Diving from a cliff can be a lot of fun, but it’s also dangerous. Without proper technique, hitting the water can feel like hitting a brick wall. Here’s how to do it safely:

• Always dive with buddies who can help if something goes wrong.

• Scout your dive. You’ll want to work up to higher dives, so look for cliffs with multiple options. Avoid jumping too close to waterfalls; currents and undertows can make swimming dangerous.

• Check the depth of the landing area—15 feet is a minimum. And make sure whatever you’re jumping off is stable.

• If you’re jumping feet first, jump up and away from the cliff face. Use your arms to help steady your body in the air and keep your eyes on the landing. Just before hitting the water point your toes, squeeze your legs together, press your arms to your side and straighten your back with your head up.

• For dives, start small and work your way up as you gain confidence with your technique. Again, jump up and away from the cliff with your arms moving from your side to over your head in time with your jump.

• Before hitting the water, stiffen your body into an arrow with your arms against your ears and your chin tucked in. To protect your head from impact, you want to hit the water with the palms of your hands first. To make your hands bombproof, grab the back of the hand that will hit first with the other hand.

• After hitting the water from a jump or dive, remain straight until your speed slows down. Swim to the surface and away from the landing zone.
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