To pinpoint the first Cliff Diving competition in history would be like a dog trying to pin down it’s own tail, take it out back, and bury it under the pine tree. But if I were to use my artistic license (which I frequently will), I’d claim the first as the tale of King Kahekili, Birdman of the island, and how he challenged his warriors to follow him off a 20 meter cliff to prove their strength and allegiance to the monarchy. A full blown competition in my book.
The 21st Century
For several decades, films, television shows, and onstage entertainment have provided divers the next step and adrenaline outlet they desire after perfecting the standard high dive practice. All around the world, high divers find opportunities to take new challenges with shows like the Indiana Beach Resort and Cirque du Soleil, or work as stunt actors on screen. Each diver of the USA Cliff Diving team has used the entertainment business as a way into higher dives, keeping a routine training schedule, and pursuing the dream to create a passion project to expose the world.
The Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series
In 2009, Red Bull took the initiative to create a world series competition that would allow a select number of athletes from around the globe to participate and have a shot at becoming a world champion.
Starting in Texas, US this season, the locations are scattered around the earth, each cliff as beautifully dangerous as the next.
The dives are between 26m and 28m high, each competitor having 4 chances to dive and score points that eventually cumulate into final scores for the entire series. Dives are broken up into nine categories: front, back, reverse, inward, front and back twists, reverse and inward twists, and armstand dives.
Judging is based on a point system, introduced in 2012. The top six athletes pre-qualify for the following year’s world series. More about judging and ruling of the World Series will be revealed in a later installment of this series.
While the men of the USA Cliff Diving team are falling into the public eye a little more every season, there is still a lack of education about the sport, causing a lack of financial support, limiting the exposure and possibilities.
“The 4 of us started the USA Cliff Diving Team in order to better promote our sport, educate our fans, and realize our craziest and wildest dreams. We aim to organize our own competitions, bring cliff diving to the public, and create content from the most beautiful and epic locations on the planet, showcasing the beauty, freedom, and fun that cliff diving embodies.” - David Colturi
If you’d like to help the team continue to perform all over the world and receive the recognition they deserve, please make a purchase with The Frynge, where 10% of your purchase goes directly towards supporting the USA Cliff Diving Team and their efforts in expanding the future of this sport.
Joseph Miller is a freelance writer based in Richmond, VA. He received his BS in Creative Advertising from Virginia Commonwealth University. In between writing editorials and content pieces, Joseph is currently training for his first half marathon, though his love for snacks may stunt his performance. www.josephhuntermiller.com