Cliff-diving is a sport that seems to go against our human nature. It defies all sensibilities to leave the safety of a solid surface to put your two feet and fate into the nothingness of air. The only thing separating you from death and dismemberment are the crashing waves that await feet below, and what you hope will act as a cushion instead of your downfall.
So why does any sane human partake in such a sport? That’s a question many Patriots football fans are asking after star quarterback Tom Brady took a risk off the football field, over a waterfall and into a lake 50 feet below:
It’s a rush of adrenaline that puts life and limb on the line, but it’s those few seconds midair that result in the purest form of freedom. If you’re ready to take a leap of faith like Tom, check out these intense and crazy-beautiful cliff-jumping spots:
La Quebrada Cliffs, Acapulco, Mexico |
Maybe leave this one to the professionals. Since 1934, the La Quebrada Cliff Divers have performed daily shows for the public that highlight their death-defying leaps from the 115-feet high cliffs and into the sea below. The show extends past dusk when the daredevils make the ultimate trust fall through the dark air and into the awaiting waters with nothing but a torch to light the way.
The process for the divers begins with luck and a prayer at the shrine of La Virgen de Guadalupe. Her figure is carved into the cliff-top platform, offering her guardianship to those about to plunge off the peak. Then with a glance to the waters below and a carefully timed jump the show commences.
Still need proof this cliff-jumping spot is for pros only? The waves swell to 11 feet, the safe depth, for only five seconds. It takes three seconds to reach the water, leaving leapers with only two seconds of room for error.
ShutterstockPositano, Italy |
Italy, with its abundance of craggy cliffs, is an ideal destination for thrill seekers to throw themselves into the air and land in the waters below. Italians are raised from a young age to partake in the pastime of cliff-diving. For centuries the tanned youths have been spending their time under the hot Mediterranean sun, double daring one another to jump from greater and greater heights.
Positano is the perfect Italian village to embrace the culture of cliff-jumping. The scene is picturesque with its location along the Amalfi Coast. Follow the cut-out walkways along the cliff to climb the face and find your ideal jumping-off point. The water waiting for you below is inviting and warm, enveloping you in an experience you’ll want to repeat over and over again.
Ord River, Kimberley, Australia |
Australia’s cliff-jumping spots differ from those in other countries as it’s not the seashore that makes for the ideal sheer drops. Instead, the inland rivers and lakes provide the necessary scenery of breathtaking bluffs, gorges, waterfalls and peaks that provide the essential height for an epic drop.
The amazing views are as abundant as the prime leaping locations, jumping sites varying in height up to 84 feet. This remote and rugged region of Down Under is one of the least densely populated places on the planet. This means you have all the room in the world to splash and explore.
ShutterstockKahekili’s Leap, Kaunolu, Lanai, Hawaii |
Take a jump from where it all began. Cliff-diving and the adventure sport it’s evolved into got its start at Kahekili’s Leap, where the king of Maui made lele kawa into an art form. Lele kawa is the act of leaping feet first from a cliff into the water, with the goal of avoiding any splashing.
King Kahekili would use this feat to test the loyalty and bravery of his warriors. As oceanside cliffs were considered the meeting point from where dead souls entered the afterlife according to the ancient Hawaiians, this meant every completed jump was a defiance in the face of death both literally and figuratively.
Legend says the king would climb this rock on Lanai’s south shore in the early mornings, making the plummet through 200 feet of air to the waters underneath. It’s an act that’s made even more death-defying when you factor in the rocky base that extends outward for 15 feet and that there’s only a cushion of 10 to 20 feet of water before hitting the jagged ocean floor underneath. Today this test has turned into an adventure for modern day water warriors, but only the most skilled should attempt.
ShutterstockPonte Brolla, Switzerland |
This lake has been deemed a superior cliff-diving location, the European Cliff Diving Contest and the World High Diving Federation both hosting competitions at this tucked away locale. The platforms range in heights from 23 to 66 feet, from which the adventuresome show off their twisting and flipping dives. The lake is set within a stadium of stony walls, serving as the perfect setting for finding your own jumping off point or watching in awe amphitheater style.
Rick’s Café, Negril, Jamaica |
Rick’s Café has become an institution, and not just for the piña coladas they serve up. Negril has some of the best beaches in the world and the water is such a clear blue you’re tempted to take a sip of it. The star attraction however is its location perched on a cliff.
With the highest cliff being a manageable 35 feet, many visitors try their first go at cliff jumping here. The locals whom have been diving here for years though have found a way to take it up a notch. The most skilled daredevils make bold dives from the very tip tops of the trees on the edge of the cliff.
It’s a long way down. These are the 9 Places People Fall to Their Deaths, But Live.
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