THUNDER BAY – EXTREME SPORTS – Cartagena, the ‘undisputed queen of the Caribbean coast’, serves as the starting point for the cliff diving elite this April and salutes a season, which will be topped with the 50th Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series competition at the grand finale in the Basque city of Bilbao in late September.
In its seventh season, this gravity-defying sport will tackle colonial beauty, remote and iconic venues and natural as well as urban surroundings in order to determine a new champion during eight competitions, including three challenges for female athletes.
Colombia and Bosnia are new to the calendar of this awe-inducing series, in which once more 10 of the world’s best cliff divers and up to four wildcards per stop launch from 27 metres, reaching speeds in excess of 85kph in less than three seconds. Between April and September, the competition will also touch down in Texas, France, Portugal, Denmark and Italy before the final showdown in Spain.
It will be a very special moment for cliff diving legend Orlando Duque, when this year’s World Series kicks off in Colombia’s Cartagena in late April, and a huge crowd of Duque devotees is guaranteed. The location at the Convention Center with its splendid view over the bay of Las Ánimas is followed by the return to the World Series’ all-time favourite location – La Rochelle, France. The intimidating former defence tower of Saint Nicolas looms above the chilly waters of the Bay of Biscay and the divers’ last appearance in 2013 witnessed the biggest crowd ever for a World Series event – more than 70,000 spectators! For the third stop, we take a leap over the Atlantic and touch down in the USA’s Lone Star State and the visual feast of Hell’s Gate at Possum Kingdom Lake. The two towering cliffs, rising dramatically out of the water, also provide the first platform for the 2015 Women’s World Series.
Back in Europe and the familiar waters of Copenhagen return to the calendar in June. From the rooftop of one of the world’s best-equipped opera houses, it will be the best high divers from all over the globe attempting to impress an audience. The phenomenal monoliths of Portugal’s Azores islands – also featuring a female competition for the very first time on this unique volcanic archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean – will see the athletes propelling themselves into water from great heights in July. August takes the cliff diving elite to new grounds in Mostar, Bosnia, where an annual bridge diving competition has been a tradition for many years. The humpback bridge in today’s design was inaugurated with a diving exhibition in 2004 and will be the venue for a World Series competition for the first time this year. The second-to-last stop is held in the very south of Italy in Polignano a Mare, where cliffs are the foundation of everyday life, with the town itself perched on the precipice. Hosting the World Series for the third time after 2009 and 2010, the Italian fans will see the coronation of this year’s women’s champion in mid-September. From a private balcony in Polignano, the season finale will take place among last season’s most enthusiastic fans in the capital of the Basque Country. After the huge success of last year, Bilbao’s La Salve Bridge will not only be the take-off strip for the last aesthetic freefalls of the year and the place for the handing over of the 2015 champion’s trophy but it will also be the venue for the 50th competition in Red Bull Cliff Diving – the Guggenheim Museum the awesome backdrop for this huge milestone.
Since 2009, this prestigious series of competitions has provided a platform for breathtaking action and dives of incredible complexity, spotlighting the elite athletes as well as young talent and in 2014 it introduced a Women’s World Series. Cliff diving is gravity-defying freefall punctuated by awe-inducing tricks. The sport’s best athletes leap aesthetically from almost three times the Olympic height with no protection, except their concentration, skill and physical control.
After Colombian Orlando Duque’s victory in 2009, and Russian Artem Silchenko’s in 2013, the UK’s Gary Hunt saw off all comers to regain the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series crown for the fourth time last season, while American Rachelle Simpson became the winner of the first-ever Women’s World Series. In early February, the biggest cliff diving talents will fight for the five available spots in the sport’s most prestigious series of competitions in a qualification competition. Because only the sport’s top athletes get a ticket for the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series 2015!
CALENDAR & LOCATIONS
April 25 | Cartagena, COLOMBIA
May 17 | La Rochelle, FRANCE
May 30 | Possum Kingdom Lake, TX, USA
June 20 | Copenhagen, DENMARK
July 18 | S. Miguel, Azores, PORTUGAL
August 15 | Mostar, BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA
September 13 | Polignano a Mare, ITALY
September 26 | Bilbao, SPAIN