Cliff & Bridge Jumping - How To Jump Safely
Well, you’ve probably seen it done in movies and wondered what it felt like. If you’ve got some daredevil inside you and are itching to try it out but weren’t sure how to go about doing it safely, here are 8 tips to keep you out of harm’s way when seeking the thrill of jumping off cliffs.
8. Practice first at your local swimming pool
7. Make sure the water is deep enough
The safest way is to pick a well known jumping location where other people have already jumped successfully in the past. Talk to the locals, tourist staff, and experts who have jumped there before to find out anything special you need to know about the water depth in that spot. It also wouldn’t hurt to swim under the area with some goggles to take a look yourself.
Also remember that many factors may affect the depth of the water. For example, at La Quebrada, one of the most famous cliff jumps in Mexico where only professionals are allowed to jump, the dives can only be done at high tide and the diver must hit the water when the incoming wave is at its highest point. This is obviously an extreme instance but is an example nevertheless of factors that may affect your jump.
6. Make sure the landing zone is safe
5. Check the cliff or bridge for obstructions
Ideally you will have a clear path to gain momentum to jump outward from the cliff, clearing yourself of the cliff face and any other obstacles before landing in the water.
4. Have a clear exit
If cliff jumping into a river, be aware of the current. For example, at this particular jump (photo below) off of an abandoned railroad bridge located in Semuc Champey, Guatemala, the river underneath had a strong current. Once you landed, you had to start swimming immediately to shore. Even as a decent swimmer, I drifted downriver quite a ways before reaching the side. If you were already fatigued before jumping and then have a rough landing which disorients you, problems could occur trying to exit the river.
3. Concentrate on technique – Jump feet first and maintain good body position
The best method is to jump feet first, using the ‘pencil dive’ technique. Keep your feet pointing downward and your body as tight, compact and vertical as possible. This limits the point of contact when impacting with the water. Breathe out before impact to prevent water going up your nose.
Contrary to popular belief, you are not cushioned by the water below. In fact, if you land wrong, it will feel like hitting a brick wall. Anyone who has landed roughly in water will tell you the same.
Depending on the height from which you’re cliff jumping, you will reach speeds from 25 mph up to 45 mph when hitting the water. That’s why your technique is so important.
2. Be physically and mentally prepared
Visualize the jump and be confident in your abilities. If you are not, then don’t attempt the jump. The worst thing you can do is be less than enthusiastic about the jump and not execute properly because you are not focused.