Have you ever heard of cliff diving? This insane sport involves literally jumping off a cliff, into the water.
As you might imagine, quite a few people have died in this pursuit. However, big events like the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series have made this niche sport much bigger.
There have been numerous cliff diving accidents, but it’s not that much more dangerous than popular sports like American football. We did a deep dive, and here is a very comprehensive guide on the fascinating sport of cliff diving.
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What Is Cliff Diving?
Cliff diving is literally exactly what it sounds like. It’s the simple act of jumping off a cliff, into a body of water below.
If you do it without any equipment, this sport is sometimes called tombstoning. If you do a jump with a parachute, this sport is called BASE jumping.
Cliff diving showcases incredibly bravery (diving from insane heights), along with acrobatics. Graceful dives from huge heights thrill audiences everywhere, and make for great YouTube videos.
How High Do Cliff Divers Jump From?
If you’re a competitive cliff diver, you are likely jumping from heights of 60 to 90 feet. Very good divers sometimes jump from 150 feet, in locations that warrant it (like Acapulco).
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How Deep Is The Water In Cliff Diving?
This is a very important factor when considering your next jump. At a minimum, on a very small cliff, you need to have water at least 8 feet deep.
As you go up in the height of the cliff, at 2 feet more of water, for every 10 feet of cliff. Additionally, you need to watch out for rocks under the water, debris, branches, and other obstructions.
What Is The Highest Cliff Diving Ever Recorded?
The highest cliff dive ever recorded was done by Laso Schaller. He did a cliff dive of 193 feet, on a cliff in Cascata del Salto, Switzerland.
While Schaller was very safe in his endeavor, this was still extremely risky. If you’re an amateur, do not cliffs with any real height.
Learning how to cliff dive safely is a long process. We recommend starting with a diving board at your local pool, and then slowly working your way up from there.
You want to avoid a scary free fall, but still make sure you get plenty of height. Some cliff divers will do a somersault, but you don’t need to start there.
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What Is The Highest Cliff Dive?
There were many great cliff divers, with plenty of impressive records. However, these were all dwarfed by Laso Schaller. He came in with a 193 foot jump - crushing all previous records.
Before his jump, Schaller took lots of care to prepare well. He had a platform built, which helped ensure that he would clear all the debris and rocks that may have been in his way.
Being as cautious as one might hope, his team also looked under the water where the jump was taking place, to make sure there were no obstacles or debris, and that it was actually safe to jump into that exact spot.
Schaller was also very experienced, before completing this jump. He was a gymnast, and now does up to 20 cliff dives a day - which helped him feel confident that he could pull off a world record.
Schaller was actually supposed to land in soft water, near the base of the waterfall below him. However, he dislocated his hip, by overshooting, and landing in harder water.
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What Is The Most Famous Cliff Diving Place In The World?
While there are multiple opinions regarding this topic, the most famous place for cliff diving is arguably in Bosnia. Stari Most, Mostar is an unlikely place for the best cliff diving - but it is reality.
The Stari Most bridge has been host to multiple Red Bull cliff diving competitions - and for good reason. Painfully, the water there is often freezing cold - making the jump even more torturous.
However, this location results in some spectacularly great jumps. The first jump (at least that was recorded) occurred all the way back in 1664.
Starting in 1968, there has been a yearly competition at this location. Believe it or not, cliff diving is one of the oldest extreme sports in the world.
Since it doesn’t require any equipment, you can do cliff diving from practically anywhere. Divers will be traveling up to 70 MPH when they finally hit the water, which means injuries are practically unavoidable.
The bridge in Mostar is about 25 meters high, but during competitions it’s actually an even higher jump. They add a diving platform, which adds at least a few feet of height - which means the jump is even more risky during competitions.
Compare this to the Olympics - which has divers jumping from just 3 to 10 meters. During the competition in Mostar, they throw ceremonial flowers into the river first, which helps to honor those who have lost their lives during wars.
Though you might not know much about Mostar, it is actually one of the largest cities in Bosnia. The river the divers jump into is called Neretva, and it runs right through the center of this historical city.
The Stari Most bridge literally means Old Bridge - and it was originally built over 425 years ago. It was sadly destorying during a war in 1993, but it was subsequently rebuilt, and opened again in 2004.
Interestingly, many of the original pieces of the bridge have now been repurposed to be seats for the spectators of the events. The city also has cobbled streets, which have amazing mosques, great restaurants, and kaleidoscopic bazaars.
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What Is The Most Dangerous Part Of Cliff Diving?
