Red Bull Cliff Diving Celebrates Great American Solar Eclipse

It’s been over a year since Red Bull Cliff Diving’s last North American competition and nearly four decades since the last full solar eclipse was viewable in the United States. To mark both the return of Red Bull Cliff Diving to Hell’s Gate Cliffs at Possum Kingdom Lake, Texas on September 3, as well as this rare solar eclipse, photographer Dustin Snipes captured cliff divers Helena Merten (AUS), Orlando Duque (COL), David Colturi (USA), and Andy Jones (USA) as they leapt from a 20-meter platform in McMinnville, Oregon yesterday.

Armed with his camera, high-optical quality front-surface mirrors and four of the world’s best cliff divers, Dustin created a series of breathtaking photos that not only capture the skill and grace of the elite athletes, but also the time-stopping scene that the eclipse created in Oregon and across the country.

“I was so excited, I was literally shaking,” said photographer Dustin Snipes. “I knew we had such a small window to nail the shots but we did it. The experience was everything I could ask for.”

View the solar eclipse photo gallery:

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Vaulting into the sunless sky were just a handful of the world-class athletes who will be competing in Texas on Labor Day Weekend. Among the four divers fortunate enough to take part in the shoot was Colombian cliff diving legend Orlando Duque who is no stranger to making headlines with impressive dives around the world, including his iconic 2013 helicopter dive in front of the Statue of Liberty.

“It was one of the craziest I’ve done in my entire life,” said Red Bull Cliff Diving veteran Duque. “We knew it was going to be dark, but not that dark! Having one shot at this dive made it that much more exciting.”

Duque, who is currently enjoying a resurgent season which has him sitting atop the men’s division, looks ahead to Texas and future challenges from six-time champion Gary Hunt (GBR) as well as fellow eclipse diver and home-country favorite David Colturi (USA). On the women’s side, defending champion Rhiannan Iffland (AUS) has resumed her winning ways in 2017 and will look to return to the top of the podium in Texas, where she recorded her first Red Bull Cliff Diving victory a year ago in her debut appearance.

Moving into the second half of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, the world’s most elite divers are poised to take Texas by storm. Every dive matters and every point earned could make all the difference as they approach the final stops in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina (SEPT 16) and Lago Ranco, Chile (OCT 21).

Tens of thousands of floating spectators are planning on watching the competition from the lake during their holiday weekend and thousands more can stream the event live on September 3 beginning at 3:00 p.m. CST on www.redbullcliffdiving.com, Red Bull TV and on Red Bull Cliff Diving’s Facebook page.

Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series

Since 2009, the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series has provided a platform for exhilarating action and dives of ever-growing complexity. The series features elite athletes as well as young up-and-coming talent and a Women’s World Series was introduced in 2014. In 2017 the sport’s best athletes will once again leap, twist and somersault from breathtaking heights with no protection, except their concentration, skill and physical control during six competitions around the world.

Press release courtesy of Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series

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Author: Taylor Brien

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Taylor Brien is the Circulation and Operations Manager at Swimming World. A native of Bettendorf, IA and a 2015 graduate of Illinois College, she has covered a variety of events since joining the SW team in 2015, including the NCAA Championships, World Championships, Olympic Trials, and 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

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