalin, and excitement. It is the hardest thing to keep all these emotions under control, but this is how you don’t freak out.
Most divers start normal diving first: 1- and 3-meter spring boards that bend and bounce. Divers will learn to dive spin and twist from all these heights. There are very few however, who decide to enter into a whole new world called cliff diving.
Most lead-ups are done from a 10-meter platform, but only a piece of the dive can be perfected at that height. There’s an 18-meter jump to the cliff diving platform, with no lead-up boards in the middle. You must be sure in your body and mind that the rest of the dive you haven’t been able to perfect is clear and you can visualize it before attempting it from 28 meters.
This is one of the reasons it can be so dangerous.
With Olympic diving, the only and best way to enter the water is head first, completely vertical with as little splash as possible. Cliff Diving is very similar, but you always go feet first, again completely vertical with as little splash as possible. The reason for the feet-first entry is that the impact in to the water is far too great for a head-first entry. The arms, neck, and shoulders just can’t take it. (Photo Credit: Roy Hessing)
When you leave the platform there seems to be a complete calm as you’re flying through the air, as if your body has taken over and your mind is on auto pilot. It’s an amazing feeling that only lasts for a split second. After this comes the entry, where you must spot the water and brace yourself for what can only be described as the biggest impact your body will ever feel; it’s like a shock wave from head to toe. Then the feeling of excitement, relief, and the joy that you’re still ok and able to do it again hits you as you start to come up from the bottom of the ocean.
Never think it’s easy, never attempt to dive if your mind is not feeling completely clear, and never think you are invincible. (Photo: Emily Breslin)