Coasteering

Love adventure? We’ve just been coasteering, an extreme sport invented in Pembrokeshire, Wales.

It involves rock climbing, diving, swimming, exploring and hiking around the cliffs of the Welsh coast. A guide kitted us out with a wetsuit, lifejacket and helmet.

First we gingerly descended a cliff to a seven-foot jump into the onrushing surf. It dragged us, floating, into a tight circular inlet appropriately named The Toilet. Large waves would enter this cliff-bowl and suddenly elevate all five of us. When the waves receded we’d descend fifteen to twenty feet within three seconds, harmlessly bumping into each other like inflatable toys. Heart-stopping fun.

For four exhilarating hours we rode whirlpools, explored caves and climbed steep jagged rocks to leap from into the crashing sea. The highest jump was a vertebrae rattling twenty feet. This video gives some indication of the thrill, though you may want to turn down the audio.

The coasteering culture, like many outdoor sports, tends to the granola side. Our guide highlighted the local flora and fauna. A year-round surfer on Wales’s surprisingly temperate coast (though the UK is parallel to Hudson’s Bay, the west receives the warmth of the Gulf Stream) his knowledge was deep, his patter beguiling.

There isn’t any coasteering community yet in Canada, though there’s an abundance of extreme sports, challenges, races and a similar activity, canyoneering.

But surely it’s only a matter of time till it emerges. Lord knows we have plenty of beautiful coast.

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