This viral stunt is a total flop.
“Death diving” is what can only be described as extreme bellyflopping — and it’s the latest dangerous trend gathering fans on TikTok.
Videos of people jumping from great heights and purposefully bellyflopping into the deep blue have gone viral as people across the world are discovering death diving.
Asbjorg Nesje, a young woman from Norway, is responsible for several viral videos in which she can be seen catapulting herself off high surfaces. Her most recent dive alone has gathered 42.5 million views.
In the clip, Nesje throws herself off a wooden platform from 81 feet in the air (the highest Olympic diving board is about 33 feet) and spirals downward for several seconds before splashing into the waters below.
Stunned viewers pleaded for confirmation that Nesje was safe — prompting the dare-diver to upload another angle of the jump that clearly shows her landing and reemerging out of the water.
People are evidently mesmerized by the nerve-racking videos, which boast more than 253 million views on TikTok thus far — and all come stamped with a safety warning.
But these divers don’t have a death wish. Most of them are, in fact, professional extreme athletes. These terrifying jumps originated in Norway where the sport is called dødsing.
The sport was created in Norway in the early 1970s as a way for men to show off in front of girls, said champion Anders Rox.
Dødsing is officially monitored by the Dødsing Federation, which sets guidelines and world rankings and has hosted the world championships in August every year since 2008.
And, indeed, Nesje won both the 2021 and 2022 Døds women’s championships after joining the sport in 2020. She’s currently ranked 33rd across the globe.
The highest-ranking American is Harrison Wells, who comes in 12th place behind 11 Norwegian athletes.
The Dødsing Federation lists three main criteria for marking a good jump: the run-up, flight, and landing.
The run-up is judged by speed and power, which usually comes from a skip of one foot. For the flight, the “døds must be harmonious in the air and appear as controlled at all times,” whether it be a classic or freestyle jump.
A classic døds includes “simple movements,” without full rotations, while a freestyle døds must contain rotations and other “tweaks.”
The thrilling sport has grown in popularity in recent years with the help of viral videos stunning viewers and encouraging daredevils around the world, but some are worried it may lead to another dangerous TikTok trend. The impact of slapping the water’s surface is akin to blunt force trauma and hard bellyflops are indeed known to cause serious bruising and, in more severe scenarios, internal injury.
However, the pros have outlined three safe landings in death diving: the shrimp (hands and feet first), the crusher (elbows and knees first), and the no-hander (head and knees first).
Divers Emil Lybekk and Anders Rox, who are currently ranked fourth and 9th in the world, respectively, posted a YouTube video sharing some tips and tricks for the perfect death dive.
The professional stunt guys warn swimmers not to hesitate or second-guess themselves once they’ve started running, and then to close their bodies and get into one of the landing positions as late as possible.
“It’s all about going out and having fun with your friends and do the fun stuff,” Rox says in the tutorial.
“And never use a wet suit,” Lybekk challenges his fellow daredevils.