How to Create a Rip Entry in Diving

Three Important Elements to Eliminate the Splash

Diving Flat Hand
Diving Flat Hand. Photo: Woody Franklin

If you have seen diving on television or in person, one of the most impressive aspects of a dive is the ability to enter the water with little or no splash. It is truly amazing to see a diver spin through 3 ½ somersaults and hit the water at upwards of 35 mph with barely a ripple.

What's a Rip?

This entry into the water with no splash is called the “rip entry.” The technique is so named because if executed properly on a headfirst entry into the water, it sounds like someone has ripped a piece of paper and the water looks as if it is boiling as air bubbles rise to the surface.

What does it take to master the rip entry? Three basic ingredients work together to pull off one of the most important parts of a dive: the flat hand, arm position, and body alignment.

The Flat Hand

Before entering the water, the diver will grab his hand with his palm facing the water creating a flat surface. To do this correctly put one arm over your head, face your palm up toward the sky and grab the back of that hand with the other hand. Your thumbs should be interlocked and your fingers wrapped around the hand that will hit the water. Now squeeze tightly so that your arms press against your head. Your palm should be flat enough so that if a diver were to stand on the ground in proper alignment, a book could be balanced on the flat hand.

Arm Position

When the proper position is attained for a head first entry and you have grabbed your flat hand, the arms should squeeze against your head covering the ears. This creates stability. If your arms are too far back, the water will pull them behind your head causing too much arch in your body. If they are too far forward, the water will pull them down toward your stomach.

Body Alignment

When you enter the water, your body needs to be as tight as possible. Just like your arm position, this creates stability and reduces the chance that the water will twist or bend your body. By tight I mean that every muscle in your body is tensed so that the water cannot move you around.

  • Front, Inward or Twisting Dives: The diver should assume a hollow body position. So if a line were drawn through the body from the hands to the feet, it would be slightly curved.
  • Back and Reverse Dives: The diver will slightly arch his body as they reach backward for the water. Just like the front alignment, if a line were drawn through the body from the hands to the feet, it would be slightly curved but in the opposite direction.

All of this may sound confusing and despite the fact that the entry into the water takes less than a second, it really is not all that hard to master. The real key is practice. Good divers with rip entries practice, practice, practice. And when they think they have it down, they practice it again!