I was invited along to my friend Ben's stag do a while ago. When I found out we would be going coasteering I suddenly felt a pang of fear. Wet suits, cliffs, sea and high jumps. The weather the weekend we were going had the first ever Met Office severe weather warning, Red, for snow and ice. That didn't help with the nerves. Also the guys I'd be going with were the outdoor extreme types who thrive from jumping off cliffs and surf etc. I felt suddenly under qualified for this activity.
Luckily for me the weather subsided to just heavy rain on the Saturday and we set off through the thawing snow and ice to Newquay. We were going straight to the coast for an afternoon of traversing and jumping. We arrived in good time to meet Nick, the owner, and to be prepped for what we were going to be doing.
Those of us that didn't bring our own wet suits we measured up for the right fit. We then set off along the cliff path to the start. First we had a briefing about entering and exiting the sea. Also best practices for jumping and what to do if you get into trouble. The two guides were great though and had our backs the whole time.
We clambered down some rocks from the path and stopped at the edge about 10 feet above the water. Andy jumped in to test the depth (odd way to test) followed by all of us 1 at a time. It was a great way to get the energy going by starting with what seemed at the time to be a high jump. This was in fact, the lowest.
Coasteering is basically leaping off cliffs for the day.
Everyone managed the first jump which was cool. We swam around to the next section where we practiced getting out and jumping back in again a bit further along. The guides would give us a bit of history about the coast too which was a bonus.
The jumps became higher and more technical as we progressed around the rocks. We also had to do some traversing which was cool, but hard work, this traversing was the crux of coasteering really! The buoyant vests you use are a little bulky and get in the way which sucks. Also you can't really see where you put your feet sometimes which is hard but again, Nick was great at helping. A couple more jumps from precarious ledges and routes that I just couldn't see from the sea was a great surprise.
We got out the sea into an inlet using the swell which was fun, but really hard work. Even a small swell felt so powerful. We shimmied up a gap and onto a higher set of rocks, true coasteering. From the sea before we exited I clocked an overhang above an area of inverted rock, very high up! I had a feeling this would be the final and highest jump.
Those jumps weren't so bad…
I was right. It was called the triple. You started off low to get a feel for where you needed to land, which would be in between some submerged rocks! The first jump was around 15 feet. The second was around 25 feet and and the highest (we thought it was the highest) was 35 feet. We all nailed the three and felt amazing. One of the guys pointed to the very top of the cliff and enquired. Nick, the guide, said they rarely jump that as the water isn't deep enough (3 meters). He also added it was spring tides today and that it would probably be okay to do!
Peering over the edge it was a long way down. A really long way down. He added it was only ten feet higher than what we had just done, but 10 feet on top of 35 feet is bloody high! It came round to my go and having heard how long it took the other guys to land, I was feeling a bit nervous. Nick told us how to stand before pushing out and away from the cliff and that you really don't want to fuck this one up… It will hurt if you land wrong.
I stood for a minute before going. Then bailed. Damn it! I had now thought about it too long. I wasn't not going to do it though, I'd come this far and knew I'd regret it if I didn't. One of the guys bailed already and another did too after me so I felt good that I eventually just said 'fuck it I'm going' and launched myself off! I fell for ages before hitting the water and floating slowly up. Double tap on the hat to show I wasn't dead and climbed back out! Coasteering was complete.
It was such a great experience and would love to do it again. Ben had a great time and now I just need the seawater to stop pouring out of my nose when I lean over.
Ben nailing the highest cliff jump! Showing us how not to mess it up.