Nine top cliff diving athletes launched simultaneously from a monolith of volcanic rock 22 metres above the Atlantic Ocean to celebrate the return to the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series’ most pure venue; São Miguel on the Portuguese Azores.
The crater walls of an almost perfectly round islet in the Azores archipelago some 1,400km west of the Portuguese mainland are the natural playground for the cliff diving elite during the season’s third stop.
From spots called ‘snakehead’ and ‘kitchen’ the brave athletes dive directly off the cliff to hit the water at speeds of more than 85km/h only three seconds later.
“It’s definitely one of the highlights of the year,” says Gary Hunt, five-time World Series champion, “it’s really bringing it back to the basics. You have to improvise; it’s really natural.”
After a historic victory for wildcard Rhiannan Iffland in her first ever World Series appearance in the opener in Texas, the 24-year-old Australian comes to Portugal at the top of the women’s leaderboard.
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