Cliff diving – description and maximum height of jumps

16th FINA World Championships photo: russportimage

Cliff diving is a kind of diving that takes your breath away. Jumping into open water take place from a great height, so they are decided only by the most daring and prepared people.

This type of sport is actively developing, experienced swimmers participate in competitions of world importance, gathering a lot of fans of this risky and spectacular diving.


High diving (another name for cliff diving) is a sport that requires a sheer rock (as the word “cliff” is translated from English), under which open water is poured, with a depth of 5 meters. There are many similar places on earth, each of which captures its beauty and risk. There are sporting events, during which the most daring and advanced divers compete in skill.

“Cliff” and “hai” are two types of diving, differing very conventionally, therefore applied on an equal footing. High-diving involves diving from specially built forests, and cliff diving involves diving directly from the rocks.


The history of cliff-diving begins in Hawaii, the sheer cliffs of which seem to be created for diving into the water. This entertainment appeared many years ago among the locals, similarly competing in courage and courage. For many decades, this ritual has been used to confirm the maturity of young men.

Such diving was common in the Balkans, whose inhabitants jumped into the water from a bridge that is 20 meters high.

At the beginning of the 20th century, all references to cliff diving disappeared to reappear in the 80s. Years. At this time, the athletes united in interest groups, going to the picturesque corners to make risky jumps. The American Wardle, who conquered the height of 37 meters, achieved significant results, a little later her record was broken by a Swiss citizen who dived into the water from a height of 53.9 meters.

In 1996, this area of sport takes on official features, in Switzerland created the Federation of Hi-diving, which gathered under its wing professionals and fans of the sport.

For more than a decade this type of diving had no official calling, but in 2009 the first World Series was held under the auspices of Red Bull GmbH. And in 2013, the Cliff Diving Championshipwasheld, with strict rules on the highest altitude of diving: women – from a 20-meter cliff, men – with 27 meters.

Every year the number of stages is increasing. For example, in 2015 there were already 8. In 2016, the prizes were taken by citizens of England, Russia and the United States.

Differences from jumping from a tower

Jumping from a tower and cliff-diving have no fundamental differences. Both types of sports are to perform a trick in strict accordance with the established rules.

Common are the criteria for assessing jumps:

  • Technical indicators
  • Literacy of completed figures;
  • moment to enter the water.

The distinctive features of cliff-diving from the usual diving from the tower:

  • The height of the jumps performed is twice the maximum possible parameters of Olympic disciplines: for men from 22 to 27 meters, for women from 18 to 23 meters;
  • The speed that is developed at the time of entry can range from 75 to 100 km/h (for example, with a tower 10 meters high, this speed is only 50 km/h);
  • The depth of the dive can reach 4.5 meters, which is 1.5 more than during the jump jump;
  • The time the diver is in flight is 3 seconds, which is twice the size of a normal dive;
  • The entrance to the water with your feet down;
  • Competitions only in open spaces;
  • The force of the body’s impact at the moment of contact with water is 9 times more powerful than during the jump from the tower.

If a swimmer enters the water incorrectly by jumping from a cliff more than 20 meters high, he may get injuries comparable in severity to a fall from 13 meters.

16th FINA World Championships photo: russportimage

Features of diving

There is a misconception about the simplicity of such jumps, but in reality it is more difficult. Among the adherents of cliff-diving are newcomers and amateurs, virtuosos and professionals. They are not difficult to isolate from each other at least on the technique of execution (for example, beginners jump exclusively in the pose of “soldier” without producing additional tricks). Experienced divers always show risky elements, and enter the water head down.

The maximum height of the jumps depends on the level of preparedness of the athlete and can exceed 30 meters.

Difficulties in performing tricks:

  1. Dive into the water, passing with serious overloads, requiring the preservation of the vertical position of the diver’s body. Otherwise, a person may be seriously injured.
  2. Difficulties in calculating the dive trajectory arising from the high altitude of the jump.
  3. Planning acrobatic tricks that show no more than 3 seconds.

Beginner divers hone their skills without tricks, and professionals can perform during the flight from 3 to 7 elements.

The Cliff Diving Federation has developed a single list of jumps, which describes 149 of their varieties, as well as the specifications of acrobatics and features of athletes entering the water.

To cliff-diver could determine the estimated point of landing, a jet is used, departing from the firespot. And for insurance work specially trained divers swimming nearby and at the first need able to get the diver out of the water.

The best places to jump

Cliff diving is a leader among other sports in its entertainment. A special highlight is added to it by the picturesqueness of the surrounding landscapes.

