Extreme sports are…extreme. (Easy enough statement, right?) You are talking about doing something that; A), you most likely shouldn’t do in order to see tomorrow; or, B), proving to your friends that you actually ARE crazy.
From scaling walls to slacklining above the Vegas Strip (and don’t even get me started on the bungee jumping over crocodiles just waiting for the dinner bell to sound); extreme sports have become hugely popular. They also come along with danger, very high blood pressure, an adrenaline rush that could cause a heart attack, and more. In addition, each of these extreme sports come with massive equipment you need to buy, techniques you must learn, research, practice (hopefully), and a web of other issues you need to deal with.
So what if you want that adrenaline rush but don’t want to spend money on technology or equipment or lessons (or a healthcare plan that will allow you to actually survive)? Well…there is one that is completely uncomplicated. It is a sport that is still extreme and will give you all the adrenaline you need, but no equipment has to be purchased…although the healthcare plan is still something you should think about.
This sport is called cliff diving; and it is exactly what it says it is. Although seen as suicidal, cliff divers will tell you that the sport is not like jumping onto Wall Street from your apartment up on the tenth floor. After all, there is water beneath. And as long as you don’t slam your face, head, or body into a rocky outcrop, you should be just fine.
Some people love the feeling of simply free-falling through space. With no heavy equipment, wires, or special clothing to wear, you can simply run and jump off a cliff in order to soar like Superman (although, unlike him, you need to worry about gravity).
Just as it is with other extreme sports, championships where cliff divers compete in order to see just how high and how far they can go, do exist. An even though cliff diving is not an Olympic sport, it did actually derive from high-diving which is part of the Olympic Games.
Believe it or not, the first person to ever actually dive off a cliff was royalty. It was back in the late 1700’s that the King of Maui (the last one they ever had), soared off Kaunolu, a 63-foot cliff. Much like the well-trained Olympic divers, this royal one apparently entered the sea without a splash. This is where he got the name “Birdman,” and he was so into cliff diving that the man actually made his warriors jump too. Apparently, back then, this was the only way the King could know that his ‘men’ had the courage they needed for any showdown that might be coming.
Not many stories came about after this time period with the Birdman King. The most modern episode of cliff diving actually came in a commercial. It was in the 1950s, when the company, Timex, used a cliff diver in order to test a watch they were trying to sell. They wanted it known that even if YOU were dumb enough to throw yourself off a cliff and perhaps not make it, your Timex would keep on ticking.
Then, the International Cliff Diving Championship appeared in 1968; after that, competitions, events, championships, groups, organizations – you name it – the cliff diving ‘enterprise’ was founded.
So as those of you out there travel around the globe looking for the ultimate height to freefall from, you can have peace in the fact that even though your cell phone won’t make it, the coroner can always count on your Timex to prove time of death.