“A wise man once said, “”a comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.”” It’s amazing how some people spend their entire lives living within preset boundaries, never challenging themselves, sticking to the conventional rules and staying miles away from taking any risks. While at the same time, there are people who in the same lives that they get to live, use it to explore everything that they can, about themselves and everything around them. It is true indeed that unless you step out of your shell and push yourself beyond the dingy limits that you have conveniently set for yourself, you cannot fathom the true meaning of life. And what better way to test the waters than to engage in an adventure that will make you explore the beautiful facets of nature that otherwise remain unexplored. Deep water soloing is an adventure sport that has started gaining a lot of popularity nowadays. The distinct characteristics of the activity have not just grabbed the attention of experienced adventurers but also of the amateurs who are openly willing to try it out. If you are one of those, who has been thinking about trying deep water soloing out, our valuable tips will come in handy to help you make the best of every moment you spend out there. The tips will be helpful even if you are looking for deeper insights into what it is all about, let’s get started.
First things first, what exactly is deep water soloing?
Also known as pisco bloc, deep water soloing is a unique form of solo rock climbing which means that the climber climbs alone, and no one belays him. The activity is performed at sea cliffs mostly when there is a high tide at the sea. The idea of doing it near water bodies is to help reduce the impact in case the climber falls because there is no belay supporting him. Though deep water soloing has started making its way into mainstream sports only now, it has been in existence since the 1970s. The style of climbing and the little nuances that are involved in the technique continue to evolve even today.
Deep water soloing can get as thrilling as you want it to be. You’re faced with a mighty climb in front of you and the deep sometimes menacing waters (due to the high tide) below you. Considered a notch above coasteering, deep water soloing is one activity that every climber or adventurer must say yes to at least once in their lifetime. There are no harnesses, ropes, and racks. All that there is is the sun, rock, water, and that spirit to challenge yourself and proceed without any inhibitions.
Where to go?
Cliffs and deep water are the only two deciding factors that should play a role in deciding where you want to go for deep water soloing. Currently, there are a few places where people go to undertake this adventure. These sites include the coasts of Devon and Dorset in England, the coast of Majorca in the Mediterranean, Calanques near Marseille, the surrounding areas of the Southern Pembrokeshire coast, parts of Spain, Sardinia, Ireland, Greece and the lakes of central Texas.
When to go?
When to go is a major deciding factor to be considered in a deep water soloing adventure. It’s not like a bird watching trip for which you can go any time of the year depending upon which bird you want to see or a simple rock climbing trip which also does not need you to choose a particular time that is more suitable than the other. Since a cliff overlooking sea water is an integral part of the sport and there are high chances of you falling into it because you know, there is no harness supporting you; it is preferable to avoid going for deep water soloing during the winter season. No one wants to fall from a considerable height into cold water which sends the body into a chill. In the spring season, the climate may get warm, but the water is still on the colder side of the scale so avoid that too. Ideally, the best time to go for deep water soloing is when the summer season has knocked on your door long enough for the water to become warm and welcoming. During the September season, the average temperature of the water is as high as 19 degrees which is an excellent time to begin your adventure.
What gear do I need?
Well, traditionally, deep water soloing is minus any equipment such as ropes or harness which is, in fact, one of the nice things about this adventure sport. But apart from this, an experienced adventurer will always have a few things to make his experience a fulfilling and satisfactory one. They include:
- Replacement boots because you don’t want to resume your climb after falling into the water with drenched boots, they will only weigh you down and drain your energy
- Chalk bag
- Clothes: Shorts and comfortable t-shirts are ideal for the sport.
- Abseil rope (this will be helpful if you need help to start your climb)
Do I need to take food supplies with me?
A one-word answer to this question would be yes. Food translates into energy, and that is what gives you the strength to climb such spicy cliffs and then swim out of the water if in case you fall. But don’t mistake the food we are referring to as snacks, specially packaged ones. They might be tasty, but they give you the wrong type of carbs and calories that you do not need before an exhaustive physical activity. A considerable option is MRE or Meals, Ready to Eat. Initially made as food for the military who are away from traditional home cooked food but need the energy to remain active nevertheless, MREs are a reliable source of energy and nutrients for any outdoor activity.
They are made in a hermetically sealed environment which preserves their nutritional value and makes them rugged for rough use.
The MREs are also resistant against external impact which makes them the perfect food to take on an adventure.
A single pack of MRE contains 1250 calories that are enough for a person for a day. MREs also have full day packet meals which include breakfast, lunch and dinner along with snacks and different type of diets such halal or kosher. These meals have desserts and beverages as well.
You don’t have to carry extra utensils because MREs have their plates, spoon or fork that you can discard after use.
MREs contain a healthy mix of all varieties of food that are tasty as well as nutritious.
MREs have a long shelf life which varies from 3 days to 5 years. If you are going for a long trip, you don’t have to worry about these ready to eat meals going stale or losing their nutritional content. Most of these packets come with water supplies which reduce your load of carrying extra water bottles.
One of the best things about Meals, Ready to Eat is that they do not require manual heating or cooking. They have a self-activated heating feature which warms up the food as soon as you open the packet and fill up with a water.
MREs are not canned so are light weight and more convenient to carry.
What about water?
Hydration is crucial to any outdoor sport. No matter how much food you eat, unless you have enough water to drink, you will never feel active and ready to go. You have the choice to buy MREs that come with water supplies. Apart from that, water packets are also sold separately. You can buy them and take them along depending upon the duration of the trip. Apart from water, it is also good if you take energy drinks with you to keep yourself active, energized and hydrated at all times.
Is today a good day?
You need to have at least two to three days at hand for a deep water soloing trip. You cannot simply arrive at the cliff and begin the soloing because you have to keep the environmental conditions in mind. A paramount requirement is that you must be a good swimmer to try out deep water soloing, without which it is easy for this fun and exciting activity to turn quite dangerous.
Do not choose the day when the sea waters are too rough, and the tide is too high or too low. It is important to know what you will fall into and whether you will be able to make your way out of the water or not. Sometimes, no matter how experienced a swimmer you are, the currents of the water are strong enough to push you into the rocks with sharp edges. Such a situation can be potentially fatal.
How to hit the water?
Hitting the water surface has a technique which is more important that you would think. There are instances when people who do not know the right method and fall into the water with a large force either face front or on their back. Once you lose your hold from the cliff, twist and kick in the air until you have an upright position before you hit the water. As soon as you do, take a pencil like or streamlined position. Do not have a very rigid or firm body posture because then the impact of hitting will be quite hard. Don’t leave it too loose as well. Be a mixture of both, flexible yet firm. Remember to keep your body upright and move your legs and arms in the air. Having a streamlined position is the key.
Keep your safety in mind.
Any outdoor or adventure sport requires you to take precautions. To ensure safety when deep water soloing always go in the company of someone else. Even if they are first timers, it is comforting to know that if something unwanted happens there is someone who can perform the first aid and call for help.
Observe the path that leads you to the destination and mark the exit points. If something happens, you should know which path to take if you want to leave.
When people go on higher cliffs, they take a little boat with themselves. The boat helps in pulling people out if they are unable to make their way out of water themselves if anything goes wrong.
As long as you are prepared for the outcomes and are confident enough to help yourself and others around you, your adventure is going to be a great one.”