Rhiannan Iffland, Gary Hunt Collect 2019 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series Titles

Overall World Series winners 2019, Gary Hunt (L) of the UK and Rhiannan Iffland of Australia celebrate on the podium with the King Kahekili tropies during the final competition day of the seventh and final stop of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in Bilbao Spain on September 14, 2019. // Dean Treml/Red Bull Content Pool // AP-21JTEATTD2111 // Usage for editorial use only //
Photo Courtesy: Dean Treml/Red Bull Content Pool

Australia’s Rhiannan Iffland completed the perfect season in Bilbao, Spain, winning her seventh stop in a row to become the first Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series diver ever to go unbeaten all year. On the men’s platform, it was the familiar sight of England’s Gary Hunt celebrating in front of 27,000 fans who had gathered beside the Nervión river, following his fifth win of the season.

Iffland, who along with Hunt had secured the King Kahekili trophy with a stop to spare in Mostar three weeks ago, continued her record-breaking form to achieve a feat that no man or woman had managed before. The 28-year-old ‘dominator from down under’ has been untouchable from the 21m platform this year, and a fourth title in a row shows just how far ahead of her rivals she is right now.

Canada’s Lysanne Richard finished the day 27 points behind in second place, while Jessica Macaulay of England completed the podium. In the overall season positions it was the reverse as the Brit, in just her first season as a permanent diver, finished ahead of Richard, with the Canadian securing third place for the second season running.

Hunt had arrived in the Basque Country with a steely determination to reassert his dominance, following a humbling defeat to the sport’s new star, Constantin Popovici of Romania, at Stari Most. And the Brit’s smile was as wide as the Nervión as he emerged from the water to see he had edged ahead of Mexico’s Jonathan Paredes for the win. Fellow Brit, 17-year-old Aidan Heslop, defied his tender age to grab third and a place on the podium in just his second start as the youngest diver ever.

Dive through photos from stop #7:

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The position of runner-up in the overall standings went to Paredes, who secured this place for the second time after 2016 and made 2019 his 5th year in a row to finish in the overall top 3. Completing the overall podium was America’s Andy Jones, who repeated this PB from 2016.

As the sport’s legend, Orlando Duque from Colombia bowed out from an illustrious career with his final competition accompanied by the thunderous applause of thousands of fans, but he doesn’t leave the 27m stage without passing on his heritage. His mentee, 19-year-old Maria Paula Quintero will represent Colombia in 2020 after securing a spot in the permanent divers’ line-up.

Besides Quintero, two more wildcards made the cut for next season in the women’s, Brazil’s Jacqueline Valente and Iris Schmidbauer of Germany. Italy’s Alessandro De Rose also re-qualified for a full season after one year as an invitee in the men’s.

Through the world ranking, which considers the FINA World Cup and World Championships besides the World Series competitions, the top eight performers secured a permanent ticket from 21m and 27m.

After the huge success of the final showdown in 2015, Bilbao’s La Salve Bridge was once again a great host as the World Series reached an exciting climax.

Three brand new locations, a clean sweep in the women’s and two ‘perfect dives’ in the men’s as well as pure cliffs providing the launchpad at almost half the stops – the athletes’ quest for the glorious King Kahekili Trophy became a thriller during the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series’ 11th season.

Soaring from heights of up to 27m at speeds in excess of 85km/h, with no protection except their concentration, skill and physical control, has never been as unspoiled and perfect as in this past year.

Quotes from the winners

Rhiannan Iffland, AUS
I’m still pinching myself really. It was actually really tough coming to this event when you already sealed the title in Mostar. I had to really try to stay focused on this event. But this year was amazing for me and I just want to stay on this way of confidence. I want to continue enjoying the sport as much as I have this season. I knew I had to put in a good one. I really want to take the points and the clean sweep. I have my friends over here from the UK and my boyfriend as well. It was a really nice feeling and I love it when the crowd is passing such a good energy, it helps.

Gary Hunt, GBR
It means a lot. I won the series with a victory. I didn’t want to leave this season on a sour note. It feels great; really the best of the world was here, clearly the legend Orlando Duque. So I’m really chuffed.
I want to break barriers and take things that no one ever has done before. This event hasn’t been good to me. It’s nice to get that one in the bag.

Results – Stop #7, Bilbao, ESP

MEN
1- Gary Hunt GBR – 398.95pts.
2- Jonathan Paredes MEX – 390.95
3- Aidan Heslop (W) GBR – 384.60
4- Constantin Popovici ROU – 380.80
5- Andy Jones USA – 375.25
6- Alessandro De Rose (W) ITA – 372.80
7- Blake Aldridge GBR – 370.75
8- Michal Navratil CZE – 356.25
9- Miguel Garcia (W) COL – 354.00
10- Oleksiy Prygorov UKR – 346.65
11- David Colturi USA – 333.90
12- Slavik Kolesnikov (W) UKR – 296.50
13- Owen Weymouth (W) GBR – 290.20
14- Orlando Duque (W) COL – 153.60

WOMEN
1- Rhiannan Iffland AUS – 327.60pts.
2- Lysanne Richard CAN – 300.80
3- Jessica Macaulay GBR – 295.50
4- Maria Paula Quintero (W) COL – 287.95
5- Xantheia Pennisi (W) AUS – 278.90
6- Yana Nestsiarava BLR – 260.30
7- Iris Schmidbauer (W) GER – 259.00
8- Eleanor Townsend Smart USA – 255.55
9- Celia Fernandez (W) ESP – 247.70
10- Jaki Valente (W) BRA – 182.65

Final standings* (after 7 of 7 stops)
MEN
1- Gary Hunt GBR – 1160pts.
2- Jonathan Paredes MEX – 750
3- Andy Jones USA – 540
4- Constantin Popovici ROU – 470
5- Michal Navratil CZE – 460

WOMEN
1- Rhiannan Iffland AUS – 1200pts.
2- Jessica Macaulay GBR – 670
3- Lysanne Richard CAN – 660
4- Yana Nestsiarava BLR – 580
5- Eleanor Townsend Smart USA – 500

*With the revised format due to cold water, the Ireland results did not count towards the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series standings.

Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series divers 2020
MEN
Alessandro De Rose, ITA
Andy Jones, USA
Constantin Popovici, ROU
David Colturi, USA
Gary Hunt, GBR
Jonathan Paredes, MEX
Michal Navratil, CZE
Steven LoBue, USA

WOMEN
Eleanor Townsend Smart, USA
Iris Schmidbauer, GER
Jacqueline Valente, BRA
Jessica Macaulay, GBR
Lysanne Richard, CAN
Maria Paula Quintero, COL
Rhiannan Iffland, AUS

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. In its 11th season, 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 seven demanding competitions around the world. Between April and September, this pure extreme sport will hit waters in natural and urban environments as well as remote and iconic venues at oceans and rivers across Asia, Europe and the Middle East to crown two new champions.

Press release courtesy of Red Bull Cliff Diving. 

1 comment

  1. avatar
    Marlene Yanik

    I recently discovered cliff diving very late at night (after a baseba ll game) and have followed it ever since. I think it’s a terrific sport, and should be displayed more prominently in in prime time hours!