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How To Take a Flying Leap

Red Bull cliff diver Steven LoBue talks you through a 90-foot dive. Try not to break your neck.


Photo: Richie Hopson / Red Bull Content Pool
 
Join A Circus
“The main places for cliff divers to start out are traveling stunt shows at fairs or theme parks. You’ll climb up a 100-foot ladder and jump into a small pool, and from there divers will go, OK, what’s my next chal­lenge? You start adding the technical maneuvers once you’re comfortable with the height.”
 
Know Your Place
“There are so many external factors to consider in these exotic locations. Swirling winds will push you around like a rag doll. Ocean swells can change hundreds of hours of practice in an instant. Shallow waters have almost cost a diver his life by snapping his femur like a twig.”
 
Go Mental
“Before bed every night re-create how the dive feels emotionally. Your nervous system will kick into overdrive, your heart speeds up, so practice calming yourself down. I’ve frozen on the platform. If something bad crosses your mind, you have to reassess what you’re doing. Keep thinking positively.”
 

Photo: Naim Chidiac & Romina Amato / Red Bull Content Pool

Go Higher
“It seems counterintuitive since you’re already 90 feet in the air, but a stronger takeoff has a high correlation with a vertical entry. A wimpy takeoff will affect your ability to do all the flips and twists, and you’ll only have a split second to figure out how to make the best of the situation.” 
 
Feet First
“Keep your legs together and your arms straight down to break a hole in the water. And land as vertical as possible. Once I was a few degrees off and cracked my tailbone. Water can turn into concrete at the wrong angle.”