Cliff Diving questions

I’ve watched some of the Red Bull competitions, while flipping tv channels, in recent years. I really enjoy it, as I’ve always loved watching the 10m platform competition in the Olympics. The cliff divers are amazing athletes, and incredibly brave. And they are all genuinely fans of each other and cheer each others’ successful dives.

I noticed that the dives from the highest height are always feet-down. I assume that head-first is just too dangerous? Also, there is a team of about 5 people in the water that consists of at least a couple of rescue divers. They seem to position themselves extremely close to the landing spot of the dive, and immediately surround the diver after entry into the water. It seems very dangerous, as sometimes the diver lands within 5 feet of one of the rescue divers. Any reason why they need to be so close? I feel like a slight mistake from the diver could potentially lead to a bad collision.

To put it in perspective, the record for cliff diving is 192 feet. The Golden Gate Bridge is 220 feet above the water, and (morbid fact warning) those who jump off of the bridge usually die on impact with the water. Once you get to the extreme heights of cliff jumping, if you hit the water wrong, there’s a good chance you’re dead. If you’re lucky, you’ll only be horribly injured.

You are correct that head first would just be too dangerous. Cite:

From here: Cliff Diving Tips from Guys Who Know - Seeker

Some additional relevant info:

From here: Cliff Diving Safety | HowStuffWorks

From the videos that I have seen, the scuba divers look closer than they actually are when the view is from the side. When they show top-down views of the dives, the scuba divers are far enough away that there doesn’t seem to be much of a risk of collision.

From a platform, your trajectory is pretty much going to be the same unless you really mess up your takeoff. You can land in a correct or incorrect orientation, but the point of impact isn’t going to change very much, unlike from a springboard. So the chances of a diver going off course and hitting a rescue swimmer is pretty unlikely.

Wide World of Sports used to show the Cliff Diving Champions in Mexico. As the saying goes, in cliff diving you have two categories, champions and the guys on the rocks.

I guess the other issue is that the dive entry isn’t as visually appealing with the rescue team so close. It would look much nicer if the diver was shown alone. Perhaps the idea is that every seconds counts? I have seen some bad dives that resulted in an unconscious diver, but not sure if the rescue team being a few more feet away would make any difference. Also, are all 5 or so people in the water rescue divers, or do some have other functions?

It takes more than 3 seconds for a diver to hit the water from those heights; plenty of time for an observant swimmer to get out of the way.

IIRC they also have to time their entry with the peak of the wave to avoid the bottom-I know that has been a consideration at the Acapulco site.

That’s pretty much the only place that has that restriction. None of the other high dive competitions or exhibitions I’ve seen have that worry. Certainly none of the Red Bull competitions.

Actually, in Olympic diving, you can enter feet first, as long as you do at least one somersault before doing so. (You can also do a “forward dive,” which is 1/2 somersault, head first - e.g. a jackknife would be a “forward dive, pike.”) I would guess that the reason you don’t see anyone actually go in feet first is, you have more control over the entry head first.

On the other hand, going by the FINA scoring tables, in “high diving,” all dives must hit the water feet first. Also, it is a penalty if either arm is raised above shoulder level at landing.

Oh, awesome user handle/topic combination BTW.

There are actually Emergency Room data from San Francisco to support this…

I used to have a page-a-day calendar about how to survive various scenarios. One page was about how to jump into water from a tall height. One point that stood out in my mind: make sure to clench your buttocks to prevent water from entering you and causing severe internal damage. :eek:

Back in the days of the infamous Action Park*, there was a “cliff jump” that I now estimate to be less than 10 meters. Anyway, I was in middle school on a class trip and took that leap. My legs were in the exact wrong position when I hit the water, and I felt a pain in my groin area so bad that I had to check to make sure that I hadn’t lost any of my very important parts. It was worse than what I felt after getting hit with a baseball in the same area after a bad bounce, so I vouch for the damage that could occur. I privately believed I was sterile for a while, and actually mentioned it to my ex-wife before we got married. Luckily my kids proved otherwise.

*Action Park became the subject of a documentary that was eye-popping. I remember going there once a year and almost no one in my group ever left without at least some minor injury. After that documentary, I’m surprised that we were so lucky that nothing major ever happened.

I’ve done some 5-meter and 10-meter platform diving. Let me tell you, even from 5 meters, if your hands are positioned wrong when you hit the water you’ll get a painful smack on the head.

Around here, you aren’t even allowed on the 10 meter platform unless you are a member of a diving club or training to dive under supervision. Hitting the water wrong from 10 meters can really injure you.

I can’t imagine what 50 meters would be like.