Well, for starters, you’ll be traveling 50 to 70 MPH, if you’re a serious cliff diver. This alone makes the pursuit dangerous.
The most commonly reported injuries are compression fractures, bruises, abrasions, spinal damage, and concussions. In short - nothing you want to mess around with.
As such, you will want to practice at much lower heights. You need to be an absolute expert - in every capacity - before moving to even moderate heights.
You need to perfect the technical parts of the dives, along with building the confidence to do higher jumps. If you don’t perfect things at low heights, you are very likely to die - or at least become seriously injured - if you jump from extreme heights.
What Is The Average Height Of A Cliff Diver?
The typical height of a cliff dive is between 55 and 90 feet. The world record is more than double this - at 193 feet.
Even the difference between 50 feet and 90 feet is significant. You’ll be going much, much faster if you’re jumping from 90 feet.
Even if you’re jumping from just 30 feet, you’ll likely hit the water at 30 MPH. As you go higher, this speed increases significantly.
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10 Best Products To Help You Cliff Dive
This awesome snorkel mask will work great, if you are heading into deep waters. Many lovers of cliff diving also love snorkeling, so this is a perfect option.
It’s also backed by a metric ton of five star reviews, so you can feel comfortable making a purchase. We can’t recommend this mask enough - it is a true essential for anyone enthusiastic about water.
These swim goggles are perfect for anyone who loves the water. You can wear them in the pool, the ocean, or anywhere you like.
They are extremely well-reviewed, and they will work well, no matter where you go. There are more expensive choices, but for most people, these are a perfect option.
If you’re serious about water, and want great photos, Romina Amato a great choice - and you’ll look extra stylish for those pics, in this fantastic swim cap. Even if you just swim laps at your local pool, this is a perfect choice for you.
This cap is also very affordable, which made us love it even more. The black color was our favorite, but there are lots of color options available.
This insanely great diving computer is perfect for those who go deep. It can do everything with just one button, and is perfect for beginners.
We also liked that this computer was well reviewed, and offered tremendous value for the price. If you’re serious about the water, this is a great purchase.
This awesome scuba diving flashlight can withstand pretty much anything. While you may not need it for short dives, it is an essential for deep dives.
It’s also backed by a ton of great reviews, meaning you’re far from the only one who has bought it. We also liked the universal USB charger, as well as the 2 year warranty.
This awesome diving watch is almost indestructible. You don’t need to be diving to wear it, as it looks stylish no matter what you’re doing.
It’s also very low cost, so you don’t have to spend much to get it. We truly recommend this watch to anyone who loves the water - it will be in your collection for years.
Extreme sports have rapidly gained popularity over the last 20 years, but deaths like Brexten Green’s continue to highlight the need to be safe. While not directly related to cliff diving, snorkel fins will help you stay safe in any body of water.
These fins are also well reviewed, which made us feel confident in buying them. If you love the ocean, these are a true must-have.
If you want to listen to tunes in the water, check out these awesome waterproof earbuds. While you will still need to be gentle when you jump in the water, these earbuds are super fun.
They’re also affordable, which we absolutely love. And in case you’re still on the fence, they’re backed by a ton of great reviews.
Any time you go in the water, you need a very solid wetsuit. This awesome one from O’Neill will work for surfing, as well as cliff diving - even if it’s your first time.
A good wetsuit will not only protect you from cold water, it will also help you retain body heat. Grab this one, as it’s backed by a metric ton of five star reviews - so you can feel confident making a purchase.
This awesome rash guard will make going in the water a breeze. We love how affordable it is, and how good the quality is.
It feels very durable and sturdy, plus it protected us very well during testing. Backed by a ton of great reviews, it’s clear we’re not the only ones who love this product.
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The Bottom Line On Cliff Diving
There you have it, all the facts on cliff diving. We hope this comprehensive guide was useful for you. Locations like Grand Lake, Boston Harbor, Hawaii, Oklahoma, and even Kansas have all been used for high diving.
While cliff diving is not yet an Olympic sport, other sports like skydiving are similar, and are rapidly gaining in popularity. There is hope that as more and more YouTube subscribers check out cliff diving videos, the sport will gain the popularity needed to become an Olympic sport.
Even if you’re not Ellie Smart, you can still do a ton of fun cliff diving (or cliff jumping, if you prefer). Red Bull’s popular Seaport event is a good one to check out on YouTube, for inspiration - or you can just head directly to your nearest cliff - just be sure to be super careful, and prepare the proper way.
If you liked this epic guide, be sure to check out some of our other ones. And don’t forget to like us on social media - so we can keep spreading the love to other adrenaline junkies.