VIDEO: Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series returning to Ireland this June

Damian Moran

Reporter:

Damian Moran

Email:

damian@offalyexpress.ie

Ireland will host one of the six stops of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series 2017 at Poll Na Péist (Serpent’s Lair) on Inis Mór on June 24. 

The world’s elite male and female cliff divers will return for the third time to the rugged west coast of Ireland for a dramatic competition opener.

Standing 27m./ 90 ft. (men) and 21m. / 70 ft. (women) in height, divers will reach speeds more than 85km/h before meeting the wild Atlantic below.  Three seconds of acrobatic free fall at venues ranging from natural wonders and visual feasts to historic sites and unknown grounds will push the boundaries of this rapidly progressing sport again in 2017.

The season’s first dives from nearly three times the height of the Olympic platform take place surrounded by Irish wilderness at the breath-taking ‘Serpent’s Lair’ on the Aran Island’s Inis Mór. With tricks as aesthetic and difficult, the judges’ and spectators’ eyes will turn towards reigning champions Gary Hunt (UK) and Rhiannan Iffland (AUS) and the divers coveting the World Series title

Further details including tickets will be announced in the coming weeks on RedBullCliffDiving.com.

From the near-perfect rectangle on the edges of Europe, the World Series travels on to a real classic - the phenomenal rocks of Portugal’s Azores island of São Miguel, where the athletes dive straight from the volcanic cliffs. In mid-July, the athletes must walk through a private living room to reach the platforms atop the Adriatic Seas in Polignano a Mare in the very south of Italy.

After a summer break, the World Series returns to Texas and the visual feast of two towering cliffs called Hell’s Gate at Possum Kingdom Lake in September. From this massive water reservoir in the US, the penultimate stop awaits the athletes with the chilly waters below Stari Most, the old bridge of Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where diving from great heights has been a tradition for centuries. October takes the cliff diving elite to completely new grounds in southern Chile. During the first ever World Series competition at the Riñinahue waterfall, surrounded by snow-capped volcanoes, the King Kahekili Trophy will be awarded to the 2017 champions.

2017 might become the most competitive season in the history of Red Bull Cliff Diving, after last year raised the bar with multiple winners in the men’s division.

Although 6-time champion Gary Hunt from England is the one to catch, it’s all up for grabs this season. Competition is expected mainly from Mexico’s ‘ripping machine’ Jonathan Paredes, who used his fine diving technique to regularly rip his entries and finish runner-up in 2016, as well as Andy Jones, from the US, whose outstanding aerial awareness helped him win the Series’ first ever night event last October and complete the overall podium.

Meanwhile, former Russian World Series champion and 11-time event winner Artem Silchenko is forced into wildcard status after a roller-coaster 2016 season and will demonstrate his talent once more as an invitee. However, even a wildcard can take the crown, as proven by Australia’s Rhiannan Iffland, who ended her debut season with five successes in seven competitions, wrapping up the 2016 Red Bull Cliff Diving Women’s World Series title. With four dives per competition as compared to three up to now, the women’s division is expected to raise the standards in its 4th fully-fledged season and will see a comeback of Germany’s exceptional diver Anna Bader after her baby-break.

The World Series, with its ever-growing complexity, asked for a new degree of difficulty table as an adjustment to the sport’s recent evolutions and includes - amongst other changes implemented by the sports committee and aligned with FINA - new dives to rate all dives performed in competition according to their difficulty. The pushing of the limits of what is physically possible, as well as the lengthening list of winners and increasing competition at the top, will continue in 2017, when this most recognized series of competitions will once again stay true to its fundamentals.