How Cliff Diving Works


Announcer: Welcome to Stuff You Should Know from howstuffworks.com.

Josh Clark: Hey, and welcome to the podcast. I'm Josh Clark. With me is Charles W. "Chuck" Bryant. We're a couple of writers for howstuffworks.com. When we sit down in front of these mics, though, it becomes Stuff You Should Know.

Chuck Bryant: We tear open our shirts and there's a big SYSK on our chest, tattooed.

Josh Clark: Um-hum. That's exactly right, Chuck. Chuck?

Chuck Bryant: Yes?

Josh Clark: Have you ever jumped off a cliff?

Chuck Bryant: I have indeed.

Josh Clark: You have?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, the rock quarry in Sparta. Do you ever go there?

Josh Clark: No.

Chuck Bryant: I've jumped off of that one. That was pretty high.

Josh Clark: There was a rock quarry in Toledo that I never went to - actually it was in Whitehouse, Whitehall, Bowling Greene - somewhere around there. I never went. My dad was certified as a scuba diver there, though.

Chuck Bryant: Oh, really?

Josh Clark: Yeah, they put something in a bus that was sunken at the bottom of it. And he had to go get it out to prove that he could in fact scuba dive.

Chuck Bryant: Wow.

Josh Clark: Yeah. Sounds creepy, doesn't it?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah.

Josh Clark: I myself have never jumped off a cliff.

Chuck Bryant: I love it.

Josh Clark: Is it thrilling?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, it's fun.

Josh Clark: How high was it?

Chuck Bryant: I think I'm probably overstating it like everyone probably does when they do this kind of thing. But it seemed like it was probably about 40 or 50 feet.

Josh Clark: Wow.

Chuck Bryant: It was high.

Josh Clark: Yeah, that is high.

Chuck Bryant: And actually, there's a place at the Chattahoochee that I used to do it, too. But that was like 25-30 feet.

Josh Clark: Well, Chuck, you have a hairier chest than I do because I've never jumped off a cliff. But I have been to Acapulco before.

Chuck Bryant: Well, you've got me there.

Josh Clark: Did you read about these guys?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, the La Quebrada divers?

Josh Clark: Nice. I think it's nice that you bring that extra accent. You don't have to bring an accent and you do anyway.

Chuck Bryant: I tried. That French dude emailed us this week and he said he appreciated it.

Josh Clark: Oh, nice.

Chuck Bryant: With my French.

Josh Clark: Like de plan?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah. He's like I'm totally wrong, but he thought it was funny. So yeah. La Quebrada?

Josh Clark: Yeah. It's pretty cool. These guys are jumping off of the highest cliffs that anybody routinely jumps off of in the world.

Chuck Bryant: Did you see it?

Josh Clark: I did.

Chuck Bryant: Oh, I didn't know you'd actually witnessed the performance.

Josh Clark: Yeah. I mean, you can't go to Acapulco and not see it. I believe its daily.

Chuck Bryant: Right.

Josh Clark: Except maybe Sundays, but I could just be making that up. But the guys, they jump off of something like 148-foot cliffs.

Chuck Bryant: That's crazy.

Josh Clark: Yeah. Which - what is that in meters, Chuck?

Chuck Bryant: Josh that would be about 45 meters.

Josh Clark: Okay, nice. Thanks for that. You are just a walking calculator, you know that?

Chuck Bryant: Well, it's written right in front of me.

Josh Clark: This is an enormous cliff. This is what - a 14-storry building? Isn't a story like 10 feet?

Chuck Bryant: I think so.

Josh Clark: Yeah, so they're jumping off of 14-story buildings into water. It's like a little inlet. And they're on one side and then you're on the other with railings so you don't try jumping off.

Chuck Bryant: Right.

Josh Clark: And these guys just start jumping. There's 10 or 15 of them.

Chuck Bryant: Wow!

Josh Clark: They do it every night. And actually, it was started by a 13-year-old boy back in 1934.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, that's what I hear. And I will pronounce his name as Enrique Apac Rios.

