Competing professionally as a cliff diver sponsored by Red Bull since 2012, David Colturi has turned his passion into an extraordinary career. We caught up with David, a native Toledoan, who is training for the upcoming season, to get his thoughts and best memories of his hometown, and to find out some of the ups… and downs… of professional cliff diving.
Occupation: Professional Cliff Diver and Diving Consultant
My story, in one sentence: A lifelong commitment to diving has brought me the career of my dreams, traveling the world, competing and advocating for the sport
and the values that I love.
One song lyric to describe my ideal self: “Lean on me when you’re not strong, and I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on. For it won’t be long, till I’m gonna need, somebody to lean on.” -Bill Withers, Lean on Me
What I’m doing, and what I want to achieve: Entertaining and inspiring others through the world of cliff diving. I want to help people push past their limits, conquer fear and perform at a higher level to achieve their greatest potential.
How did you become interested in cliff diving? After collegiate diving, I took a job in a water stunt show at an amusement park, where I took my first high dives (65 ft) and learned about the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. Through the help and motivation of teammates Kyle Mitrione and Steven LoBue, we trained and tried out for the RBCDWS in 2012, and I’ve been competing as a permanent series diver ever since.
What dive location has been most meaningful for you? A small group of us went on a nine-day boat trip sailing around Indonesia in 2015, no competition, just pure exploration and adventure. There are a few dives from that trip that stand out in my mind and manifest exactly what cliff diving is and should be to me: freedom, joy, and appreciation for this beautiful world and the opportunities that can come with it.
Do you have any words of wisdom for young athletes trying to break into the professional realm? Keep it fun, stay passionate and remain dedicated. Success measured in results, trophies, or medals is usually fleeting and doesn’t count for much in the long run. Surround yourself with the right people who share your values and enjoy the journey. It’ll be over before you know it.
Most people know me for: Cliff diving, working out, and traveling.
I wish more people knew me for: Helping others and the incredible support I’ve had to get me to this point from family, friends, coaches, mentors and teachers. It takes a village.
The best thing I’ve ever eaten in Toledo was: I always love coming home to my mom’s cooking (best food in the world) and if we eat out, my favorite is The Beirut.
The best time I ever had in Toledo: Christmas day with family, always the best.
If I could change one thing about Toledo: Put it on the coast and add some mountains, but, more reasonably, a high diving facility would be nice.
The best view in Toledo: along the river in Aunt Lynn’s boat.
The Toledoan I most admire: “Papa” Joe Colturi.
If I could apologize to anyone: My parents, for me being such a handful growing up.
What my ideal day looks like, from morning to night: Sunrise on the mountain, ski or bike, lunch picnic, sunset surf, bbq and games with family and friends.
What makes me truly feel alive: Experiencing nature with family and friends.
The last time I had a serious-oh-my-god-my-stomach-hurts-now belly laugh was when: Just now talking with my brother on the phone, it happens often. This time was about his high school trip to Tijuana and his unfortunate GI troubles.
When I was in high school, I probably would have been described as: Full of energy and potential.
If I met the 16-year-old me, he would: Need, but not want, guidance.
If you could have a drink with any person or character— fictional, real, living or past— who would it be, what would you drink, and why? Sipping on tequila with Yoda.
I feel my best when wearing a swimsuit on the beach after a good day of cliff diving; there’s nothing else quite like it, bringing a sense of accomplishment and appreciation for this amazing world.
My family’s home is the place in Toledo I’m most proud of.