A CLIFF jumping thrill-seeker has told of why he and his pals are ignoring police and Coastguards’ warnings.
Dave Wood, 24, was one of many leaping off the 15m high wall into the sea off Plymouth Hoe last night.
He said he believed, if the risks were properly calculated, then it was as safe as using a tall diving board.
In video footage, youngsters in wetsuits can be seen ‘tombstoning’ – the name given to the act of diving off high piers and cliffs.
It has also been reported how swimmers were taking to jumping into the water at Dead Man’s Cove without any clothes on, in a craze being branded “moonstoning”.
It was Mr Wood’s first go at throwing himself off the walls at Dead Man’s Cove.
The former university student said: “I’ve lived in Plymouth for three years but the conditions have never been right.
“Today though, the tide was in and it was a calm sunny day and I thought ‘Why not?’.
“This is probably the highest thing I have ever jumped off. I had lots of adrenaline going through me. It’s like a bungee jump but more extreme because you don’t have any ropes holding you.”
Mr Wood was taking the plunge despite the fact that several people have been left paralysed by a jump gone wrong.
“You are aware of the danger,” he said. “I wouldn’t do it if I thought I was going to get injured.
“I wouldn’t regard it as that much more dangerous than diving off a normal diving board. As long as you plan your entry you should be fine.
“You have a pretty big landing area here so you would have to get it very wrong to hurt yourself.”
Mr Wood said he felt the removal of the 10m diving boards next to Tinside Lido several years ago had encouraged people to try tombstoning.
Police said they hoped parents of the younger children taking part would talk to them about the dangers involved.
Sergeant Vicky Howell said: “We recognise young people want to enjoy themselves and some get a thrill from doing things with an element of danger attached to it. Our concern is if those activities are deemed to put themselves at an unnecessary risk or cause offence to other members of the public.
“We work closely with our partners – Plymouth City Council, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the RNLI – to raise awareness of the dangers of tombstoning.
“I would also ask the parents of these young people who tombstone off the Hoe to highlight the very real risks their children face and what they stand to lose if something goes wrong.”
Police have a dispersal order in place along the Hoe that gives them the power to move groups of people – including those tombstoning – if they are causing a nuisance or putting themselves at risk.