When jumping off a diving board, a belly flop is not the outcome most people are looking for, but for those competing in the crazy Norwegian sport of Dødsing, hitting the water belly first is a risk that comes with the territory.
Dødsing, or “Death Diving”, is a Norwegian extreme sport that has daredevils jumping from a 10-meter-high board with their arms and legs spread out in an x-formation. The goal is to keep the pose for as long as possible and curl your body slightly right before hitting the water to prevent injuries. At the World Dødsing Championship, a wacky competition held every summer since 2008, the diver who manages to remain flat the longest during their jump is pronounced the winner.
But there are plenty of fearless dødsing divers at the world championship, so in order to determine the winner, judges also take into account other factors, such as the speed, height and power of the jump, the originality of the jumping style and the spray produced when hitting the water.
The painful-looking sport is believed to have been invented during the 1960’s, at the famous Frognerbadet pool complex in Oslo, probably by a bunch of kids trying to show off in front of their friends. The first ever dødsing championship was a small affair, with just six divers and about a dozen spectators, but after the founding of Det internasjonale dødseforbundet (The International Dødsing Association) in 2011, its popularity grew exponentially. These days, the World Dødsing Championship held at Frognerbadet is a big event, featuring close to 100 divers and thousands of spectators.
It’s no surprise that the popularity of has begun spreading across Europe in recent years. It is, after all, a fun sport to watch, as confirmed by the thousands of spectators gathering every year to see who can make the biggest splash. It’s fun for the divers as well, although they admit that coming out of the pool with a few bruises is to be expected, as well.
“It is both fun and challenging. It’s fun to push yourself a little, feel the adrenaline,” dødsing diver Arne Veim Haugland says. “Why should you do what everyone else does? I’m a little restless. I love to do things; everything should be tried.”
“It’s about being crazy and liking to challenge yourself while also having the ability to see exactly when you need to collapse in the air. One does not need to be super athletic to be good. You have to have guts and perform the jump with style,” Haugland adds.
Photo: DagOliver/Det Internasjonale Dødseforbundet