The most spectacular jumps are performed on:

  • Jamaica: Rick’s Cafe;
  • Hawaii: Kahekili’s Leap;
  • Australia: Ord River;
  • USA, Vermont;
  • Canada: Horseshoe Lake;
  • Ireland: Serpent’s Lair.

Particularly interesting is the diving, which occurs in the water, with sharp rock formations located below it. The athlete has high risks of collision with them and instant death.

16th FINA World Championships photo: russportimage

To enjoy the skill of cliff-divers, you can go to such countries:

  • Krabi Island, Thailand: Here the jumps are performed among the picturesque rocks, rugged caves and rich waterfalls;
  • Kimberley’s neighborhood in Australia: this area is characterized by multi-level cliffs and gorges;
  • Santorini Island in Greece: the alluring beauty of turquoise waves and medium-height elevations from which divers perform dangerous stunts. There are more newcomers, because professionals work at more serious heights.

What’s so appealing about cliff diving?

The man who has chosen Cliff Diving, undergoes a lot of training, preparing his body for this risky event:

  • Jumping in the pool from towers of different heights;
  • familiarity with the basics of acrobatics, twisting and flips;
  • Increased personal stamina;
  • strengthening the muscular corset.

All these measures are necessary to ensure the safety of a diver entering the water at a speed of 100 km/h, which requires full muscle tension to maintain an even body position. Any mistake can cause serious injury.

In addition to physical training, psychological training is important. A person diving into the water from a high rock, fights with himself, his own fears and emotions. Control of the latter allows you to execute the plan as accurately and safely as possible.

Why is this type of diving so attractive? The jump, performed by a diver, causes the release into his blood of a large amount of adrenaline and a steady increase in blood pressure. And such emotions are experienced not only by the athlete himself, but also by the spectators watching his work. The instant that lasts the jump is the result of years of hard training, allowing to achieve perfection.

Cliff divers are in danger:

  • wind gusts that disrupt the chosen trajectory and cause traumatic situations;
  • loss of coordination, with irreversible consequences;
  • lengthening the time of performing tricks that prevent you from getting into the water correctly.

One failed jump can, if not kill a person, then forever turn him away from the sport. Therefore, there are no more than 100 professionals in the world.

Cliff diving competitions

The real connoisseurs of diving from the rocks do not stop neither danger, nor risk, nor fear. Especially for these people, as well as connoisseurs of spectacular sports, there are competitions that are very popular.

In cliff-diving, it’s hard to predict a winner. Any athlete can perform a jump with incredible trick elements and land so accurately that in an instant will become a champion. That’s why hundreds and thousands of people are flocking to the venues for the annual competitions.

Rock jumping competitions are organized under the leadership of the International Federation of the sport, which is completely autonomous. This organization conducts world and European stages called the International Cliff Diving Championship.

In addition, red Bull is called Cliff Diving World Series. Since 2013, there has been a World High Diving Championship. The first was held in Barcelona, the second in Kazan, where the bronze medal was awarded to the Russian – Artem Silchenko.

Separately, it is worth noting the World Cup in Cliff Diving, which gathers only eminent athletes, whose jumps are amazed by their riskiness and honed movements. In 2015, the representative of the Russian Federation took the first place, beating the famous favorites.

How are jumps rated?

Cliff diving competitions are held in strict accordance with the developed standards and requirements for jumping and stunt elements.

Estimates are put in this way:

  • Five people, each representing their country, are judged by the competition;
  • Separately, the technique and complexity of the elements performed are evaluated separately.
  • The rating system has 10 points.
  • The step can be 0.5 and 0, 25 points;
  • during the calculation do not take the smallest and greatest indicators, there is a summation of the remaining points with the multiplication of the result by the factor that determines the difficulty of the jump.

Judges assess diving according to these criteria:

  1. The quality of the jump: the height of its implementation, the athlete’s initial position, strength and angle of conduct, body position at the moment of jolt is analyzed.
  2. Performed figures: flips, rotations, flips and other acrobatic elements, as well as the placement of limbs at the time of its implementation.
  3. Entering the water: the verticality of the body’s location, the position of the hands, deviations from the original trajectory and the number of sprays created.

If an athlete makes mistakes, he is assigned penalty points. Complexity is assessed by a factor that consists of several components. Its basis is the height of the rock from which the jump is made. Judges push away from it, assessing the duration of the flight and the number of figures made by the diver.

Cliff diving is still in the amateur niche, so its development goes in small steps. High-diving can become a mass sport only if it is classified as an Olympic discipline. But the people who perform jumps from the sheer cliffs are real professionals, receiving adrenaline and giving the audience a storm of emotions and indescribable beauty spectacle.

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