Gary Hunt, Rhiannan Iffland Top Ireland Stop of 2017 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series

Photo Courtesy: Dean Treml/Red Bull Content Pool

In one of the closest competitions, the 60th World Series stop was decided in favour of 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’.

Only 0.15 points behind him, former Olympian Blake Aldridge made it a successful start to the season in his 40th World Series appearance. Also the fight for the final spot on the podium was razor thin between Andy Jones and Orlando Duque, with the American coming out 0.7 points ahead of the legendary Colombian.

Mexico’s ‘style-master’ Jonathan Paredes, who displayed his trademark water-ripping talent to lead until the final dive of the day, 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 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 Yana 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.

From the raw Atlantic coast, the World Series travels on to the pure cliffs of the Portuguese Azores in two weeks’ time.

Quotes from the winners

Rhiannan Iffland, AUS
Definitely it was the most challenging competition yet. Yesterday I was having my doubts with the conditions and feeling how it actually was up there. I came here this morning with a different attitude, just to get the job done and do the dives fluid and I think it really helps to go out with that positive attitude. I’m stoked, no words.

Gary Hunt, GBR
Today it was consistency. I made some mistakes, I have the difficulty in my favour and my mistakes were not big enough to really cost me. Win the first competition was really a big deal for me. I wanted to start off strong and I kind of felt it was slipping away from me, I had started to get used to the fact that I had to fight back and come back stronger in the later rounds. Now to have a couple of weeks off and know that I’ve had a good start is an amazing feeling.

Results – Stop #1, Inis Mór | IRL

1 Gary Hunt, GBR – 384.40pts.
2 Blake Aldridge, GBR – 384.25
3 Andy Jones USA – 380.30
4 Orlando Duque COL – 379.60
5 David Colturi USA – 352.50
6 Jonathan Paredes MEX – 331.90
7 Kris Kolanus POL – 325.30
8 Alessandro De Rose (W) ITA – 293.45
9 Alain Kohl (W) LUX – 235.25
10 Steven LoBue USA – 228.70
11 Michal Navratil CZE – 198.75
12 Artem Silchenko (W) RUS – 172.20
13 Igor Semashko (W) RUS – 150.90
14 Sergio Guzman MEX – 145.60

1 Rhiannan Iffland, AUS – 316.60pts.
2 Yana Nestsiarava (W), BLR – 266.90
2 Ginger Huber, USA – 266.90
4 Tara Hyer-Tira (W), USA – 217.85
5 Eleanor Townsend Smart (W), USA -195.35
6 Helena Merten, AUS – 139.40
7 Cesilie Carlton, USA – 139.20
8 Adriana Jimenez, MEX – 102.70

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 up to 27m 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