Truls (18) is world champion in “dødsing” – or “death diving” in English – which is a peculiar kind of diving where the risk of doing a belly-flop is ever present. The annual championship garners widespread international attention.
Perhaps you have watched it on YouTube, where the most popular videos have several million views. Or maybe you read about it in the newspapers - The Daily Mail is just one of the international media outlets that already did an article on this phenomenon.
Of course, we’re referring to “death diving” (Nor. “dødsing”), an amateur sport which – thanks to the internet – has received massive attention in recent years.
A sport which, according to last year’s world champion, Truls Torp (18), could only have been invented in Norway:
“It’s just how Norwegians are. We’re all totally insane,” he says.
An unceremonious form of diving
The World Championship has been held in Oslo every year since 2008
«Døds» is an amateur sport and is not recognised by the Norwegian Swimming Federation
The world championship in “death diving” originated in idyllic Frognerbadet public swimming
facility at Majorstua in Oslo, just a stone’s throw away from Vigeland Museum and Park
facility in Frogner park.
There is a 10-metre- high diving platform that dates back to when the public swimming facility
opened in the mid-1950s. The diving platform is perhaps the best known of its kind in Norway – not least because of references made to it in numerous popular Norwegian novels
If you’re still unsure about what “death diving” entails, it can be described as a death-defying
and strictly unorthodox kind of diving. There are two varieties: In “classic death diving,” you
hurl yourself horizontally from the diving platform with your arms and legs extended like a
sea star and then tuck into a sort of folded-in- half-dive the second before hitting the water.
The other variety is “freestyle” in which the divers perform radical, acrobatic tricks before
hitting the water.
The world championship in death diving has been held every summer since 2008, and this
year’s championship will be held on Saturday, 19 August. 30 aspiring finalists from seven
countries will be competing for the title of World Champion.
Truls Torp, who also has his own death diving channel on YouTube, will be going “all in” to defend his title.
“I haven’t done anything else besides death diving this summer,” he says.
The world champion has been doing death diving for two years. It all started when he and some friends decided to give it a try – just for fun.
“We had heard about the World Championship in Death Diving but weren’t quite sure what it
was all about. We began jumping off the 1-metre and 3-metre platform and realised that it
was a lot of fun. We then moved up to the 10-metre platform. That’s when we became part
of the ‘action.’ The 10-metre platform is where things get serious!”
So, what is it that actually motivates a healthy, level-headed 18-year- old to hurl himself into
the abyss – where the risk of sustaining a grueling belly-flop is overwhelmingly high?
“What motivates me is the whole scene and how we get along in our death diving districts.
We travel around Norway and do death diving at festivals and events, and you feel like you
belong to a big group of mates. You’re one of the guys, so to speak,” says Torp with a smile.
He has no secret about how to win the World Championship in Death Diving, but he believes
that self-confidence and attitude play a big part.
“You should keep cool on the 10-metre platform. And show how you dominate in the air.”
Paul Rigault, the “Death General” of the International Dødsing Association
(), thinks there are two reasons why Norwegians are so fascinated by death diving.
“It is a low-threshold test of manhood open to anyone. All you need is a 10-metre high dive
and water. The other reason is perhaps that Norway lacks its own identity abroad. The Finns
have the sauna, but what does Norway have?”
Rigault is one of the three co-founders of the Dødsing Association and was there to witness
how death diving has become more widespread and provided entertainment for people
across the globe. Death diving has garnered media attention in such places as the USA,
Australia, and Japan.
Due to the international coverage, the Dødsing Association decided to stream this year’s
event via the extreme sports channel, Fatstone.tv.
The world champion, Torp, advises anyone who is curious about death diving to take it easy
when they first start, which is what he did.
“Make yourself a goal that you will one day jump from the 10-metre platform. Start off at
lower heights doing some classic death diving and take it from there.”
He also encourages beginners to be careful when first starting because it easy to land on the
surface of the water in the wrong way and that can be extremely painful.
“If you “curl up” too late, the water will hit you smack in the stomach, and that really hurts.
And the worst thing is when the water surface hits you right in the scrotum.”
The entrance to Frognerbadet public swimming facility opens at 4 pm on Saturday,
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