Man Sets World with 40.5-Meter ‘Death Dive’ into Ice-Cold Water

Norwegian death diver Ken Stornes just became the first person to perform a ‘death dive’ from over 40 meters, jumping from a rock wall into the icy water below.

Invented by guitar player Erling Bruno Hovden at Frognerbadet during the summer of 1972, death diving or ‘Dødsing‘ is a form of extreme freestyle high diving with stretched arms and belly first. Jumps are usually performed from a platform positioned between 10 to 15 meters above the water, but the bravest of death divers plunge from much higher, with the current record in the men’s classic category sitting at 40.5 meters. It was set earlier this month by Ken Stornes, a Norwegian former MMA fighter turned extreme athlete, who plunged into the icy waters of Nordfjord from a platform on the side of a tall cliff.

Photo: Ken Stornes/Instagram

“Once again we take the deathdive world record back to Norway where it belongs,” Stornes wrote on his Instagram, where he first posted the video of his insane dive.

Stornes, who looks and markets himself as a modern-day Viking, has amassed a following of more than 700,000 people on Instagram alone by posting videos of extreme jumps in bodies of freezing water. His latest feat has been viewed millions of times on the popular social network.

“I’m a person who needs to do things, I like to have something to strive for, and like to do things that can be a little risky,” Ken Stornes told Norwegian news website NRK. “At least it makes me feel alive”.

Death-diving from over 40 meters is incredibly dangerous and Stornes admits that he could have seriously injured himself if he didn’t nail the landing perfectly. Classic death diving requires daredevils to dive with their arms and legs extended horizontally for as long as possible, before curling up into a pike position just before they hit the water.

“I landed perfectly,” Stornes said about his record-breaking 40.4-meter death dive. “The flight time and rate may not have been optimal, but the landing was perfect, and that is what counts.”

Asked whether he would ever attempt a death dive from 50 meters high, the infantry combat veteran said that the chance of that was unlikely, as he doesn’t think “you can get away with 50 meters without serious injuries“.