We learned this week that one of the biggest fans of our wetsuits doesn't dive. He loves our suits for a very different water sport.
Chris Murphy has been cliff jumping for about a year and prefers to be in a Northern Diver suit when he does. Cliff jumping is essentially exactly what it sounds like, jumping off a cliff for sport. When Chris and his team jump, they do so without equipment, this style is also known as tombstoning. However, they don't refer to as tombstoning because the sport already has negative associations due to unfavourable media coverage. Chris and jumpers in the community are very safe and are massively affected by the way the sport is portrayed in the press.
Chris is local to our Appley Bridge showroom and started jumping as a hobby. It's definitely an exciting way to spend your free time! Because he's so close, it made sense for him to come in and check out our range - and he's been hooked ever since, already owning a Delta Flex Semi-Tech Wetsuit, our 5mm Neoprene Gloves and recently purchasing a new 5.5mm Semi-Tech Long John Wetsuit that we also customised for him.
In just under a year, Chris has made a name for himself in the cliff jumping community. In his words what started as a hobby has "really blown up, it's gone mental!" The entire UK cliff jumping community has started getting more prominence in the sport. A Cliff jumping UK page was set-up by Lee Dovey, the Dovey family being very involved in the sport. In fact, the Dovey's are a household name in cliff jumping circles.
Since Chris got more involved, met Lee and became part of a team of jumpers called Team Alzati, he's been so busy it's more than a hobby now really. He's done a 5-day tour of Scotland with the team, heading to some of the biggest quarries and cliffs that they could.
Chris has become known for the signature Spongebob Squarepants shorts that he wears over his wetsuit and always jumps in as well as his back flips. To make his jumps a little more challenging, when it's safe to do so, he'll back flip off the cliff into the water - it's amazing to watch. Due to the sheer number of visits and views to his and the group's social channels, Chris was approached by Ryan Mitchell from Mitchell’s Spray Booths and Hot Tub Hire West Lancs, asking if they could sponsor him.
Because sponsors were keen to work with him, Chris spoke to our team in the shop and asked if we could help. Of course, we could! Our Creative Team often customise and brand our products to a customer's exact specification, adding wording or logos as needed so they took the challenge in their stride. So two days after using the logos as an excuse to purchase a brand new NDiver suit, Chris picked up his new wetsuit with sponsor logos on the chest and our Northern Diver logo on the back.
This weekend, donned in his new branded wetsuit, Chris will be in Wales attempting the UK mature record for a single back flip which is an astonishing 59 foot! (That's about 18m... that's HIGH).
The world record for cliff jumping is currently held by Laso Schaller, with a jump of 58.8 m (193 ft). Although that did not incorporate a back-flip.
Continually planning events and finding different jump locations, the team have got a tour of the South Coast of England planned for the end of July.
At Northern Diver we wouldn't encourage someone to try cliff jumping without the help and support of people who know what they're doing. But Chris and Team Alzati are all sensible and safe when jumping, they're trying hard to change the face of the sport and we wish them every success (especially if they do it in our wetsuits!).