Bare Feet will Rise from Rocks in Azores

Michal Navratil
Men's and women's title fights wide open as cliff diving leaps back to its roots

When bare feet rise from the rocks, the world's best cliff divers return to the sport's origins on a tiny volcanic island in the Portuguese Azores for a record 7th time. Following a men's thriller in Bilbao, which saw British 6-time champion Gary Hunt still struggling and reigning champion Jonathan Paredes from Mexico powering to his first 2018 podium finish, in the women's it is Adriana Jimenez who will be the centre of attention after opening her account with a victory in Texas.

Mexico's Jimenez comes to the picturesque volcanic islet as the title-defender in this majestic setting, where two of the four competition dives will be performed from the pure rocks. This is the only location on the 2018 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series calendar where the athletes will leap directly from the cliff face, just as the pioneers of this amazing sport did hundreds of years ago.

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Adriana Jimenez won her first-ever World Series event in the Azores last season. Photo: Romina Amato/Red Bull Content Pool.

The 33-year-old is one of three previous winners in the Portugal leg of the World Series and has proven her versatility when it comes to leaping from rocks as well as a platform 21m above the ocean waves. The women's two-time champion Rhiannan Iffland knows how to cope with these challenges as well having won in 2016, but the Australian comes from a disappointing season opener, missing the Texas podium by 0.2pts in what was the closest women's final ever.

While the 26-year-old starts a season without victory for the first time, wildcard diver Jessica Macaulay secured her first ever podium for a female British diver in only her second appearance. With the record for the highest scoring women's dive ever, the 25-year-old will compete on the Azores for the second time.

After two competitions in the men's, two different athletes accounted for a win and the six podium spots were claimed by six different athletes. A mentally blocked record winner Hunt, who currently only sits in 11th place overall, and the defending champion Paredes, who just found his form during the 2nd stop keep this anniversary season wide open and the championship is completely up in the air.

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Jonathan Paredes was back on the podium in Bilbao, along with winner and now overall men's leader Steven LoBue of the USA. Photo: Romina Amato/Red Bull Content Pool.

As the World Series comes back to the archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic, volcanic stone in the shape of a 'snakehead' and the outside crater walls of the almost perfectly round islet are the ideal spots for the athletes to explore this pure discipline, spreading their wings diving straight from the cliffs like the pioneers did in Hawaii almost 250 years ago. The 24 athletes from 14 nationalities will use the platform construction placed 21m (women) and 27m (men) above the ocean only for the more difficult optional dives.

Watch it Live

This event will be LIVE on July 14 at 12.30 PM GMT on www.redbullcliffdiving.com, Red Bull TV, Facebook, Youtube and Twitch. Red Bull TV is available on connected TVs, gaming consoles, mobile devices and more. Find out more at about.redbull.tv

If you miss the event or simply want to watch all the action again, the replay will be available on demand a few minutes after the event.