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History of The Clam and
TheClam.com web site.

TheClam.com - An historical tribute to what use to be a hundred-year tradition of cliff jumping, enjoying the La Jolla Rough Water Swim and 4th of July activities until it was outlawed.

The Clam itself is a collection of cliffs located in La Jolla, CA. The edges hang over the Pacific Ocean from which people jump or dive off of. The reason it is called "The Clam" is because the two main edges of the cliff stick out over the water and round in the middle to form the shape of a clamshell.

The Clam web site was created in 1997 by Will Childers. The web site was created to commemorate what once use to be a hundred-year tradition of cliff jumping and a beautiful place to be enjoyed by many until 1993 when the no jumping law started to be fiercely enforced. The cliffs are now taken over by sea birds, which have defecated all over the cliffs. What once use to be beautiful and brown now looks like a snowy Colorado mountain peek, almost all white from sea bird feces.

Will Childers started enjoying the cliffs in 1984 when he was in the 7th grade. Although he had snorkeled and researched the cliffs to know what the depths of the jumps are, he had no professional diving experience. In college he had taken a springboard diving class and by the second semester had made the diving team. Although he didn't pursue diving any further than college he continued to jump the cliffs of La Jolla and anywhere else he could find. "It's amazing how enjoyable cliff jumping is when you have springboard experience under your belt. You have more confidence knowing exactly the dynamics of yourself falling, making it a much safer experience."

Up until 1993, when lifeguards started to heavily enforce a 30 years old no-jumping law, hundreds of people would congregate at The Clam during the summertime. Some would cliff jump and others would stick around for the entertainment. It was a giant tourist attraction of La Jolla, similar to that of the Acapulco cliff divers in Mexico.

Will Childers and Eric Lind are now trying to reopen The Clam. They have started a web site dedicated to repelling the no jumping law. More information can be found at TheClam.org.

There are two primary reasons for repelling this law. One - The hundred-year tradition of cliff jumping from The Clam should not be illegal. Two - Statistics have shown that it's actually more dangerous to have a no-jumping law in affect.

What the law does not take into account is the thinking of an adolescent. Although no one should dive off of a cliff until they have researched the area and have had professional springboard training, they still do. People are going to jump the cliffs, regardless of a law.

The safest time to jump at The Clam is in the summertime. The water is warm, the visibility is better, there are no large swells and there are lifeguards around. Unfortunately, because of the no-jumping law, that means people are going to jump when it's the least likely time to get caught. That means in the wintertime or at night. Those are the two most dangerous times to jump at The Clam.

For one, there are no lifeguards around during those times. At night, you might jump in the wrong place. During the wintertime, the water is very cold and there are large swells. The only way to get out of the ocean is to climb up a barnacle infested reef. In the wintertime, its very hard to climb out because you will get about 1/3 of the way out and a swell will hit the reef and knock you back into the ocean. It can take about 5 - 8 attempts to climb out before success. Because of the extremely cold waters and the energy used trying to climb out, people can get hypothermia and get tired to the point that they simply can't swim any longer and drown.

Up until 1993, only one person had died at The Clam. It was a man who had jumped off of Dead Mans and died about 30 days after his jump from internal injuries. After 1993 when the no-jumping law startd to be heavily enforced, three people have died. All three were in the wintertime and died not from jumping or diving, but drowned in the turbulent ocean surf because they could not climb out of the water.

It seems counter intuitive to have people jumping and diving from the cliffs in these dangerous times and not when lifeguards are present. The no-jumping law should be repealed so that people can jump more safely.

All sports have some calculated risks involved. If you just haphazardly do any sport without researching it, you will probably be injured. If you just stuffed a parachute into a backpack and jumped out of a plane without training, more than likely the chute won't open and you'll probably be in some serious trouble. If someone just picks up a skateboard and bombs down a hill without being aware of speed wobbles and if they don't have tight trucks they'll probably wind up crashing and hurting themselves very badly. If someone goes rock climbing and planted the pro in the cliff the wrong way and then slips, it's not going to hold them when they fall. If someone just grabbed a hanglider and went for it, they would most likely not know how to control it correctly and crash. With all sports, some training and education is required, the same goes with cliff jumping. It's important that one does the research of the area, learns the tides and the depth of the landing zone and practice jumping and diving techniques in a pool to learn how to land properly to avoid injury.

One reason cliff jumping is outlawed is because there is no or little money to be made from it. All other sports require gear of some sort. The sales of surfboards, wetsuits, parachutes, rope or whatever equipment allows others to have the money to lobby for their sport. Cliff jumping only requires a pair of shorts. Because people and organizations can make money off of equipment sales for their sport, they keep those sports legal. I propose this question. In America, the land of the free, should a sport or activity be illegal just because someone isn't making money off of it?

In the last 100 years or more, only 4 people have died at The Clam, one of which was back in the 1930's. Last year alone in the US, 42,000 people died on the highways of America from accidents. People die all of the time participating in all kinds of sports and activities. People get lost on hiking trips and die or get severely injured from exposure or fall off of a cliff while rock climbing or pulled out to sea from a riptide while swimming in the ocean or...or...or. Why are those sports not outlawed? It's unfair that cliff jumping is outlawed just because there is no one making money off of it to be able to lobby it's cause.