Australian Steve Black dives to win the 1999 Cliff Diving World Championship in Brontallo, Canton Tessin, Switzerland

Cliff diving is one of the most dangerous adventure sports in the world, but it has maintained a following of both professionals and amateurs for hundreds of years. What started as a loyalty test for a Hawaiian king in the 1700s eventually morphed into a sanctioned world class activity (associated with the World High Diving Federation) that attracts the most acrobatic, thrill-seeking athletes in the world.

Cliff divers stare death in the face before every dive. Each leap is carefully calculated but still poses the threat of serious injury or even death. The danger associated with the sport has even earned it the nickname tombstoning. However, most divers would argue that the rewards of cliff diving greatly outweigh the risks associated with it. After all, there are very few adventure sports that take athletes to such visually stunning locales and offer the same adrenaline rush.

Cliff diving is clearly a unique sport that is not for the faint of heart, but if the proper safety precautions and diving techniques are practiced, the experience can be a life-changing event.