Josh Clark: Very nice. So this little boy started this tourist attraction, and what has arguably become one of the cooler extreme sports as well.

Chuck Bryant: Oh, heck yeah.

Josh Clark: But the story goes back further than that, correct?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, but I just want to point out. We're on the 15th floor. So this is ballpark, within about 10 or 15 feet of where those guys -

Josh Clark: Yeah. Let's go look out the window. Wow. Okay. Now, that's high.

Chuck Bryant: Jerry's giggling. She's either going to cut that out or leave it in, one or the two.

Josh Clark: Yeah, we'll find out, right? That is very high.

Chuck Bryant: That is real high.

Josh Clark: Yeah. I mean, we would've jumped onto the street had we just jumped out, plus it would've been an extra ten feet. This is water, but I'm telling you there's boulders at the bottom. There's waves -

Chuck Bryant: Oh, yeah.

Josh Clark: - breaking. It's an inlet in the ocean.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, and that's part of the trick, is to time it with the water coming in and out, and then obviously mind the boulders. You clearly don't want to jump onto a boulder.

Josh Clark: Right.

Chuck Bryant: But what I also noticed in this article, if you hit a fish that could be bad news.

Josh Clark: Right. And we'll get into the physics of cliff diving soon. But like I said, where do we find the beginning? This is one of those rare pieces of world culture because everybody does it everywhere. Anywhere there's cliffs there's cliff divers pretty much.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah.

Josh Clark: But this is one of those rare pieces that you can go back and be like, "This guy actually started it." I don't think this is the first guy. I would say he's probably the first guy in recorded history. Do you want to take his name?

Chuck Bryant: Yes, I'm going to go with King Kahekili of Hawaii.

Josh Clark: Nice.

Chuck Bryant: He was the last king of Maui, and in 1770 he reportedly jumped from Kaunolu?

Josh Clark: I think that's pretty much how I would've said it.

Chuck Bryant: Hawaiian words are really tough.

Josh Clark: In my head, I can pronounce it better than that. But once it goes through the tongue, you know what happens, Chuck.

Chuck Bryant: That was about 63 feet, and he entered the water, didn't make much of a splash. So he earned the name Bird Man, and then apparently would challenge his warriors to prove their bravery by doing the same.

Josh Clark: Right.

Chuck Bryant: So that's where it started. At least that's what the lore says.

Josh Clark: And I can imagine his people calling him Bird Man and him going, "No. It's Kahekili - King Kahekili, actually."

Chuck Bryant: To you.

Josh Clark: Yeah. But every night at the Sheraton Maui, they reenact this thing. They have some guy go up to the top of a cliff -

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, in a loincloth.

Josh Clark: I think it's the very cliff he jumped off of, right?

Chuck Bryant: I think so.

Josh Clark: In a loincloth. And jump into the water. And the reason he jumped into the water was because this was where the Mauis - yeah, right?

Chuck Bryant: Mauians?

Josh Clark: Sure. Where they believe that souls transferred into the next world through!

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, the spirit world.

Josh Clark: And I guess he was like, "Let's see what the hell happens."

Chuck Bryant: Right. So now they reenact it with the loincloth dude and he offers up, in each direction to the sky, an offering. He has the lei and then a torch, and then he'll jump in.

Josh Clark: Right. And when he jumped in, absolutely nobody outside of the greater Maui area had a clue. But many years later, the cliff diving concept really started to take off thanks to Timex and ABC, correct?

Chuck Bryant: Uh-huh.

Josh Clark: So Timex, back in the late '50s - Timex used to like to show off the impact resistance that their watches could boast.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, I remember the - I was about to say I remembered this one when I was reading it.

Josh Clark: Do you remember when it first broadcast live?

Chuck Bryant: Well, it was the 1950s, so clearly I didn't. But they ran this campaign through the '70s because I remember the, "Takes a lickin', keeps on tickin'" thing.

Josh C lark: That's right. Yeah, that was the tagline, right?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah. So this commercial, they jumped in. John Cameron Swayze - I don't think any relation to Patrick, is he?

Josh Clark: I was wondering the same thing, actually.

