Published on April 18th, 2017 | by Mark Chesnut
Acapulco Cliff Divers Risk Death & Injury to Wow Visitors
They’re world famous. And their show is a must-see for every first-time visitor to Acapulco. And the La Quebrada cliff divers of Acapulco risk death on a daily basis just to show their talents and wow their audiences. It’s well worth the visit, and one of the top things to do in Acapulco.
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This group of professional high divers dates back decades, to 1934. Expert swimmers had long used Acapulco’s dramatic, sheer waterfront cliffs to test their skills. But it was in that year that hotelier Teddy Stauffer began publicizing their performances and created an “official” group of divers, and as Acapulco become Mexico‘s first truly glamorous international vacation destination, the divers became even more famous. The tradition continues to this day.
The show is truly impressive, whether you attend a performance during the daytime or in the evening, when divers carry torches. These photos and videos that I took offer a glimpse of the excitement and derring-do, but you really need to see it in person to appreciate the talent and skill. (You can see the video on my YouTube channel or scroll to the bottom of this post.)
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Just getting to the top of the cliff is a feat in itself; these skilled athletes scale the sheer heights in nothing more but Speedos. Once at the top, they stop at an altar dedicate to the Virgin Mary for a quick blessing, and then wait, one by one, for the right wave conditions to soar into the air. It’s about 115 feet to the water, and the depths of the ocean in the narrow gulch can range from six to 16 feet, depending on the waves — making timing imperative.
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The divers starring in the most recent performance that I saw ranged in age from 20 to 33. These masters of the dive start learning at an early age (albeit at lower altitudes); the 20-year-old started diving from the cliffs at age 12, while the 33-year-old started at age 10. These men are truly dedicated to their sport, and it shows.
For more information, visit the Acapulco tourism site.