Wildcard Rhiannan Iffland provided the perfect ending to a dream debut season with her fifth success in seven competitions, wrapping up the Red Bull Cliff Diving Women's World Series title in style under the lights in Dubai Marina, while Andy Jones soared to his first ever victory in front of a 12,000 strong crowd at the sport's inaugural night event. Iffland was joined on the podium by fellow Australian Helena Merten, with Adriana Jimenez from Mexico rounding out the top three. Britain's Gary Hunt celebrated his recent title win with a second-place finish, and Mexico's Jonathan Paredes completed the men's podium on a memorable and dramatic final night in the UAE.
Coming to Dubai, 25-year-old Iffland from Down Under was one dive short of the overall victory but still had the ambition to make it count and finished the 2016 season in style. Five victories plus two podium finishes made her the undisputed dominator in the women's World Series. The Australians had a strong showing in the year's final event with Merten, the youngest permanent athlete in the field, finishing on a personal best second place. Jimenez on third also saved her best result of the year for the floodlit final in the illustrious Marina of Dubai.
"I feel over the moon right now," said iffland. "I think finding out about the title yesterday made it easier, and I had a little bit of less stress on my shoulders. All I wanted to do today was got out there and have a good time."
In Friday's floodlit 2016 showdown, California-based Jones utilised his Cirque du Soleil background in the World Series' first-ever night time event to show his best diving and topped his most successful season with a first place from the 27m-platform, forcing 6-time overall champion Hunt into 2nd place. Paredes, the season's kick-off winner, finished the year on a high note completing the podium.
"I think my background was definitely an advantage," said a delighted Andy Jones. "I did a whole bunch of high dives in the dark in my career before here. I think it definitely helped me out and I managed to win the first round and hold it the whole way. I have my best score ever and I got my first win."
World Series champions, Hunt and Iffland, celebrate on the podium in Dubai. Photo: Dean Treml/Red Bull Content Pool.
Looking at the overall results, 'brilliant Brit' Hunt wrapped up his second hat-trick of World Series wins after dominating 2010-2012 and 2014-2016. With the world's hardest dive on his list, three victories and four more podium finishes, the 32-year-old left once again his mark on this sport. Mexican rising star Paredes, who's famous for immaculately displaying the easiest dives from almost three times the Olympic platform height, bettered his top-three finish from 2015 by one position to become 2016's runner-up. Today's competition winner Jones claimed third place overall, beating Czech's Michal Navratil on fourth by a small margin. Fellow-American Steven LoBue completes the top four of the 2016 World Series.
Over in the women's, only Canada's Richard managed to stay on Iffland's heels in the overalls and with two season victories, she finished 2nd in what was her first fully-fledged season from 20m. Cesilie Carlton from the US and Australian Merten complete the top four, and automatically qualify for the 2017 season.
A winning smile from Andy Jones after grabbing the first victory of his career. Photo: Dean Treml/Red Bull Content Pool.
Nine tough and testing competitions, including seven for the women, between June and October made for the biggest-ever Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in 2016, in which this pure extreme sport touched waters in natural and urban surroundings as well as remote and iconic venues. In its eighth year this gravity-defying sports series hit new and proven ground in North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East to crown two new champions.
In 2016 the World Series has seen more competition winners than ever before - six winners in nine events, including two new faces on the top with veteran Michal Navratil (CZE) and World Series rookie Sergio Guzman, in the men's and a complete newcomer who's taken the female cliff diving elite by surprise to become the first-ever rookie to win the overall championship.
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 return stronger than ever in 2017.
1. Andy Jones, USA – 508.50pts
2. Gary Hunt, GBR – 477.20
3. Jonathan Paredes, MEX – 465.05
4. Steven LoBue, USA – 463.45
5. Sergio Guzman, MEX – 457.40
6. Michal Navratil, CZE – 452.00
7. Orlando Duque, COL – 412.30
8. Artem Silchenko, RUS – 397.00
9. Alessandro De Rose (W), ITA – 309.95
10. Kyle Mitrione (W), USA – 291.80
11. Andrei Mikau (W), BLR – 245.45
12. Owen Weymouth (W), GBR – 238.40
13. Alain Kohl (W), LUX – 202.00
1. Rhiannan Iffland (W), AUS – 245.90pts
2. Helena Merten, AUS – 226.95
3. Adriana Jimenez, MEX – 209.70
4. Cesilie Carlton, USA – 207.40
5. Lysanne Richard, CAN – 192.80
6. Jaki Valente (W), BRA – 191.15
7. Ginger Huber, USA - 185.40
8. Rachelle Simpson, USA – 175.00
Click here for the full season results.
Watch the Replay
The replay of this event is availble to watch on demand at www.redbullcliffdiving.com and Red Bull TV. Red Bull TV is available on connected TVs, gaming consoles, mobile devices and more. Find out more at about.redbull.tv
Note that the replay is geo-blocked in the US due to an exclusive broadcast deal with FOX Sports. The event will air on FS1 at 2pm (ET) on December 04.