Meet The Badass Adventurer Bringing Cliff Diving To The Mainstream

Living a double life is inherently cool. Just ask Batman, Hannah Montana, or Hope Lane — the super cool woman working to push cliff diving from an underground scene to mainstream legitimacy. Okay, so Lane isn’t donning a mask or a wig and developing an elaborate alternate persona, but she is working a straight up office jobby job and spending every weekend hiking into a remote location to film her crew throwing themselves off of very, very tall cliffs and waterfalls.

For the last five years, Lane has worked in the art department at Volcom — the rad lifestyle brand that dominates in the boardsport world. But, the minute her day is done on Friday, she is in her car speeding to cliffs, falls, and hot springs across California and neighboring states. She gets about 24-hours to don a bikini, grab a camera, and rock some extreme sports shit. Then, she makes the drive back and is sitting in an ergonomic desk chair by 9 am on Monday morning. If she didn’t have a truly sick Instagram feed documenting her daredevil life outside work, it’s possible that her cubemates in the rat race would have no idea she is a straight up daredevil. Maybe she should get a wig or mask.

We were stoked that Lane was willing to take time out of a truly packed schedule to talk with us about her adventures, and Excursion Always — the team she manages and for which creates content. Keep an eye on her and the team because this sport is about to blow up in a big way. This way, you can tell people you knew all about it before it was cool. Get that hipster cred.

When did you decide to dedicate your life to adventure? Have you always been like this?

Probably five years ago … five and a half. I was eighteen or nineteen and I decided to take it up a level because I was really into dance, but dance classes are honestly too expensive. I needed something else.

I asked my friend. We were hanging out, and I saw that she went to waterfalls and did all these hikes. I was like, “Hey, can I go with you?” And she was like, “Yeah. What’s your commitment like? Because we’re leaving tomorrow at 6 am, if you want to go.” And that was probably my first time going to a cliff jumping spot, and she was like, “We’re leaving tomorrow at 6 am. And, we’re out hanging out with our friends.” I was like, “I’m down.” And she’s like, “Okay. You better be at my house at 6 am.” And I was like, “Okay.” And literally, since then, it progressed so much.

It used to be every single Sunday was a trip. We would go to Big Bear or Lake Arrowhead or Death Valley or not Death Valley; we really wouldn’t go too far. It’d be three or four hours away, and we would do that for a day trip on our Sundays. And then, eventually, it just started progressing to being like, “Okay, no, we’re going to, like, a whole other state.” Eventually, we had adventured all through So-Cal. We were like, “Okay, we need to go further, we need to go further, we need to go do more.” Now, it’s like, “Okay, I have to get on a flight.” Now, I’m driving 10 hours or eight hours.

Is that what became Excursion Always?

Excursion Always is a group that originated in northern California. I originally came from a group called LA Swim. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen, but they’re very similar. They do cliff jumping and hot springs and everything. I met Jeff through Los Angeles Swimming. I was hiking, and I saw these people jumping off cliffs. He was like, “Hey, go jump off this. Go jump off this log, and go slide down this waterfall.” And I was like, “What? Okay.” And he’s like, “I’m going to film you guys.” And that was before I was ever into filming or photography, or anything.

Jeff and Excursion Always came together, and as of more recently, I’ve joined with Excursion Always because I really want to be an athlete manager. I became really close with all the Nor-Cal people; we’re doing all these trips together. They’re like, “Hey, Hope, we know you’re creative, we know that you have a lot of connections, et cetera, and you’re really passionate about this.”

I’ve taken it and started the website up. I got our team together. I’ve started doing edits, I’ve started monetizing our videos. I just started running with it and running Instagram. All of a sudden, we were like, “No, we can make something of this.” Cliff jumping and hot springs and everything and the adventure that we do, we can actually really do something good with this and really make something of it. Because no one else is really into the cliff jumping scene, as of yet.

Yeah, you guys really seem to be at the forefront of cliff culture.

Yeah, definitely. That’s what we’re doing for fun. We didn’t really realize it before. But, we’re like the travel channel; we’ve filmed for the travel channel. And Volcom picked this up, to be like a photo shoot, and that’s when I started realizing this can go somewhere. This can be a real sport. I feel like we should definitely try to run with this because I’ve never believed in anything more. I don’t know, it’s crazy.

Is it all coming out of Cali? Is it a total West Coast thing?

No. We have a huge group of friends, a huge group of cliff jumping friends, and they extend throughout the entire United States. Now, it’s starting to become international. We have some friends that are in Germany. We have names for every single section of the US. We have friends in probably, not every state yet, but a lot of the states. So, Cliff Life Media is East Coast, and Excursion Always is West Coast. We meet up with our east coast people every year or so. We have an annual reunion. It’s called East vs. West, and we’ll pick waterfalls and we’ll all try to conquer them together. It’d be something big that we’ve been fixated on. So, this past year we did Oregon.

