Joey Zuber is the man who’s bringing the extreme sport of Cliff Diving into the mainstream international arena. He’s an inspirational elite athlete who has overcome severe adversity to achieve inconceivable feats. Embarking on the traditional route of diving, with an intensive training schedule and Olympic aspirations, Joey took a step leftfield, and left the diving boards behind in favour of cliff tops and bridges.
Hitting the international Cliff Diving competition scene with a graceful quad somersault, Joey was hooked on the adrenalin, the fear, and the unparalleled thrill of competitive sport. With intensive and methodical training Joey was at the top of the game, and soon won the Red Bull Cliff Diving Championships in Hawaii, the spiritual homeland of cliff diving.
It was during Cliff Diving exhibition in a remote region in Colombia that every diver’s greatest fear became a reality for Joey. As he climbed to the top of the bridge, he was fully aware of the exact water depth, which was only 2.7m and that he needed to react quickly. Overcoming the ritual fear he took the leap. The dive was beautiful and the entry was textbook. But what occurred under the water was not. He felt sand on the outside of his leg and realised that he had hit the bottom…Too hard, too fast. And worst of all, probably injured himself horrifically. Only when the shock started to wear off did Joey begin to comprehend the disaster that had befallen him.
With his femur at an unimaginably unrealistic angle, he barely managed to swim to the rescue boat and his crestfallen friend. The pair attempted to scramble a helicopter to the remote region, but it was impossible to arrange, due the risk of anti aircraft fire from the cocaine guerrillas. With no painkillers, Joey endured a nine hour off-road van trek to the nearest hospital.
Eight hours of surgery in Bogota was filled with terrifying complications, and Joey’s recovery was riddled with life-threatening setbacks including kidney failure. Six further surgeries on his leg, and ultimately complete recovery testify to Joey’s strength of mind, sense of humour and determination to return to Colombia to thank his medical staff, and of course to dive from the same bridge where his
accident took place.
It’s a unique and emotional story of sheer determination, grit and stamina, combined with Joey’s invaluable messages of facing fear, overcoming adversity, perseverance and methodical preparation. Joey is currently the only cliff diver in the world on the motivational speaking circuit, and his engaging and emotive talk delivers a clear and compelling account of his adventures and their resonance with business.
Joey's story has been transformed into a documentary called Dive Into Fear, and he is the official TV host for the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, which is broadcast internationally. He also acts as a cliff diving consultant for film shoots such as the Toyota Camry Atara commercial and the Red Bull Cliff World Series.