Cliff divers have no margin for error; maybe that’s why they put on such a good show. But what does it take to hurl oneself off a 28-meter platform into the water below? We asked two top cliff divers—2008 British Olympian Blake Aldridge and Purdue All-American David Colturi—their secrets for executing the perfect dive.
For Blake, it’s all about mentality, letting your body take over and enjoying the ride down. David offers practical tips for a successful dive.
Cliff Diving Tips from Blake Aldridge
On the platform, you feel a mix of concentration, fear, nerves, adrenaline and excitement. Keeping these emotions under control is difficult but crucial to keep from freaking out. Only one part of the dive can be practiced by doing 10 meter lead ups. Be sure that you can visualize the rest of the dive before attempting it from 28 meters.
Hit the water feet first, completely vertical with as little splash as possible. The impact is far too great for the arms, neck, and shoulders to take. In the air, let your body take over and put your mind on auto pilot. Before entry, spot the water and brace yourself for the biggest impact you will ever feel. Then enjoy the excitement, relief, and the joy that you’re alright and can do it again. Never think it’s easy, never attempt to dive if your mind is not feeling completely clear and never think you are invincible.
Cliff Diving Tips from David Colturi
Use relaxation techniques before trying a high dive; visualize performing the dive correctly and concentrate on your breathing. Before leaping from the top, make sure your dives and entries are solid from lower heights. Don’t overthink the dive; let muscle memory take control and enjoy your flight. Break the surface straight up and down on your feet, squeezing your muscles to produce a “rip,” entering the water with no splash and a piercing noise. Never bail in the middle of a dive. Even with a bad take off, try to finish as much of the dive as you can to find the water and put your feet down.