Before I could see Malibu Creek, I could hear it. As my friends and I hiked further along the trail, the sounds of people laughing and screaming grew louder and louder. As soon as we made one slight turn around a tree, we could see it all. We arrived at a site that looked like it belonged only in the movies – a ring of cliffs surrounding glistening green-blue waters, populated by families and friends enjoying the hottest day of the year so far.
Groups of ecstatic jumpers stood on the lower cliffs while jumpers on the higher cliffs earned dozens of cheers before like “Jump! Do it!” and cheers during and after the jump. It was something I have only seen on TV and online in posts that refer to cliff diving as something to cross of a bucket list – which was exactly what I was about to do.
Cliff diving involves no equipment, instructor, or form. All cliff diving consists of is you, a 10-40 foot cliff, and a deep, opaque body of water. Though cliff diving can be dangerous as the height of the cliff increases and the depth of the water, Malibu Creek is perfectly safe, even despite California’s drought the past years. Despite knowing this and seeing dozens of people jump before me, I was still nervous beyond belief.
Determined to take the first jump before I could chicken out, I watched my best friend backflip into the water and resurface. I took a deep breath and walked up to the edge, looking down into the murky water, and jumped. It was both the longest yet shortest two seconds of my life, as I fell through the air and crashed into the waters’ depths. I resurfaced from the water to a round of cheers and laughed to myself, exclaiming that I wanted to go again.
Afterwards, cliff diving felt like an enormous achievement – a feeling beyond just crossing it off my bucket list. Cliff diving may not be an expensive thrill, like theme park roller coasters or bungee jumping, but it is definitely an authentic thrill that will leave you ecstatic for days. There is a rawness to cliff diving when you realize that you are doing something that people have done through hundreds of centuries, and you are dependent on no one but yourself.
Maybe cliff diving is not the safest thing to do, or the most thrilling, but it does change your life. Maybe taking chances is not as terrifying of a concept once you have literally thrown yourself off of a cliff. Maybe sometimes it is just nice to know that life is short, so you should enjoy it to its fullest. Maybe you can be like me and find freedom in Malibu Creek.
Malibu Creek State Park: 1925 Las Virgenes Rd, Calabasas, CA 91302
The safest and best place to cliff dive is in the Rock Pool. Do not go to other areas such as the dam for cliff diving unless you are willing to take the large risk. Be careful to check the water level and do not jump if you have any health problems or injuries. Start with the lowest cliff and work your way up if this is your first time cliff diving.