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Diver Aidan Heslop is only 15 but he’s already a world class cliff diver

Teetering from a 27m-high cliff might make most people feel, well, on edge.

But for 15-year-old Aidan Heslop there is nowhere he’d rather be. The youngster is a world-class cliff diver.

And 27m is the highest point from which he’s tumbled.

“My mate got me interested in it about four years ago,” the teenager said.

“I did my first competition in Switzerland. The first year I did that was in 2014.”

He was in the junior section.

Aidan Heslop started cliff diving after a pal got him into it

“I did the juniors again in 2015 and was in the men’s in 2016,” he said.

“I came third in 2016 and this year I won.

“Obviously I was very happy, it was a big achievement. There is usually a whole barbecue where everyone celebrates.”

He was given special dispensation to compete with the adults in the International Cliff Diving Championships and triumphed from 18.5m against his more experienced rivals.

“Everyone was really supportive and really happy for me and I was complimenting them on their diving,” he said.

“Part of me was going ‘Yes!’”

He insisted “you get used to” the height.

That was about four years ago

“Every time you get up there it feels like it’s a little bit lower,” he said.

“The first time you don’t really know what you’re doing up there.

“But once you get that first time it’s a relief and you know what you’re doing.”

Aidan has been cliff diving competitively since he was 12 but most of his training time goes towards more conventional 10m platform events.

He is hoping to represent Wales at the 2018 Commonwealth Games doing that.

If he does he will be the first person to dive for Wales at the games since gold medallist Bob Morgan in 1990.

Aidan said: “I don’t really think of much when I’m diving, I usually focus on one thing, the dive, and I keep my mind on that.

“Everything else is muscle memory and just happens because you have trained so much.

“It’s a big impact once you hit the water and the higher you go the more it is.”

Aidan is from Plymouth but he can dive for Wales because his mum is from Blaina, in Blaenau Gwent .

This year he won in the men’s section of the International Cliff Diving Championship in Ponte Brolla, Switzerland

“Once you have made a good entry you’re just really happy with yourself,” he said.

“If you go a bit short in the rotation it can really hurt a lot.

“People have been knocked out from 20m.

“It’s extremely dangerous but we all have a level of skill and know what we are doing.

“If something does go wrong we are prepared for it. It’s dangerous but we have made it less dangerous.”

Scuba divers patrol the waters and a boat is on hand with a stretcher just in case.

“I started by trying to do the easy stuff from low boards and progressed from there. When I entered my first competition I didn’t expect to get in but did.”

Last year he was filmed leaping from disused Laira Bridge, which crosses the River Plym in Plymouth.

His mates think it’s ‘pretty cool.’ He doesn’t like to brag

“My friends think the diving is pretty cool but I don’t like to boast about it,” Aidan said.

“I keep it to myself unless someone asks me.”

In June he won individual bronze at the European Junior Championships in Norway.

“Watching diving on a video does not do it justice,” he said.

“You get to see the dive but when you’re there you get the atmosphere and the tension and you see the nerves and danger of the sport.”

He advised newcomers to the sport to “be safe”.

“You need to check the height to make sure it is not too high – you do not want to jump off a 60m cliff.

“Make sure the water is deep enough. I just go down to the water and measure it.”

This can be done with a tape measure with a weight attached.

“The highest I have done is 27m which is the Red Bull height. I did that in the Czech Republic at a festival.”

This week he has been diving in Hungary.

His 27m leap was at a festival in the Czech Republic

His mum, Helen, said her boy did not inherit his talent from her.

“I can’t even jump off the side of the pool,” the 49-year-old said.

“It’s not something I have ever liked, I’m not a good swimmer.”

Aidan makes fun of his mother “all the time”

“If I say anything is good or bad he says: ‘Well, you give it a go’,” Helen added.

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