I used to jump off fairly good sized cliffs into water when I was younger, I still find medium sized ones from time to time. A dive is my go to because I get the sense of flying for a brief moment in time. Wherever I go, literally wherever I am, my eyes/ears are constantly scanning and taking in the surroundings. Whether it's a flower, a street rail (for snowboarding/skiing), a cliff, a piece of trash, a bug, a cloud, a person, a swimming hole, my mind is observing. I know others do this as well, but some of my friends get tired of me saying, "look at that, look at this." I'm probably just too vocal and everyone is constantly scanning and observing as well.
Back to cliff jumping into water...my friend showed me this river and I immediately saw the potential to jump off the rock you see here. I hiked around the rock, looking for a way up...there was one. I told my friend, "I'm going to get someone to jump off this rock." I went home and put a post up on Instagram, "looking for qualified people who like to jump off cliffs into water." The responses came in quickly and I began viewing the candidates pages; this cliff is big and the landing is small, no margin for error, guts won't get this done correctly. One person, the talented Travis Simms, funneled through the pipeline of "being qualified." I contacted Travis, showed him an iPhone picture of the cliff and he was in. I made a game-plan to meet at the location a few days later when the weather looked good. Travis had an 8-hour drive to make, the guy is dedicated in his craft, and he had no qualms about the effort. We meet. He drives a Prius and has a tiny dog that lives with him out of his car. "Out of his car?" Travis travels the world jumping off cliffs into water, he's a nomad. Anyway, we hike down to the river and view the rock. Travis thinks it's around 60'. We dive into the river and survey the landing zone, it's really really small, maybe 8'x8' and 12' feet deep. Miss the landing and you are in a world of pain, but if you hit the landing and your body is angled right, all is good. Travis hikes up to the top off the cliff, "Holy F-ck, this is way bigger than 60'." Having him on top truly provided scale; some athletes use range finders to judge distance, Travis used a fairly tried and true method by throwing a rock, counting the airtime, and past experience. Travis also added, "there really isn't an inrun, I'm going to have to one step push and gap out to the landing." Scary. After a couple minutes, Travis asks me if I'm ready. I always try and be ready before the athlete so they don't lose their adrenaline and get psyched out. I was ready. Travis gives the 3-2-1 countdown and he was airborne. He hits the water in perfect body position and touches down right where he had too. He was amping and so was everyone else watching. He swam over and looked at the photo, he loved it. He asked if he needed to do it again? I said "if you're up for it, it's always nice to have two angles." He hiked back up and we captured this image. Thank you Travis for making the effort, being in tip top shape, your infectious charismatic attitude, and having the incredible talent. I titled this "THE SHADOW" because...
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