Chuck Bryant: I'll have to look that up.

Josh Clark: Okay.

Chuck Bryant: He hosted this commercial and they would give a torture test, is what they called it.

Josh Clark: Right. No, he didn't actually jump in.

Chuck Bryant: No, no.

Josh Clark: He was just like, "Check this guy out."

Chuck Bryant: Right. Exactly!

Josh Clark: And they had some cliff diver jump in fist first with the Timex exposed.

Chuck Bryant: On his - yeah.

Josh Clark: So it was the first thing that hit the water. And I imagine that, after a few takes, he eventually didn't break the watch and they were like, "Look what happens."

Chuck Bryant: Right. Exactly!

Josh Clark: So, yeah. So that was the late '50s. And then really cliff diving took off, if you'll excuse me, in I think March 9, 1968?

Chuck Bryant: Yes, it took the leap in 1968 - so bad.

Josh Clark: Yeah.

Chuck Bryant: With the ABC's Wide World of Sports.

Josh Clark: Which was a great concept, man?

Chuck Bryant: I loved that show.

Josh Clark: They'd go all over the place.

Chuck Bryant: Oh, yeah.

Josh Clark: They'd show the craziest stuff. This was long before anybody ever thought of the X Games or anything like that. They just were like, "These people are engaged in some random sport and we're going to broadcast it by god."

Chuck Bryant: Yeah. I loved that show.

Josh Clark: Yeah.

Chuck Bryant: "The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat."

Josh Clark: Yeah. The lumberjacks!

Chuck Bryant: The guy - the skier that had that awful accident was always the agony of defeat.

Josh Clark: I don't remember that guy. Was it in the intro?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, when they said that, it showed this skier having this just awful crash and flipping over and breaking every bone in his body.

Josh Clark: Did he die?

Chuck Bryant: No, I don't think so.

Josh Clark: Oh, okay.

Chuck Bryant: He lived. He walked away is what I say.

Josh Clark: Okay. And then here we are today. Actually, Chuck, I think we're about four weeks away from the 2010 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Championships.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, the World Series.

Josh Clark: By the time this is published, it will probably be within a couple of days. But it's May 15th, if you're interested in going to France to watch it.

Chuck Bryant: They jump off platforms, though. But it's at a cliff still.

Josh Clark: Right. But on the site I was checking out some Frenchmen who were cliff diving. And they went to this old early nineteenth century fort that Napoleon had built off the coast of France in the Atlantic.

Chuck Bryant: Cool.

Josh Clark: And I think its 20 meters high, which places it around 60 feet.

Chuck Bryant: Okay. Meters first, huh?

Josh Clark: Huh?

Chuck Bryant: Meters first?

Josh Clark: Well, it's in France so I just thought I'd give -

Chuck Bryant: Oh, sure.

Josh Clark: - like a little head nod. Like, "Hey, France."

Chuck Bryant: Yes.

Josh Clark: And these guys were just jumping off of this old stone fortress in the middle of the Atlantic. It's pretty cool. Well, I don't want to say the middle of the Atlantic. It's actually right off the coast.

Chuck Bryant: Right. Sure.

Josh Clark: But it's surrounded by water.

Chuck Bryant: Awesome.

Josh Clark: Yeah.

Chuck Bryant: Oh, I saw that p icture. I didn't know what was going on there.

Josh Clark: That's what was going on.

Chuck Bryant: Okay.

Josh Clark: Yeah.

Chuck Bryant: Mystery solved.

Josh Clark: Yeah.

Chuck Bryant: Is it physics time? This is your bag. Actually, I understood - it's really not that complicated.

Josh Clark: No.

Chuck Bryant: It's gravity.

Josh Clark: its freefall physics, is what we're talking about.

Chuck Bryant: Sure.

Josh Clark: Chuck, when you walked in here to sit down and contribute your fine fine half of this podcast, you were being pulled toward the earth by gravity.

Chuck Bryant: Yes.

Josh Clark: But you were also meeting resistance from the ground, which caused friction.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah.

