West Wales in noted for its natural beauty and in particular it’s coastline. I was lucky enough to be born and brought up here, it is quite stunning in fact. One of the more famed areas is the ‘’blue lagoon’’ at Abereiddy beach which is an old quarry which has now filled up with water which has a very unique turquoise tint. Along with the towering walls which surround the lagoon it is quite airy. This weekend the Red Bull World Tour Professional Divers are here for the second year in a row. They are jumping off a specially assembled ramp near the top of the lagoon, from an eye watering height of 27 metres! To put that into perspective, Olympic divers jump from 10 meters! Not only do they dive, they perform radical acrobatics on the way down before getting into position (either head or feet first) into the icy water. They reach speeds of 55mph on the way down and come to a grinding Holt in just 4 metres once they hit the wall. They are only allowed 5 dives within 24 hours due to the stress it places on the body.
As I stood at the top of the grass littered cliffs looking at the Irish Sea from the hills of Wales I was simply taken away by these guys. They are athletes of the absolute highest calibre. Whatever the discipline or sport I always try and take something away from people like this, adding wisdom and experience to my mind-set.
With every jump having a very real ability to break a bone, their neck or even kill them the level of concentration required is simply immense. These aren’t just a group of adrenaline junkies who will do anything for a thrill. There is a great deal of skill involved and a large part of this mastering the mind and overcoming nerves. Any athlete can relate to this whether it is a rugby player taking a kick to win the match, a footballer steadying himself in a penalty shootout or an MMA fighter remaining calm before a championship fight. It sure goes to show that to be our very best we need to be complete masters of our mind. Food for thought there.
For me getting under a squat rack with twice my body weight weighing down on my shoulders makes me nervous because it has the potential to cause me damage if I don’t concentrate properly. Mental preparation is at the heart of everything, especially sport and exercise.
As a final note, these guys clearly value the use of warming up and warm downs. They are ultra-flexible, they take care of their bodies and do everything they can to keep them healthy. They have to due to the fact they are so close to the limits. However, more people should do this who train recreationally to avoid injuries from occurring.
Cliff diving isn’t for me (I hate heights!!) but it sure has taught me something valuable.