So, all right, you were in dance, which is pretty chick heavy. But, I’ve seen the pictures and it looks like your predominately hanging out with men, am I just looking at the wrong pictures? Or is this a pretty male-dominated sport?

Yeah, it is a pretty male-dominated sport. I honestly don’t know why, because women can do it just as well. I feel like we have more girls coming into it as we start going. Right now, we probably have a handful of women that are really, really good at this. I’ve been meeting a lot more girls as they see this come in and we start training with them. It’s really exciting because a lot of the women are starting to get inspired by this, and they’re like, “I can do this too, just like any other sport.” It is predominately male driven right now, but we do have some girls that are pretty bad ass.

I was hoping.

Yeah. I know.

So, you have all this experience now, you’ve been all over the west coast, what do you recommend? What are some of your best fall experiences? Or where do you think people should go for sure?

Honestly, I can’t really give out a lot of our spots. That’s a big thing that we’re about. We don’t want to put it out there where you should exactly go. The reason it’s such an adventure is that we had to figure it out. We zoom in on maps; we try to find hidden holes. We do so much research behind the places that we find; that’s really a lot of the adventure. There are a lot of great spots in So-Cal we can’t release. I know.

Do you recommend people look for groups, or just start doing this kind of stuff with their friends on their own?

Honestly, how we make our friends is through Instagram, which sounds bad. If you’re on Instagram or in person. If you’re already at that spot and we know that you know what’s up we’re like, “Oh no, how did you know this spot? Oh, you’re a cliff jumper, too, okay.” But, yeah, how we find our friends a lot, is through Instagram, or through people. Someone will be like, “Hey, this is my friend, she cliff jumps with me.” But, otherwise, we don’t ever push someone beyond their limits or anything, and we actually go to free running gyms, that’s how we train.

There is training behind all of it. A lot of them aren’t previously trained. They’re not diving trained or free running trained; they started doing simple flips and taking them up smaller and smaller. But as they are progressing and getting better, they’re starting to go to free running gyms. They’re starting to get better trained because with the heights that we’re taking it, it’s important to make sure that your body is there, too.

Do you have a recent jump that was just amazing? Or all they all amazing?

They’re pretty much all amazing. I do have a favorite jump, though. I mean, okay, I have probably two. One was in Oregon and it was off Abiqua Falls. My friend Robert did this insane triple and it was a front to full to back if that makes any sense. Basically, he did a front flip, opened up his body, and then rotated backward, and did a backflip.

Oh my god.

Yeah. And he did that without ever doing it in his entire life. We were hanging out the night before and he was like, “I want to do a front full back.” And I was like, “Are you … okay?” That’s insane. He was like, “I’ve never done it, but I want to do it off of this.” Because Abiqua was the falls that we were trying to conquer. No one’s ever really jumped that spot, and that was the first thing he threw. And he stomped it; he completely nailed it. It was just the coolest fucking thing ever. I don’t know, I was so excited.

That’s rad.

Yeah. And then, my second favorite one was, Havasupai Falls. I don’t know if you’ve seen pictures of that. It’s that waterfall that has blue water. It’s in Arizona, and it’s very, very beautiful. It looks like everything’s canyon red and then blue water. They have a waterfall there that’s like 130 feet. And that was probably the highest thing I’ve ever seen my friends jump from. And that was probably my scariest moment filming.

When I watched them, I was just like, “Holy shit.” This isn’t just fun and games anymore. This isn’t just us flipping off little rocks and stuff, this is serious. My heart’s pounding out of my chest. I can’t even hold this camera straight or keep this on this rock straight. But, that was my second favorite seeing them come out of that and just so successful.

That sounds amazing. I’m a little bit sad that none of them involved you.

Yeah. My best flip, I mean, I can do a front flip.

That’s still cool.

Yeah. So, that’s my thing. I do little cheer moves. I’ll do a toe touch or I’ll do a front flip. So, those are my fun jumps.

What kind of stuff do you guys have planned coming up?

We’re going to Washington in a couple weeks, and then we’re going to Costa Rica to do waterfall tours in January for three weeks. We got this opportunity to lead waterfall tours and do a show at the end. So, we’re also going to be cliff jumping while we take people through these places.

Sure, why not?

Yeah, why not? After that, we’re trying to do Europe. We just did Greece, so now we need to do other parts of Europe, but that one’s still in the works. Another East versus West tour. Nevada. Nevada’s this weekend. I think, as of right now, that’s it, but everything lines up really fast.