Josh Clark: Had you actually walked off a cliff on the way in here -

Chuck Bryant: That'd be sad.

Josh Clark: - you would've still been pulled by gravity, but there wouldn't be any resistance from the force of friction, right?

Chuck Bryant: Which makes it freefall, right?

Josh Clark: Which does make it freefall! Which Galileo was the first to figure this out, freefall physics? When you are pulled toward the earth by gravity, you're actually pulled at 9.8 meters per second per second. And the reason that extra per second is there, is because for every second that you're in the air falling at that rate, you're increasing in speed. So you go 9.8 meters per second per second to, what -19.6 meters per second per second.

Chuck Bryant: Okay.

Josh Clark: And then so on. So every second you double your speed. The velocity is constant, but the speed can increase given time.

Chuck Bryant: Right. But the acceleration is constant, right? Not the velocity.

Josh Clark: That's what it is. I'm sorry. The acceleration is constant. But your speed, your velocity, can actually increase, right?

Chuck Bryant: Yes.

Josh Clark: Given time. Now in the case of cliff diving, the height of the cliff is pretty much interchangeable with time. The higher the cliff, the more time you're going to be in the air and the faster you go.

Chuck Bryant: Sure. Right, right.

Josh Clark: Right? So when you jump off a 10-foot cliff, how fast are you traveling?

Chuck Bryant: That's not much of a cliff. We'll call that a rock.

Josh Clark: Yeah, pretty much.

Chuck Bryant: About 17 miles an hour.

Josh Clark: Right. But if you drop off a 50-foot cliff, like you were jumping off of in the quarry -

Chuck Bryant: Yeah.

Josh Clark: We'll say 50 from now on.

Chuck Bryant: Sure.

Josh Clark: That goes up to what?

Chuck Bryant: 38.

Josh Clark: 38 miles an hour.

Chuck Bryant: That's cruisin'.

Josh Clark: Right. Now the problem is, when you hit the water, you encounter that force of friction again.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, big time.

Josh Clark: And your velocity goes from its maximum speed to almost zero almost instantaneous.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, it's a second, right?

Josh Clark: Right. Now we've encountered why cliff diving is dangerous.

Chuck Bryant: Exactly.

Josh Clark: Because eventually you're going to land on something.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah. And before we move on from physics, I just thought it was interesting that when you do jump out, or if you get a running start, you're going to go even faster than if you just drop.

Josh Clark: Right. You've added -

Chuck Bryant: Horizontal -

Josh Clark: - horizontal velocity.

Chuck Bryant: Right.

Josh Clark: Or horizontal force. I am definitely not a physics guy.

Chuck Bryant: You had it right. Velocity!

Josh Clark: Thanks buddy. One of the cool aspects of freefall physics, as far as it relates to humans - Chuck, get this. Do you remember learning a long time ago that no matter what the mass of an object, it'll fall at the same rate?

Chuck Bryant: Oh, yeah. Galileo again, right?

Josh Clark: That is Galileo, yeah. And he actually disproved Aristotle with that one.

Chuck Bryant: Some say they're both geniuses.

Josh Clark: They both are. Did we mention them in the genius podcast?

Chuck Bryant: Well, we are now.

Josh Clark: Was it on that list of 50 that -

Chuck Bryant: I don't know.

Josh Clark: - ended in George Washington?

Chuck Bryant: Right.

Josh Clark: You might say that, "I've dropped a piece of paper and a hammer at the same time and the piece of paper took longer." That's because it met resistance from the air.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, exactly.

Josh Clark: And actually Commander David Scott of the Apollo 15 mission famously took a hammer and, I think, a feather on the moon -

Chuck Bryant: Oh, yeah, yeah.

Josh Clark: - and dropped them. And they both landed at the same time. They didn't meet any -

Chuck Bryant: That must've been cool looking.

Josh Clark: Yeah. There's video of it on YouTube, actually.

Chuck Bryant: Oh, really?

Josh Clark: Um-hum.

Chuck Bryant: Awesome.

Josh Clark: Well, I'm almost done with my physics spiel, okay?

