Cliff diving

Face-First Cliff Diving into the Adriatic Sea

Split is a city in the Croatian region of Dalmatia, on the eastern shores of the Adriatic Sea, centred on the structure of the ancient Roman Palace of the Emperor Diocletian and its bay and port. Sportsmen are traditionally held in high regard in Split, and the city is famous for producing many disciplines´ champions. Residents of Split prefer to call their city "the sportiest in the world". Besides many other outdoor activities you can embark on while in Split, you can taste (surprisingly perhaps) also cliff diving as did the author of the following piece.
22. 3. 2014

Cliff Jumping Face-First into the Adriatic Sea

The first time I heard about Cliff Diving was when I was reading that particularly charming part in the 2nd book of the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. The idea behind it seemed rather silly to me… Jumping off a cliff to be able to hear your absconding vampire ex-boyfriend’s voice… Real smart. But the jumping itself… I was quite intrigued. Cliff jumping is exactly what the name suggests. You stand at the edge of a cliff, and throw yourself off it, thankfully into a water body- a sea or a river, lake etc etc.

Years passed and I found myself looking at a flyer stuck on the wall of a hostel in Split, Croatia. Kayaking and Cliff Jumping, it said. I’ve always wanted to try these things, but somehow never got the opportunity to do so. Traveling gives you a chance to try different things, especially if you’re traveling alone. All these ‘extreme’ sports? No one would have ever let me do it if I was with unlike-minded people. I was alone, and there was no one to hold me back (muahahahaha) so I quickly decided to sign up before I chickened out.

A few hours later, I, along with 10 other girls, 1 guy and 2 instructors, from Split Sea Kayaking (reviews), clambered up the cliff we were about to jump off of. We had kayaked all the way there (almost an hour in the sweltering sun and terribly sore arms) and so were quite looking forward to plunging ourselves in the cold water.
The instructors and the first two or three people jumped off one by one, making it look effortless and absolutely delightful. All of them flew with a ‘Whooooo’ and landed elegantly in the water, feet first. Then it was my turn (I may or may not have let several people go ahead because I kept getting cold feet, but I’ll just leave that for you to decide).

Everyone was constantly hooting and cheering for everyone else. It was absolutely adorable to see the pair of best friends jump together. There was even this slightly physically handicapped girl who managed it just fine. Naturally, I felt quite reassured and even managed to build up a good bit of confidence in my presumed ability to jump like them too.

But, wait… Has anyone else heard of Mr Murphy? You know, the famous Murphy’s law- When something can go wrong, it will… That one? All the adrenaline whooshing through my body and all the smart-ass comments I had already formed in my head and planned to make later to make others jealous couldn’t stop me from falling ‘splat’ (that really is the most appropriate word I could think of) into the ‘sparkling blue waters of the Adriatic sea’.
So while this is how the others jumped…

…this is what I managed to do…

It still hurts when I think about it.
But would I trade this experience? Not for the world. My second attempt was not much better either (how I could be the ONLY one messing up is still beyond me). But those few moments of standing high up on that cliff, that anticipation just before jumping off, the few seconds of flight (and the rather impressive photo later)…
It’s a wonder my face didn’t explode.
Have you ever tried this sport? Did it go like mine   , or did you manage to be normal? Misery does love company, so make sure you tell me your experiences in the comments!

by Surya Bhattacharya

22. 3. 2014

Back to summary