8. The Ocho: 💦 Cliff diving, explained
Welcome to Cliff Diving Week, where we'll be taking you inside the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series — a multi-stop tour that takes divers all across Europe.
Cliff diving dates back nearly 250 years to the Hawaiian islands. Since then, it has evolved into a sophisticated sport with global competitions — none bigger than the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, which has been running since 2009.
How it works: Divers jump from platforms ranging from 85 to 92 feet. So go find the nearest building, climb up to the eighth floor and look out the window: that should give you an idea of what it feels like to be a cliff diver.
- Five take-off positions: Front, Back, Reverse, Inward and Handstand. From there, divers perform a wide variety of twists, flips and tucks before landing in the water with the smallest possible splash.
- Five judges score each dive based on (1) take off, (2) position in the air and (3) entry into the water using a scale of 0 to 10 in half-point increments.
By the numbers: Divers are in the air for about three seconds and will reach speeds in excess of 60 mph when they hit the water — an impact of 5 Gs, which is right around the limit of force that a normal human body can withstand.
- Season format: At each of the seven Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series stops, male and female competitors perform four dives over the course of two days.
- Season scoring: The diver with the highest points total from all four dives wins the tour stop and is awarded 200 points in the season standings (second place gets 160 points, third place gets 130 points, etc).
Go deeper: Scroll down on this page to see animations of all the dives currently used by men and women.