Cliff Diving

OK, so you would think a bunch of blokes wearing speedos and diving off a few earthen ledges into water is pretty lame right?

Well I have to admit I would usually think the same… however this is not the first time I have photographed cliff diving and hopefully won’t be the last.

These blokes are mad!!! (And amazing) … and have bollocks of steel (or maybe titanium)

The usual high dive platform is 10 metres… but cliff divers scoff at such measly heights. These aerobatics specialists launch from up to 27 metres in height, twisting, turning and spiralling their way towards a damned hard slab of water at 100km/h before somehow straightening up to punch through the surface feet first in a perfect form of aerial ballet.

Photographing such a unique sport is both rewarding and challenging.

Working with vertical cliff faces, hanging off ropes, finding the right angle and capturing the right moment (at perfect extension) is all a balancing act (excuse the pun)… but a fun game to play and when you get it right, you get some gold.

Of course when I get it wrong, I just miss the shot, but should divers get it wrong… at best it will mean a blown out pair of speedos (yep, the water entry speed is enough to simply rip em off and yep, it has happened before!), but at worst it is a rapid trip to hospital (or in the case of Aussie diver Joey Zuber… a multi day trip with a shattered leg and without painkillers in a 4×4 on rough bush tracks through the back of Columbia because at the time the cocaine producing rebels were shooting at the helicopters… but that is another story)

… and back to Oz – Here’s a taste of what went down on Australia’s Hawkesbury river last month:






I reckon there might be room for adaptation from the budgie smugglers into something more along the lines of lycra shorts or bike shorts (with the added


About inciteimages

A magazine recently profiled my life and pretty much hit the nail on the head: Australian adventure photographer (and occasional journalist) Mark Watson is a liar. He suggests his job is “not so glamorous,” but drop him an email and his ‘out of office auto response’ will inform he’s heli-skiing New Zealand or trekking Patagonia. In downtime he surfs and mountain bikes Sydney’s Northern Beaches or can be spied drinking café latte’s on the beachfront when he should be editing photos. He’s a Nikon Ambassador and Red Bull Australia’s No.1 photographer, and after a few Corona’s, admits, “I photograph cool people, in cool places, doing cool things!” Quickly followed by the disclaimer “It’s not always exciting…” But always said with a mischievous grin. View all posts by inciteimages

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