Red Bull 2014 Cliff Diving World Series Begins


The Red Bull 2014 Cliff Diving World Series commenced over the weekend in Cuban capital city of Havana, for the first time as opening round of competitions saw United Kingdom's Blake Aldridge top the table.

Fourteen competitors from eight countries are competing to become the world's best cliff diver, as divers jumped off platforms standing some 27 meters above the cliffs at the entrance to Havana Bay on Saturday.

The extreme sport event is a world tour, which will see latter rounds taking place across the globe, with competitors scheduled to gather in Brazil in October, after passing through six other venues in the United States, Ireland, Norway, Portugal and Spain.

The next stop on the tour is the United States, cliff diving at a lake region in Texas.

Opening rounds on Saturday, meanwhile, thrilled local spectators, who have never seen anything like the sort as divers hit the water at the speed of almost 100 kilometers an hour.

"It does look like we are 14 nutjobs jumping off this thing, going crazy for an adrenaline rush. But honestly, it's really just a love for the sport of diving. And a camaraderie amongst the competitors that brings us together for such an awesome event and a really, really cool sport," said David Colturi, a competitor.

The competitors arrived at the venue in a convoy of classic American cars before immediately getting down to business. According to organizers, the sport is similar to Olympic diving, competitors are marked for the degree of difficulty of their turns in the air and the smoothness of their entry into the water.

Like many other extreme sports, cliff diving has now been turned into a global competition with world rankings despite it being traditionally associated with the Mexican resort of Acapulco.

The Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series first began in 2009, and this year marks the first time Havana is included as one of the seven legs across the world.

"Well, it was not difficult, it was a little challenging, you know. But I think, we, at the end of the day, we made it happen and everybody is happy, you know, and I think this is a great place to be, to start the tour," said Jaime Dussan, an organizing committee member from Red Bull.

Havana's Morro Castle provided an iconic backdrop to competition proceedings. Blake Aldridge, a former Olympic diver, booked his place on the winner's podium despite having never tasted success on the tour after reigning world champion, Artem Silchenko finished in seventh place.

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