The words ‘jump’ and ‘cliff’ in the one sentence can never have a good ending… or so we thought.
It’s not until you meet Rhiannan Iffland – the superwoman who cliff dives professionally – where you truly realise why cliff diving is so much more than just ‘dangerous’.
The 2016 Cliff Diving World Series Champion and winner of the 2018 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series has put her life on the line over 500 times, all in the name of the sport, purely because it’s her one true passion.
“It is a big mental game and it’s always a mental battle before I step up on the platform, whether I’ve done the dive once before or whether I’ve done it 500 times before,” Iffland tells myBody+Soul. “I feel it’s good to feel scared though and to have those thoughts running through my head because in a way it keeps me safe.”
It sounds and looks crazy – a word often associated with the sport – but the talent and courage Iffland brings to the table is something very few people possess and is what is responsible for her success, not only in her athletic career, but the battle between her mind and heart.
“I do have a few things I tell myself and a few things I do to get in the zone. I always find myself stepping up onto the platform, letting everything go, taking a couple of deep breaths and taking a minute to myself of mindfulness just to relax and making sure my mind is clear,” the 27-year-old adds.
“I also usually just think about the task at hand and the dive that I’m about to do, focussing on the initial take-off and the rotations to make sure I get it all right.”
“My tip for when I step up on the platform is focussing purely on what I have to do and trying to forget about all of the other things that surround me.”
While some may say her drive to cliff dive is in her blood, it’s also the result of hours, days and years of hard work and training.
Her foundations started from trampolining from a very young age, but it wasn’t until she was 11-years-old and discovered diving in which she found her true passion: “As soon as I jumped in the pool I was hooked with diving.”
As much as you need the mental strength to success in such a sport, physical strength plays another. Between travelling to and from competition to competition, Rhiannan still finds time to fit in a workout.
“A perfect day of exercise for me is going to the gym in the morning to maintain strength, flexibility and everything that I need to stay uninjured and then diving in the afternoons or throughout the day… it’s just making sure I keep on top of what I need to do to be the top of my game.”
While we won’t necessarily wake tomorrow morning with the courage to start cliff diving professionally, Iffland has words of advice for everyone afraid to face their own personal fear: “Focussing on what you actually have to do and blocking out all the negative thoughts that try and come in, definitely helps. I also think being confident helps, too.”
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