I’ve jumped off several cliffs in my life, and I’ve felt extreme pain after some of those jumps, but the thrill of doing it again always wins over the potential pain I might feel afterwards. Actually, it’s only really painful if you do it wrong.
How can one jump off a cliff wrong? You may inquire. Well, you can flail around like a fish out of water, you can lean too far back, you can flap your arms like a feather-less bird, and most dangerously, you can not be sure of what‘s in the water you’re jumping into.
I’ve had my fair share of bruised butts, unwanted enemas and nostril flushings, lost bikini tops, and underwater surprises (jumping into a nest of baby jellyfish, and another time hitting the rock bottom), and took them all into account before my little cliff jumping excursion last weekend in Santa Anita Canyon. It was the first time I didn’t come out of the water in pain, which made it all the more fun to do it again and again!
So before you go jumping off cliffs, take a peak at these little tips I’ve acquired from a few fails in Corfu and Cabo, and my recent “professional jumps” in California!
1. Watch Other People Go First
Drinking wine while observing other people jump first
Common sense says not to be the first person to jump off a cliff, but adrenaline and excitement say, “Me, me, me, I wanna go first!” It takes a lot for me to sit and watch other people do fun stuff, but I was a mature adult last weekend, and decided to have my sandwich and wine first while gauging the expressions of other people after they jumped off the cliff in Santa Anita Canyon.
It took most people a while to muster the courage to even jump off of the smaller one (about 20ft) then when they finally did they came out unscathed and giggling their asses off. That indicated that the jump wasn’t too bad, and that there was nothing in the water to potentially injure me. The 50ft drop next to it got a lot different expressions after someone would jump…I did not jump off of that one.
2. Look Down, Then Don’t Look Down
The more you look down, the more you’re going to freak out about how high it is. BUT it’s important to look down at first to make sure nothing is below you that you might jump on, like a rock, or small child. After the coast is clear, stop looking down. Take a step backwards and do a one-step-jump keeping your eyes forward.
This not only makes it more fun because you feel like you’re momentarily flying, but it also keeps you from getting slapped in the face by the surface of the water.
3. Keep Your Legs Closed
I don’t know how much you know about gravity, but you definitely want to avoid it when you’re jumping feet first into water. As soon as you jump, get your feet together and keep your legs straight like a pencil. This will avoid unwanted water shooting up into your body, and it will also avoid you accidentally butt flopping or landing at a weird angle.
4. Keep Your Arms Up
Arms are the hardest thing to control when you’re jumping off cliffs, because they have the innate reaction to try to fly when you’re falling from a high place. You cannot, in fact, fly, so it’s best to remember that and try to keep your arms up by your head. I found that it gave me better balance, and kept my body from tilting backwards, which usually ends up with a painful back-flop.
It also keeps you from slapping your arms against the surface of the water which can cause a stinging sensation and ugly redness. The only other arm position I would recommend besides up, is holding onto your bikini top so it doesn’t fall off.
5. Hold Your Breath
Didn’t hold my breath, so lots of water went up nose
If you’re screaming on the way down, or gasping because you’re scared, it’s going to be really hard to remember to hold your breath. You won’t drown or anything if you forget to take a big breath before the big plunge, but you will end up getting water painfully shot up your nose and ears.
I usually am gasping when I jump, so usually end up with a shit ton of water in my brain that leads to painful sinus pain, so if you can’t remember to hold your breath either, you might want to try just holding your nose.
Alyssa is a full time solo adventure traveler who turned her love for traveling and writing into a self-made career as a travel blogger and social media influencer. She's been to 70 countries and 6 continents so far, as well as all 7 New World Wonders, and 7 Wonders of Nature. Alyssa believes she has mastered the art of chasing waterfalls, traveling solo, packing light, wine drinking, and making budget-traveling look good. Curious to know how she started this career? Check out the About section above!