Chuck Bryant: Okay.

Josh Clark: And it ends as such.

Chuck Bryant: Let's hear it.

Josh Clark: When you jump off a cliff, remember you're not meeting friction any longer?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah.

Josh Clark: So there's no resistance besides this negligible air resistance?

Chuck Bryant: Right.

Josh Clark: You actually do encounter what we would consider on earth as close to weightless as we can get, right?

Chuck Bryant: Uh-huh. Right.

Josh Clark: So your body is being pulled as a whole by gravity equally, all parts, except for your internal organs, right?

Chuck Bryant: Whoa.

Josh Clark: Which actually lose weight and rise up in your chest, which is why your stomach feels like it's coming up.

Chuck Bryant: Is that what that is?

Josh Clark: It actually is.

Chuck Bryant: Wow.

Josh Clark: Isn't that cool?

Chuck Bryant: I've always wondered what that was.

Josh Clark: That's what it is.

Chuck Bryant: Goodness me.

Josh Clark: All right. We're done with the physics part, dude.

Chuck Bryant: Well, two to three g's we should say like at the world championships. They hit about two to three g's and those dudes are going at speeds up to 60 miles an hour.

Josh Clark: That's fast.

Chuck Bryant: That's really fast to be hitting the water.

Josh Clark: Yes.

Chuck Bryant: And you want to - since we're at the water entry point, which is I think where we left off with the physics. You want to go in really really really straight. That's the key. Because if you flatten out, it is the - you know, you hear the legend about, "It's like hitting concrete?"

Josh Clark: Yeah.

Chuck Bryant: It is like hitting concrete.

Josh Clark: Right.

Chuck Bryant: And you would die.

Josh Clark: Yes, you would.

Chuck Bryant: Or not be the same person afterward, at the very least.

Josh Clark: There is a website by a Quebecan woman named Patricia, I think, who's created this website dedicated to warning people about a famous tourist cliff diving site called Rick's Café and Grill in Jamaica.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, that's only 35 feet, though.

Josh Clark: It is. But this woman jumped off this 35-foot platform -

Chuck Bryant: And she belly flopped?

Josh Clark: She couldn't have gone in feet first.

Chuck Bryant: Right.

Josh Clark: Because what happened to her is she suffered a broken spine -

Chuck Bryant: Wow.

Josh Clark: - broken sternum, displaced diaphragm - which is never good, and -

Chuck Bryant: Did she look in her purse?

Josh Clark: Terrible.

Chuck Bryant: Sorry.

Josh Clark: And posterior vitreous detachment, which means the jelly in her eye is loose now.

Chuck Bryant: Oh, man.

Josh Clark: From a 30-foot jump.

Chuck Bryant: Well, the deal there, though, at the café is they have it set up with a platform, right?

Josh Clark: Um-hum.

Chuck Bryant: Do you have to sign a waiver or anything?

Josh Clark: I don't know. I think if you were a smart owner of Rick's Café and you were encouraging tourists to jump off the platform, yeah. You'd have them sign away their first-born child.

Chuck Bryant: Heck, yeah. Well, they do say in here, though, that official tourism boards don't encourage this.

Josh Clark: Because it's dangerous.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, it's really dangerous.

Josh Clark: Yeah, and we should also probably take the time to COA and tell you that we don't encourage you to cliff dive, either.

Chuck Bryant: No.

Josh Clark: No.

Chuck Bryant: I mean, a 10-foot rock is one thing. But even then, if you land on another rock there's a lot of people -

Josh Clark: Or like you said a fish.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, a fish. That wouldn't be good.

Josh Clark: If you're traveling 60 miles an hour and you hit a fish, it's not as liquid as the water, right?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, yeah.

Josh Clark: Although it will be after you hit it at 60 miles an hour.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, that's bad news for the fish, too.

Josh Clark: So, Chuck, in addition to Rick's Café and Grill, what are some of the other well-known cliff diving locations?

Chuck Bryant: Hot spots, Josh?

Josh Clark: That's one way to put it.

Chuck Bryant: Well, I know Jamaica - the West End Cliffs in Negril -

Josh Clark: That's where Rick's is.

