John Conyers – “…diving at a new and unfamiliar spot is exponentially more scary than a spot twice as high that you visit every week.”
Name: John Conyers
Hails From: Lakewood, CO.
Currently Resides: Denver, CO.
Jumping Since: Age 9
We got a chance to ask John some questions about his Cliff Jumping lifestyle ‒ here is what he had to say:
When did you start Cliff Jumping?
The first time I went cliff jumping was when I was about 9-years-old in Hawaii. The Seven Sacred Pools on Maui. Ever since then, I have been obsessed with it.
What was your first time like?
It was amazing. It was like I was in my own little world. My mother was screaming at me the entire time, but I don’t think I heard her at all. I would jump off a cliff, swim to the side, and try to climb up to one that was just a little higher. For hours, I would swim around these little pools and jump off the cliffs‒ slowly working my way higher and higher.
How does it feel when you walk into a new spot?
Any new spot always seems higher when you first see it. At any new spot I thoroughly check the water depth throughout the entire landing area, but even at a relatively small cliffs (30 ft.) the first jump is always nerve racking. All 10 meter diving towers are exactly the same, but out in nature, every cliff is different. Different scenery, different take-off, different heights and distances, different water depths. Sometimes diving at a new and unfamiliar spot is exponentially more scary than a spot twice as high that you visit every week.
How does it feel when you step up to the ledge?
The older I get, the more scared I get before I jump at a new spot. I usually try to visualize the dive in my head and picture myself doing it. Everyone kind of has their own “routine” of what they do before a dive. I usually curse the sport, “What a stupid sport!” Then I curse the person who brought me there, “Damn it Josh, what are we doing here, who’s idea was this anyway?” Then I step up up to the ledge, express my fear one last time, and push-off.
What is your favorite type of location?
I love cliff diving into rivers. In Colorado, river cliff jumping spots are hard to find and usually hard to access. I love hitting the water and getting moved downstream. It seems like at some river spots, where the water is moving, you don’t need as much water depth to dive safely. One spot on the Colorado River is only 10 feet deep, and in my many visits there, I have never hit the bottom.
What’s your personal favorite trick?
On the correct cliff, I love a flying gainer. It’s easy to do, it looks pretty cool, and it’s easy to see where you are the whole way down. I also love a flying front flip. It’s a dive that scares me every time I do it, but is a lot of fun.
Where is your all time favorite spot?
The Grand Canyon. In middle school, we took a class backpacking trip there. We hiked down to and along the river for 3 days. Myself, along with a couple other guys on the trip, were absolutely obsessed with finding cliffs along the river. Without regard for water depth, current, or any other safety precaution, we would just find a cliff, and jump off into the river. Stupid kids.
Have you been injured while Cliff Jumping?
I broke some ribs doing a flying front flip. That is the reason that dive scares me every time I do it. I also broke my foot diving, but that was at a diving show… diving into a 10-foot tank. I don’t count that as a cliff diving injury.
What did you learn from that experience?
If you can’t visualize yourself doing a dive before you do it, step back and wait a minute.
Are you willing to contribute in our ongoing efforts to educate the public about keeping the jumping environments safe and clean?
Litter at a good spot makes me mad. I have seen the fun-police close down spots because of litter and injuries.
Do you have and comments John?
Cliff Diving friends are the BEST!
How can someone go to check out your work and reach you?
You can grab it on Amazon right now: http://www.amazon.com/Colorado-Cliff-Diving-John-Conyers/dp/0692335013