Cliff jumping may seem like a crazy new adrenaline activity, but it’s actually been around for a very long time. It was first documented in 1770, when Kahek- ili II, king of Maui, engaged in a practice called “lele kawa”, which in English means to leap into the ocean, feet first, without splashing.
The king’s warriors were challenged to participate, proving in the process that they were courageous and loyal to the king. The practice later developed into a competition, under King Kamehameha I, where jumpers were judged on their style and amount of splash upon entering the water.
As with most things, they evolve and take on their modern- day form, making them more accessible.
Young, local entrepreneur, Sebastien Kock, founded Algar Seco Cliff Jumpers in 2015.
“I’ve been cliff jumping at Algar Seco for years, and it’s something that is quite a tradition here in Carvoeiro. My passions are videography and adrenaline sports, so this was a fantastic outlet for me,” Sebastien explains.
Algar Seco Cliff Jumpers held its first event in the summer of 2015, attracting around 80 people. “The people who came were a really mixed bunch of many different nationalities, ages and fitness levels. Some people just do it for fun but there are quite a few who are fitter and more gymnastic; they take it much more seriously,” Sebastien reveals. The event incorporates two main stages. The first and lowest jumping
point is around a 10-metre drop into a depth of seven metres, while in the second, there is a jaw-dropping 30 metres of nothingness between the jumper and the sea below.
Algar Seco is a very popular area because of its cliff formations and the area is relatively safe for jumpers, without many underwater rocks, and the excellent bonus of “smugglers steps”, enabling the participants to climb back up into the cliffs with ease.
Jumping from this famous local landmark is nothing new and has been taking place for as long as people can remember. What is new is that Sebastien saw an opportunity
to unite likeminded people in a social gathering and create an official event.
Algar Seco Cliff Jumpers has been attracting commercial interest across the globe, from Indonesia to Poland. The people behind ‘Big Swings’, the cliff jumping app, have been in touch with a proposal, and most recently, Portuguese TV channel TVI.
The success of Red Bull Cliff Diving is something to bear in mind. Starting in 2009, it now has a highly respected world series, with a huge following and a stop in São Miguel, in the Azores. Sebastien is in discussions to bring the event to the Algarve, which will hopefully become an extreme sports destination in the near future.
One can only imagine why it’s becoming so popular. Voices of mothers, shouting: “If someone told you to jump off a cliff, would you?” spring to mind. Perhaps it’s because cliff jumping is probably the least complicated extreme sport, with no equipment, special clothing or provider services to pay for. It’s just your body, falling through the air from dizzying heights and plunging into a body of water below – “man against the sea”. The highest jump would be the equivalent to jumping off an eight-storey building.
The 2016 Algar Seco Cliff Jumping event is scheduled for August 7 and has attracted huge interest, both locally and internationally, with around 400 people expected to turn up on the day. The event is free of charge and open to everyone. You can keep up to date with events and progress via the Facebook page Algar Seco – cliff jumpers


Author: Inside Carvoeiro

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