A cannonball splash is the easiest (and most fun) way to dive, but did you know it’s a legitimate sport as well? It’s officially called ‘splashdiving’, but fans lovingly refer to it as ‘arse bombing’!
While regular divers are judged on how smoothly they land in the water, in splashdiving it’s the exact opposite that counts – points are awarded for the size of the splash created on impact. That sounds painful, but leading competitors say it doesn’t really hurt as much as you’d think. “The pain is minimal,” according to the reigning arse-bombing world champion Rainhard Riede from Bavaria. And in the words of arse-bomber Lukas Eglseder, “You get used to it.”
Splashdiving has its own set of rules, and believe it or not, competitors can choose from 13 different styles of diving. The classic ‘arse bomb’ involves landing bum first with the knees tucked into the stomach. Other techniques include ‘the cat’, ‘the chair’, and ‘the plank’. Contestants are required to announce their moves in advance, and are given four chances to make a big impression.
The first dive is all about the splash, as divers aren’t allowed to perform acrobatic moves. The remaining dives give them a chance to show off with somersaults, twists, and various positions. They’re judged on takeoff, execution, and landing. Freestyle elements such as handstands, palm flips, or grabs are given a different score – from one to ten – by each judge. The highest overall scorer wins.
This year, Riede managed to win the coveted title of world champion by performing an impressive set of somersaults and twists, while also hitting the water hard and making a big splash. The women’s splashdiving contest was won by 15-year-old Franziska Fritz. She’s been the champion three years in a row, but wishes more women would get interested in the sport. “It’s a shame that I’m always so alone,” she said.
Founded by a German man named Oliver Schil in 2003, the official splashdiving event was his attempt to “change how pool bombing is viewed by people worldwide.” He came up with the entire structure and rules in one night, and the very next weekend, he organised the first Arschbombe (arse bombing) contest. It was a huge success, with over 6,000 spectators and enormous press coverage. The first ever winner was Michael Schmidt from Bayreuth, Germany.
Since then, Arschbombe World Cups have been a yearly event, with several world champions crowned since. Over time, the name ‘Arschbombe’ was perceived to be rather crude, so they changed it to Splashdiving.
According to splashdiving champion and Guinness World Record holder Christian Guth, the sport is quite close to Olympic diving. “Only we do it freestyle and splash on purpose,” he said in an interview with VICE. He also added that splashdiving is like boxing in terms of the pain. “When you get in the ring for the first time and get hit with two well-aimed left hooks from the local champion, you will probably be crying about it for the rest of the week. But by your 20th match, you will probably know how to avoid the blow or block it.”
“It is the same with splashdiving,” he explained. “With a bit of training, you can get your body ready for almost anything.”
Guth believes that there are about 500 to 1,000 splashdivers in the world today, but only a few of them take part in competitive events.
via The Local