Cliff Diving Daredevils Take on the Sport of Hawaiian Kings and Warriors

Should be able to clear it? Why not definitively? And what happened to never looking straight down? It occurred to me that not only was this jump going to be higher than the 10-meter platform, only by three feet, but still, but also there were enormous waves literally banging into the cliff on which I was standing.

"Those waves are pretty menacing, Orlando," I cried in disbelief.

"They're fine," he said. "Really, they're not as bad as they look."

"They're not going to carry me away and smack me into the side of this cliff?" I asked.

"No," he said. "They are not."

Duque assured me that jumping into the ocean is actually more forgiving than jumping into a pool. You see, I had to use my body to break the surface of the water. It's akin to running into a wall. The ocean has more air, so I was told it would be softer and actually cradle me upon entry. As for the waves, Duque would try and time it so that the waves would be at their peak when I entered the water. That would actually shorten the dive.

Nothing But Air and the Sea

I was still a nervous wreck.

Everyone was in place: my photographer, producer, audio guy, the safety team and Duque. For this dive, I would go first.

"We won't do anything until you're ready, Marysol," he said.

The wind was picking up: Even if actually wasn't, it sure felt like it was. I looked out at the span of ocean in front of me and the clouds above it.

At that very moment, my mind cleared. I was ready to give myself to the process. It was just me, the water and this cliff. If I lost my balance, I could depend on nothing but the air, which is to say I could depend on nothing but myself.

"I'm ready," I announced.

"Ready," Duque yelled to the team in the water. "Three, two, one."

Without any hesitation, I jumped.

And I mean I jumped from that cliff. The water felt like it would never come, and in that moment I felt my body start to twist to the left. I tried my best to correct it, and before I knew it, I was in the water. The sea of blue rushed over me. I could see the surface of the sea and followed the bubbles all the way up.

I had just done the scariest thing I had ever done in my life. I looked up the side of the cliff and saw Duque and the crew clapping. I gave Duque the "OK" sign and reveled in my dive. Pake and the jet ski were right there waiting for me.

As I made my way to the exit point, I looked back at "Marysol's Jump," and thought it appropriately named. Even if there were hundreds that would jump from that very point in the future, for now, it was mine. And I was all the better because of it.

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