The Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series is Back!

The spine-tingling Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series is back for 2017 and this past weekend saw the first event take place in the wilds of the west of Ireland. Serpent’s Lair, on the island of Inis Mór, has to be the most daunting location in the this year’s calendar and it did not disappoint. The Serpent’s Lair is the World Series at its wildest: a natural sea-pool formed by thousands of years of the push and pull of the sea, where the water rises and falls with every crashing wave. Couple that with the fact that this is the very edge of Europe, a place that feels the full force of what the Atlantic has to offer, and it’s not hard to see why the fear factor raises up a few notches in this spot! The challenge remains unchanged; stand on the edge of a platform up to 27m high and throw yourself from it into 3-seconds of acrobatic freefall to the waiting waters below. A challenge that we’re looking forward to seeing the world’s bravest and most accomplished divers, including LifeProof athlete Jonathan Paredes, rise up to as we move through the 2017 Series.

In one of the closest competitions, the 60th World Series stop was claimed by the 6-time champion Gary Hunt, who celebrated his 29th victory after a rocky start and an eighth place after two rounds. The 33-year-old had the difficulty on his side and played the experience card in a competition where the wind whirled and temperatures struggled to reach 13C. When you’re up there in these conditions your training kind of goes out of the window, but with years and years of experience you remember to block things out and you just think about the actions you have to go through to perform your dives and not be distracted,” explains the ‘brilliant Brit’.

LifeProof’s Jonathan Paredes, who displayed his trademark water-ripping talent to lead until the final dive of the day, unfortunately missed his new dive – a forward 4 somersaults 1 ½ twists pike – to finish 6th in probably the most challenging of the six stops in 2017.

In the women’s competition, the first ever rookie champion Rhiannan Iffland from Australia showed no nerves to finish 50 points ahead of a joint second place for Belarusian wildcard Yaba Nestsiarava and Florida-based Ginger Huber from the 21m platform. Three of the women were unable to finish the competition, with the new format of four instead of three dives per competition adding to the rough and exposed setting diving into the natural sea-pool, where the crashing ocean waves caused their target to sink and swell wildly.

So, from the raw Atlantic coast of Ireland, the World Series travels on to the pure cliffs of the Portuguese Azores in two weeks’ time. Stay tuned for all the action!

Dara O'Donavan

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