Chuck Bryant: Oh, is it? They have the limestone cliffs. Those are really popular.

Josh Clark: Sure. And pretty.

Chuck Bryant: I imagine.

Josh Clark: So there's two phrases or terms that the Hawaiians use, depending on whether you make a splash or not with a big jump. So Lele Kawa -

Chuck Bryant: That's sounds right.

Josh Clark: Thanks. That's to leap from a great height and enter the water without a splash, which we should say is what King Kahekili did.

Chuck Bryant: Kahekili.

Josh Clark: Kahekili. Yeah, I think that's right. Is that the name of the idol that the Brady kids found in that episode where they went to Hawaii, the two-partner?

Chuck Bryant: I don't know.

Josh Clark: Wasn't it Kahekili?

Chuck Bryant: I don't know. Those were great episodes, though.

Josh Clark: They really were.

Chuck Bryant: My friend Debbie would know.

Josh Clark: Well, tell her to write in.

Chuck Bryant: Okay.

Josh Clark: Okay. The other expression is Lele Pahu.

Chuck Bryant: That sounds right, too.

Josh Clark: Thanks, man. That's entering the water with a big splash from a great jump.

Chuck Bryant: And that's a bad thing, right?

Josh Clark: Yeah, because you'd -

Chuck Bryant: Just like competition diving.

Josh Clark: - think, "I'll just do a cannonball." Well, say so long to your shins.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, exactly.

Josh Clark: So we've got Hawaii. Acapulco - again, the La Quebrada divers. Seriously, they're jumping off of 147-foot cliffs, right? The next highest that I've seen in this article is in Croatia, in Dubrovnik. And those are 85 feet.

Chuck Bryant: Right. And that's about the height that they do the competition dives. They don't do the competition dives from 148 feet.

Josh Clark: Right.

Chuck Bryant: Because they're doing flips and twists. Actually, I've got some stuff on that, but they're not just diving in. They go in feet first, generally.

Josh Clark: Oh, really?

Chuck Bryant: Well, for the competition. I haven't seen many of those guys go in headfirst.

Josh Clark: Dude, the guys in the Acapulco -

Chuck Bryant: They do.

Josh Clark: - do flips in midair and dive in like - it's not just jumping off of a cliff.

Chuck Bryant: Crazy.

Josh Clark: They'll do it several at a time. It's amazing.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, I did see on YouTube a tandem dive, or whatever. It was pretty cool.

Josh Clark: Well, this is multiple. Also, if you ever get a chance to go to Acapulco - I wouldn't recommend going now, what with the raging drug war in Mexico. But if that ever dies down and you do get to go to Acapulco, do go see the cliff divers.

Chuck Bryant: I think that's a great move.

Josh Clark: Thanks.

Chuck Bryant: Or if you can't got there, just go to YouTube. You can check it out there. Check out some awfully bad video. The World High Diving Federation, Josh - they recommend water depths of 43-49 feet for a dive of 65 feet or less. And they also recommend that no one dive from 65 feet or higher, unless you're a pro and you have scuba divers down there to retrieve your lifeless body.

Josh Clark: Right. Or at least your shattered body!

Chuck Bryant: Exactly.

Josh Clark: Okay, Chuck. Let's say somebody out there is going to try this whether we tell them to or not. And let's just do it again. Let's just tell them not to cliff dive.

Chuck Bryant: Okay. Don't cliff dive.

Josh Clark: Thank you, Chuck. If they're going to do it anyway, should we give them some safety tips?

Chuck Bryant: Yes, Josh. We have some tips. The first one on the list - slow and low! Don't charge out there to the 60-foot cliff right off the bat. Start on the 10-footer.

Josh Clark: Um-hum. Slow and low, that is the tempo.

Chuck Bryant: Very nice. You want to check out the water beforehand. Swim around about there at your landing zone.

Josh Clark: Scare off any fish you can.

Chuck Bryant: Scare off any fish.

Josh Clark: Maybe pee in the water to warn them away.

