Cliff Jumping at South Point (Big Island, Hawaii, USA)

Cliff jumping at the southernmost point in the U.S. -- South Point, Hawaii's Big Island

I’m afraid of heights, so when we started talking about visiting South Point, I didn’t think I’d be jumping off any cliffs. I just wanted to see the southernmost point of the U.S.

But one thing led to another, and the next thing I knew I was splashing into the water. It was absolutely terrifying. But also exhilarating. And I don’t regret it one bit!

Thinking of trying cliff jumping yourself? Find out what you’re in for here!

We arrived as mere spectators.

We watched a few other brave souls go, with no intention of jumping ourselves.

Then I thought maybe I’ll jump.

My brother jumped, and then I reconsidered. The 40′ drop (12 meters) really didn’t look as high as it did in the pictures.

If you’re wondering exactly how high the South Point jump is, most online records I found say 40 feet, though a couple I found said 50 or 60. From experience, I think 40 is probably the most accurate.

I changed my clothes so I’d be ready if I actually built up enough nerve. I watched one more person go — twice — and made my decision. I got onto the platform and gave myself about 10 seconds. “Don’t look down. Just aim for the horizon and jump.”

Cliff jumping at the southernmost point in the U.S. -- South Point, Hawaii's Big Island

My heart was racing, but I started my momentum forward and didn’t stop.

Cliff jumping at the southernmost point in the U.S. -- South Point, Hawaii's Big Island

And then I was falling. Fast.

You reach the water way faster than you think you will.

Cliff jumping at the southernmost point in the U.S. -- South Point, Hawaii's Big Island

“Oh F#@%, what have I done?” (Here’s where I started screaming.)

Cliff jumping on Hawaii's Big Island at South Point

Before the splash at South Point (still screaming…)

Cliff jumping at the southernmost point in the U.S. -- South Point, Hawaii's Big Island

Splashdown (and a big nose full of water)!

I landed feet first with my arms straight out to the sides. I ended up with a superficial bruise on the underside of my arms from the smack. The girl before us didn’t fare so well and ended up with huge swollen bruises on her hamstrings from landing her jump in a sort of seated position.

You can definitely do this without bruising, by the way. I just couldn’t control my flailing arms.

And then I was on my way back up.

There’s a slimy, rusty ladder (which is supposed to be for fishermen) that you use to climb back up from the water. For me and my fear of heights, nearing the top of the ladder was actually the most terrifying part of it all.

Cliff jumping at the southernmost point in the U.S. -- South Point, Hawaii's Big Island

The worst part of the whole thing was climbing up this ladder!

Sweet Victory!

Cliff jumping at the southernmost point in the U.S. -- South Point, Hawaii's Big Island

Happy to be off that ladder!

Cliff jumping at the southernmost point in the U.S. -- South Point, Hawaii's Big Island

We did it! Props to my brother for jumping first.

The South Point cliff dive platform (map) is actually on the west side of the island. So afterward, we walked down to the true southernmost point of the U.S. (map) to get the photos we came here for.

Southermost Point of the U.S. on Hawaii's Big Island

Here I am at the actual southernmost point, where you can walk down to the ocean.

In case you’re wondering, Ian didn’t jump. He was the photographer for this adventure!

I’m planning to do more thrill seeking adventures in the near future. Be sure to subscribe and like us on Facebook so you don’t miss out on any action!

Have you ever jumped off a cliff? Where do you think I should jump next? Tell me in the comments!

About the Author

Diana Southern
In March 2014, Diana called it quits on her traditional American working life and set out to explore the world with her partner in crime (and love of her life) Ian Norman. They now live a sustainable life of full time travel, working for themselves and seeking adventure at the same time. Here on North to South, Diana documents their journey in achieving and maintaining this "road less traveled" way of life.

11 Responses

  1. Anna January 27, 2016 / 8:34 pm

    Ahhh I could never do this! I HATE that feeling of falling in your stomach! This looks insanely high!! I jumped once into a rock pool in Malibu… I think it was maybe only 15′ or so and it took me like half an hour of gathering up the courage. Good job on conquering your fear!

    • Diana Southern January 27, 2016 / 10:32 pm

      It definitely helped watching other people go first and also not spending too much time overthinking it. I bet you could do it!

      And I actually had a similar experience to yours in Malibu before this… but embarrassingly enough, it was at the Malibu Community Pool’s high dive, and it was maybe only 10′ up. I flailed that time, too, and had much worse bruises to show for it. Granted, I was trying to dive that time, so I went in at an awkward angle.

      Anywhoo… I knew the key this time was to not waste any time floundering on my decision. Major recipe for “flail-ure.” 🙂

      • Vibhav March 9, 2017 / 10:56 am

        I just did this myself few weeks back. I relived it again after reading this 😀

        • Diana Southern March 9, 2017 / 10:30 pm

          Cool! Quite the rush, isn’t it? 😀

  2. Phil June 15, 2017 / 10:35 am

    I did this some years ago, twice. Locals told us it was 45′ high, but it sure seemed higher as the water is surprisingly hard when you hit it. A friend who had been on the dive team in school did it feet first to test it, and see if he could dive head first a second time. After the first jump he changed his mind. I should also note that once you’re in the water, if you open your eyes the ocean below is astoundingly clear, especially on a sunny day.

    You don’t have to take the ladder back up, just to the southeast of there is a rocky path where you can climb out, and scramble back up to the top.

    • Diana Southern June 19, 2017 / 5:35 am

      Thanks for sharing, Phil. That’s helpful to know! And I can totally understand your friend not wanting to dive in. I’m lucky I even mustered the courage to jump! 🙂

  3. Karalina April 19, 2018 / 9:36 pm

    That is so awesome that you did that. I’m going with my brother and sister in 2 weeks and I’m so excited!! Hopefully I’ll be able to pull through with it and jump. I’ve never done anything like this before! I’m so excited!

    Do you know if you could get to Papakolea Beach from here easily?

  4. Will May 7, 2018 / 7:03 pm

    We did the cliff dive today and you will be happy to know that they installed a brand new ladder just a few days ago. The old one is still there and boy I am glad I didn’t have to use it!!!

    • Diana Southern May 12, 2018 / 7:14 pm

      Oh man, that is great news! Maybe I can talk Ian into doing it now. 🙂

  5. Harold Holt January 5, 2019 / 2:04 pm

    My wife and I went to Kona on our 48th anniversary, invited my daughter and granddaughter to come along, my granddaughter suggested lets go to green beach, so we headed for green beach, on the way there we saw a sign that said south point, we made the turn and wow, heard people having a great time, once I saw the jump stand I knew I had to try it, my daughter and my granddaughter tried to talk me out of it, my wife knew I would jump, well I got my swim trunks on and a couple of the locals gave me a few pointers, I got on the stand made the jump, it was amazing, hit the water perfect, however the climb out was a little tricky,

    • Diana Southern January 9, 2019 / 4:41 pm

      Isn’t it exhilarating? What a great way to kick off the new year!

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