On a barely believable day of drama at the 2017 World Series showdown in Lago Ranco, Chile, Mexico’s Jonathan Paredes produced the best day’s diving of his career to topple six-time champion Gary Hunt of England, who uncharacteristically failed his final dive beside the Riñinahue Waterfalls at the foot of the Andes mountains. Joining Paredes on the podium were Czech Republic’s Michal Navratil in second and Italian Alessandro De Rose in third.
In the women’s, Australia’s Rhiannan Iffland overcame injury to display the heart of a true champion and secure her second title in as many seasons, with Yana Nestsiarava of Belarus and fellow Australian Helena Merten finishing the sixth competition in second and third respectively.
In a location that is only just shaking off the last remnants of winter, 28-year-old Paredes finally lived up to his billing as the ‘style master’ and performed his new hardest dive for the highest competition score of the year to top the podium in Chile. It was another season best for Navratil, who secured his first 2017 podium on second, forcing De Rose, the wildcard winner in Italy, into third place.
Looking at the overall results from the 27m platform, the King Kahekili Trophy went to Mexico for the very first time in nine years of the World Series. “Become the champion”, was the new title holder’s personal goal before the 2017 season and it was in his sixth year on the World Series that the Mexican took the top spot following a third and a second placed overall finish in the previous two years. Today’s third-placed finisher Alessandro De Rose, Andy Jones and David Colturi (both USA) complete the top six of the 2017 World Series to prequalify for the 2018 season.
Hunt’s mid-air blackout in the final dive made this dream come true and put the six-time winner in the runner-up spot for the third time since 2009, only 10 points short of his seventh title. Fellow Brit Blake Aldridge claimed third place overall, his personal best World Series result to date.
Over in the women’s, 26-year-old Iffland returned from a knee injury sustained at the last stop in Mostar and opted not to train from the women’s 21m platform in order to minimize the stress on her body. After two solid dives in the first two rounds, the defending champion finished her second season on tour in style with her fourth out of six possible wins. Belarusia’s Nestsiarava finished where she had started the year – on second place, beating the youngest athlete in the line-up to third. It was Merten’s fourth podium finish in 2017.
In the overalls, Iffland and Merten made it an Australian double with Adriana Jimenez from Mexico completing the women’s top three. Despite Ginger Huber being forced to pull out due to injury, the American finished fourth overall and automatically qualified for the 2018 season as well.
In addition to the top six of the 2017 World Series ranking, the remaining four permanent tickets for the 2018 season were assigned according to the rankings after 9 events, including the FINA World Cup, the FINA World Championships and Marmeeting: Michal Navratil (CZE), Steven LoBue (USA), Orlando Duque (COL) and Kris Kolanus (POL).
In the female’s, Yana Nestsiarava (BLR) and Germany’s Anna Bader got awarded a permanent ticket for the fifth year of the women’s World Series. According to the injury policy of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, Lysanne Richardis automatically qualified as a permanent diver for 2018 although the Canadian could not compete this season.
Six tough and testing competitions to outperform the finest cliff divers – the fight for glory in the World Series’ ninth season was arguably the most unpredictable to date. Three seconds of acrobatic free fall at venues ranging from natural wonders and visual feasts to historic sites and unknown grounds pushed the boundaries of this rapidly progressing sport in 2017. This pure extreme sport hit new as well as proven waters across Europe and North America before crowning the new champions at an original location in South America.
The World Series, with its ever growing complexity of dives pushing the limits of what is physically possible, as well as the lengthening list of winners and increasing competition at the top, will celebrate its tenth season in 2018.
Dive into the final photo gallery of the 2017 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series:
Quotes from the winners:
Jonathan Paredes, MEX
It’s unreal for me, because coming here to Chile I wanted to win this competition and put some pressure on Gary, but I knew that the winner was Gary; so I was more like I want to keep the second overall place and I wanted to win here and finish the year on a good position after many ups and downs. Right now I feel over the moon. Normally I cry the whole time, but today I’m still in shock. I’m so happy, a little bit sad for Gary, but that’s the sport. I hope to keep this level for the years coming!
Rhiannan Iffland, AUS
I’m very very excited, especially coming here after Bosnia. Mentally it was tough; to block out these negative thoughts that something could go wrong again. Here I am and I finished the competition. I’m in complete disbelieve that I’m walking away in the top spot. I cannot believe it. So much energy is going through my body right now, everybody did so well this year; we saw so many strong dives from the women. It’s an incredible feeling standing up there next to all these brave divers!
Results – Stop #6, Lago Ranco | CHI
1- Jonathan Paredes (MEX) – 403.00pts.
2- Michal Navratil (CZE) – 373.15
3- Alessandro De Rose (W) (ITA) – 343.10
4- Sergio Guzman (MEX) – 337.50
5- Kris Kolanus (POL) – 330.90
6- Blake Aldridge (GBR) – 327.65
7- Andy Jones (USA) – 326.30
8- Gary Hunt (GBR) – 282.60
9- Nikita Fedotov (W) (RUS) – 228.40
10- Steven LoBue (USA) – 224.80
11- Orlando Duque (COL) – 221.70
12- Kyle Mitrione (W) (USA) – 189.30
13- Miguel Garcia (W) (COL) – 177.05
1- Rhiannan Iffland (AUS) – 279.60pts.
2- Yana Nestsiarava (W) (BLR) – 264.85
3- Helena Merten (AUS) – 248.10
4- Anna Bader (W) (GER) – 229.70
5- Jacqueline Valente (W) (BRA) – 197.50
6- Cesilie Carlton (USA) – 157.80
7- Adriana Jimenez (MEX) – 122.20
Final standings (after 6 of 6 stops)
1- Jonathan Paredes (MEX) – 720pts.
2- Gary Hunt (GBR) – 710
3- Blake Aldridge (GBR) – 580
4- Alessandro De Rose (W) (ITA) – 530
5- Andy Jones (USA) – 478
6- David Colturi (USA) – 430
1- Rhiannan Iffland (AUS) – 890pts.
2- Helena Merten (AUS) – 740
3- Adriana Jimenez (MEX) – 690
4- Ginger Huber (USA) – 520
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.