HomeArticlesLifestyleGold Coast diving reaches new heights with champion coach on board
Red Bull Cliff Diving Championships

Gold Coast diving reaches new heights with champion coach on board

Maggie Gray | October 2020

Joey Zuber has made waves around the world for plunging off cliff faces, securing Red Bull championships, and taking extreme sports to new heights. Today, Joey is diving head on into a different challenge – coaching the next generation of divers at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre.

It’s the realisation of a lifelong dream for Joey, who broke the surface of the industry 30 years ago.

“I started platform diving at the age of seven. My father was a diver in England, so the sport was in my blood. Around the age of 14, I was awarded an Australian Institute of Sport scholarship and began an intensive training regime with Olympic aspirations,” says Joey.

Joey’s career took a surprising turn when he chose to pursue a high-diving job in Austria. Within three months, he had learnt complicated manoeuvres and was diving from heights of 22 metres – more than double the highest traditional platform dive performed at the Olympics. Before long, Joey’s diving career had taken him all around the world to places including the Philippines, Germany, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, and Holland.

“I never planned to get into cliff diving – it was just one of those things that evolved naturally as I was travelling. In my opinion, it really is one of the most terrifying extreme sports there is. You free fall from up to 27 metres whilst performing complex acrobatic manoeuvres before plunging at speeds of 85 kilometres per hour into the ocean. All of this happens within three seconds while exposing yourself to 10-G forces upon impact with the water,” says Joey.

“That being said, after the first time I tried it – I completely fell in love with the challenging nature of the sport. In 2000, I competed in my first Red Bull cliff diving competition in Switzerland. I was overcome with fear, but at the same time, I was hooked. I had always liked the idea of diving in a non-conventional environment. Each time you dive, you are pushing yourself to overcome fears. There’s an immense amount of satisfaction involved in that.”

In 2002, Joey was crowned the Red Bull Cliff Diving Champion in Hawaii after pulling off an extremely challenging quad somersault off a 26-metre cliff face.

Over the course of his 11 year competitive career, Joey scored accolades for his diving expertise as well as world-wide recognition for bringing the thrill seeking sport of cliff diving into the mainstream sporting arena.

These days, you won’t find Joey teetering on the edge of a cliff face in Monaco; instead, you’ll find him enjoying the great outdoors on the Gold Coast and coaching young aspiring athletes at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre.

“After I stopped diving competitively, I moved to the Gold Coast and I never left. The more I travelled, the more I wanted to come back to the Gold Coast. It’s got a great balance of city living and the great outdoors. Hiking, trail riding, paddle boarding, boating, diving – you name it, the Gold Coast has it covered,” says Joey.

“The Paradise Diving Club is the City’s only recreational and competitive diving club. I used to train at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre to prepare for cliff diving competitions. I still love diving off the 10-metre board and looking out to the Broadwater and Surfers Paradise skyline.

“Of all the facilities I’ve trained in around the world, the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre is right up there.”

The Gold Coast Aquatic Centre features an Olympic standard pool, a 5-metre-deep diving pool with varying diving platform heights, a gymnastics hall customised for diving – with spring boards, trampolines and a harness system to lift divers in the air to safely learn skills, a foam pit and plenty of crash matts and equipment.

“There’s no doubt the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games helped put diving on the map locally and cemented the Gold Coast as a major player on the world’s sporting stage. As the sport continues to grow, we’re looking to build our club membership and hopefully even find the next Olympic or Commonwealth Games champion!”

The Paradise Diving Club offers programs that cater to all diver skill sets from beginners through to elite competitors.

“We offer classes for beginners, intermediates and athletes competing at a state and national level. We are also in close communication with Diving Australia and hope to have a high performance program up and running soon,” says Joey.

“We’ve seen some incredible athletes come out of the Paradise Diving Club. Olympic medallists and 10-metre diving specialists Brittany Broben and Melissa Wu shone at the 2008 Olympics. Local legend Dominic Bedgood is an elite diver with the Australian Institute of Sport, and competed here for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Helena Merten was also a diver with the club – she went on to place second in the Red Bull Cliff Diving Word Series in 2017, and now performs with Cirque du Soleil.

“Diving is one of those sports that is a bit like gymnastics. You develop flexibility, strength, balance, coordination and aerial awareness. You never know where a career in diving can take you.”

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