Chuck Bryant: Right. Feel around for rocks and things, barnacles, underwater spears, anything like that.

Josh Clark: Sure. Right.

Chuck Bryant: Go with a friend is always a good idea. You don't want to cliff dive by yourself.

Josh Clark: No. You're a dummy. You might as well dig your own grave, lie in it, and start shoveling dirt over yourself.

Chuck Bryant: They recommend to wear a wetsuit because it can add a little cushioning, but if you've ever seen cliff divers they generally wear the Speedo.

Josh Clark: I know. Which makes it one of the sexiest extreme sports around. You don't see Tony Hawk in a Speedo, do you? No.

Chuck Bryant: Wow. I'm trying to imagine -

Josh Clark: You don't want to, man.

Chuck Bryant: - skateboarding with a Speedo.

Josh Clark: I'm sure somebody's done it. Probably those crazy kids at Jackass or whatever!

Chuck Bryant: Yeah. Oh, yeah. That one guy always wears his underwear.

Josh Clark: Um-hm.

Chuck Bryant: We need to talk about Orlando Duque, though. He's like the king daddy of cliff diving.

Josh Clark: Um-hm. He's El Duque.

Chuck Bryant: No, actually they call him the Duke of Dive. So you're not far away.

Josh Clark: I like mine better.

Chuck Bryant: He's Columbian but he lives in Hawaii now. He's a nine-time world champ. And his personal record in competition is 111 feet. And he holds the record for the perfect dive. He's the only guy to ever get scored a perfect dive across the board.

Josh Clark: Nice. Do they factor in how they look in a Speedo into that score?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, he's a handsome man.

Josh Clark: Is he?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, he is. Also, he wanted to be an Olympic high diver for Columbia, but they wouldn't fund him. So he's like, "Okay, I'll go dive off cliffs and perform in shows." So he makes a lot more scratch doing this, I'm sure, than he would have as an Olympian.

Josh Clark: I'd like to mention somebody.

Chuck Bryant: Who's that?

Josh Clark: His name D Juan Ron. He's Chinese if you couldn't have guessed. He's 51, and he actually holds the world record that he set in 2008 for cliff diving off of waterfalls.

Chuck Bryant: Wow!

Josh Clark: Think about this for a second.

Chuck Bryant: Okay.

Josh Clark: In most cases, with waterfalls, there are rocks at the bottom. And there's a little something that we like to call a vortex.

Chuck Bryant: Yes.

Josh Clark: This is a swirling funnel of water underwater, that sucks you in and holds you there.

Chuck Bryant: Wow.

Josh Clark: This guy aims for the center.

Chuck Bryant: Does that make sense?

Josh Clark: Apparently, because he's survived.

Chuck Bryant: It would soften the fall, though, probably right?

Josh Clark: I know have you idea why he jumps into the center. He just does.

Chuck Bryant: Wow. How high?

Josh Clark: 12.19 meters.

Chuck Bryant: So what's that?

Josh Clark: It's like 45-50 feet.

Chuck Bryant: Oh, that's not that much.

Josh Clark: It isn't, but he's jumping into a vortex for god's sake.

Chuck Bryant: Right.

Josh Clark: And he's 51.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah. Now, there's high divers, too. That's a different deal. The high diving show people, that's not a cliff situation obviously, but I think the world record is Oliver Favre - 178 feet.

Josh Clark: Wow. What did he jump into?

Chuck Bryant: They jump into those pools.

Josh Clark: Like a little cup, riding an elephant.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah. Like in the cartoon! The previous guy, I can't remember what his name was - I saw it on YouTube. It was in the '70s, and I remember watching this as a kid. It might've been on Wide World of Sports - oh, Dana something. And it had the camera view of his little platform up there, and it was crazy, man. I got butterflies watching it in my cubicle.

Josh Clark: Yeah, I can imagine.

Chuck Bryant: Wait; there was one more thing I wanted to say.

Josh Clark: What?

