Cliff Diver Jonathan Paredes Vaults from Historic Stari Most

Photo Courtesy: Dean Treml/Red Bull Content Pool

It was a summit of a sort when the World Series champion from Mexico, Jonathan Paredes, was joined by traditional Old Bridge diver Lorens Listo on the cliffs high above the Neretva River some 45 minutes outside the ancient town of Mostar. In their specific diving styles – head first and feet first – the athletes plunged into the emerald waters to kick start the business end of the 2018 season with only two stops left before the coronation of the champions later this month. At Stari Most, the old bridge in Mostar, Paredes needs another strong showing in the location of his first ever World Series win to stay in contention to defend the title.

Diving from the Old Bridge has been a rite of passage for generations of men in the area. When the 452nd annual diving competition took place at the end of July, Listo won for the 12th time and he did that with a ‘swallow dive’ typically performed by Mostar’s divers. Only one more victory, and he’ll tie the long-term record of Emir Balic, the local legend, who has 13 wins to his name.

“It means a lot to me to dive with one of the local heroes. They have this huge tradition of diving here in Mostar and it’s the first time for me to dive together, him going head first and me feet first,” said the Mexican style master after emerging from the chilly river, “It’s exciting to show Lorens a bit of my kind of diving before they allow us to dive from their bridge again.”

While tradition is highly preserved by the locals, for 29-year-old Paredes it’s all about the latest state of the art from 27m above the water. Complex dives and immaculate form are key in order to make a move for the overall standings as England’s record-winner Gary Hunt eyes a hat-trick of wins in this wide-open anniversary season.

So far in five competitions from Stari Most, three for the men and two for the women, no one has ever repeated a victory, and the 34-year-old Brit is committed to break the embargo and defend his 2017 success. While Paredes and Hunt have both taken the glory in Bosnia and Herzegovina, top title rival and current overall leader Steven LoBue from America has yet to earn this honour.

In the women’s, the battle for the King Kahekili trophy is even tighter. With Adriana Jimenez from Mexico, Australia’s two-time champion Rhiannan Iffland and Canadian comeback-winner Lysanne Richard, the Women’s World Series has seen three winners in as many competitions from the 21m platform. So far only surprise wildcard from Great Britain, Jessica Macaulay, stirred up the top rankings with two podiums.

Five new wildcard divers in the men’s and women’s competition will naturally add to the fanatical crowds’ excitement when 24 elite cliff divers dive for glory, points and eternity off the old bridge.

Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series

Since 2009, the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series has provided a platform for aesthetic free-falls and dives of ever growing complexity, spotlighting the sport’s finest athletes as well as the most promising talents and in 2014 it introduced a Women’s World Series. Celebrating its 10th season in 2018, this rapidly progressing sport will crown two new champions during seven demanding competitions for the men and five for the women. Between June and September, this pure extreme sport will hit waters in natural and urban environments as well as remote and iconic venues of World Series classics.

The above press release was posted by Swimming World in conjunction with Red Bull Cliff Diving. For press releases and advertising inquiries please contact Advertising@SwimmingWorld.com.

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Author: Taylor Brien

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Taylor Brien is the Assistant Operations Manager and a staff writer 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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