FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - The thought of the U.S. government edging toward the fiscal cliff may scare some people, but one South Florida school teacher and dive coach is used to being out on the ledge and jumping off it.
Steven LoBue spends most afternoons at Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale, where he teaches diving to middle and high school students.
When he's not teaching, LoBue, 27, is jetting to exotic locations for the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. He is the top U.S. cliff diver.
"I think when we hit the water we're hitting around 50 miles an hour, so there is a lot of potential for injury there. But that's not something we focus on," said LoBue.
Cliff divers balance on a platform 90 feet up before jumping into the ocean. When the tour stopped in Norway, the winds were blowing more than 30 miles an hour.
"You'll find at every location has its challenges and that's one of the things the we sort of relish, something that we love but you still have to adapt and become a master of the situation," said LoBue.
LoBue started diving when he was in elementary school. He earned a college scholarship and then tried out for the U.S. Olympic team before he discovered cliff diving.
LoBue said standing on the platform, looking out and then down helps him keep a healthy level of fear.
"If it is too high, you're not focused on what you need to be doing -- you could mess up," said LoBue. "And, if it is too low, you might do something stupid and hurt yourself pretty badly. So, you have to keep the fear in check."
In September, LoBue nailed a near perfect dive, becoming the first American to win a tour event.
"The sport itself has taken me places that I would never go really never dreamed of going. I'm just very fortunate to be healthy enough to able to do what I love," said LoBue.
Those exploits are inspiring LoBue's students.
"To always go for it and to never let my fears hold me back," said Shaynah Boulay.
"I think it is really cool to watch him do it because he's my coach," added Hannah Maister.
While LoBue said cliff diving is exciting, there's not much money in it. He received $6,000 for his first place finish.
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