Chuck Bryant: Competition. The Red Bull deal, you get three heats per competition. And you're judged on drop, position in the air, and dive - which means your flips. There's three things you can get scored on - number of twists, somersaults, and position during the somersaults - and then entry into the water. So it's sort of like regular Olympic diving, the way that's scored, but much higher.

Josh Clark: Right. And they call them heats because of the Speedos.

Chuck Bryant: I think you might be right.

Josh Clark: If you want to learn more about cliff diving, just type cliff diving in the handy search bar at howstuffworks.com, which means we've arrived now, friends, at listener mail. Chuck, Chuck, Chuck - Chuck, Chuck -

Chuck Bryant: And brake.

Josh Clark: Yes. We should just do the Facebook/Twitter thing real quick. We have a great streamlined Facebook page that's Stuff You Should Know. You can type it into the search bar at Facebook. We also Tweet now. That's SYSKPodcast.

Chuck Bryant: Yes. On Facebook, though, I should mention we have some fan art already there. And if you have cool fan art and stuff you've done, upload it. We want to get all kinds of stuff for people to look at. We want it to be more than just you and I running our mouths, because that's all we ever do.

Josh Clark: Yes. That's right.

Chuck Bryant: To get involved.

Josh Clark: And you're going to be releasing t-shirt details eventually?

Chuck Bryant: Eventually.

Josh Clark: Okay. Well, look for those on our Facebook page, right?

Chuck Bryant: Yes.

Josh Clark: So back to it, beautiful.

Chuck Bryant: Josh, I'm going to call this henky email.

Josh Clark: Oh, I saw this one.

Chuck Bryant: This was nice.

Josh Clark: Yeah.

Chuck Bryant: I like it when people have weird dreams about us. "Hello, Josh, Chuck, and Jerry. Yesterday, I was going to email you to tell you that due to listening to your podcast on my daily commute, I have begun to describe things as henky instead of dodgy." She's from the UK - "which is the word I would usually use. This means that whenever I use it, I have to explain what it means." It's not a widely used word in the UK as it seems - henky's not.

Josh Clark: Right. Dodgy is, though.

Chuck Bryant: Dodgy is. "This ends up in me recommending your podcast to a lot of people." So she's actually spreading the word -

Josh Clark: Nice.

Chuck Bryant: - thanks to the henky thing. "Then I thought, it's not that exciting of a story, so I decided not to send the email. But last night I had a dream about you guys. I dreamed I bumped into Josh at a beach bar." Which she says she's never been to a beach bar and she has no idea where it was. "I told him the henky story, and then behind him he pointed to a big sign that said henky. Then he told me, 'a lot of things Chuck does rubs off on people.' And he proceeded to show me a bear snarl complete with swiping paw action. So I took this as a sign that I should probably send the email." I just think that's hysterical.

Josh Clark: That was clearly a sign.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah. I want to see you do the bear snarl with a swiping paw. Wow. That's nice.

Josh Clark: Thanks.

Chuck Bryant: "The dream was by far the most normal dream I had last night, by the way. I also dreamt I got married by postal marriage." I didn't know there was such a thing.

Josh Clark: Yeah, mail order brides.

Chuck Bryant: Oh, is that what she means?

Josh Clark: Maybe.

Chuck Bryant: Okay. "Anyway, I hope you take some pride in the fact that you are spreading the word henky around the world." From Rachel X.

Josh Clark: Okay. Thanks for that, Rachel. Right, Chuck?

Chuck Bryant: Right.

Josh Clark: That was a good one.

Chuck Bryant: It was.

Josh Clark: We always like it when we're factored into dreams, right?

Chuck Bryant: Sure.

Josh Clark: That's just cool.

Chuck Bryant: It is.

Josh Clark: I mean, consider that. We have people we've never met dreaming about us.

Chuck Bryant: I dream about people I've never met.

Josh Clark: I guess so.

Chuck Bryant: I have celebrity dreams all the time. I've told you about those, where I'm hanging out and buddies with people I love.

Josh Clark: If you've ever had a dream about Chuck pallin' around with a celebrity he's never met, we want to hear about it - even if you make it up. Put it in an email and send it to stuffpodcast@howstuffworks.com.

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