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How to safely perform a cliff dive somersault

Whether you’re escaping an evil villain or simply showing off, a cliff dive is an impressive feat. British cliff diver Gary Hunt, who is competing in the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series on 22 May (Redbull.tv), explains how to safely perform an impressive plunge.

  1. “Remember, before doing a cliff dive, practise by starting with a small dive in a swimming pool with appropriate facilities and instruction. When you move on to a cliff dive, make sure the water is four metres deep in a large area by snorkelling around the landing site. Start with your feet right on the edge of the platform. Some divers curl their toes over the edge so they can push away better. Keep your chin up but with your eyes at a 45-degree angle down so you can see the water below.”
  2. “When you dive off, you need to time a thrusting jump forwards with your legs with a throwing motion with your arms to create the rotation in the air.”
  3. “To continue the somersault, adopt the tuck position by raising your knees and rotating your body as you fall. Then, when the somersault is complete, use your core strength to rebalance your body and adopt the vertical position ready for landing. Long before you approach the water, your body should be almost completely vertical.”
  4. “Enter the water feet first. You want your feet to be at a slight angle, as if you’re standing on your tip toes, to break through the water more easily. Your arms should be pressed to your body. Keep your body tight or the water will split your legs apart, which will be painful.”