Sun Sets on Thrilling Season at Dubai Night Final

Helena Merten
Athletes will leap under the lights as 2016 World Series concludes in UAE

When a wildcard targets the title in her rookie season and the most experienced athlete is twice as old as the youngest, it's definitely time for a new chapter. The World Series' biggest season yet comes to an end with the first ever competition held at night. Within the illustrious setting of the Dubai Marina two champions will be crowned. The King Kahekili Trophy for the best female will certainly be awarded to a new champion as Australian Rhiannan Iffland holds all the cards to become the first rookie to bag the title. While it all comes down to the season's final dives in the women's, Gary Hunt from England sealed a record 6th title during the previous stop in Japan in a season that has seen five different competition winners, more than ever before.

Prior to the 59th stop, 2009 champion and most senior athlete, Orlando Duque from Colombia and the World Series' spring chicken, Australia's Helena Merten took the chance to explore the sights and senses of Dubai: A traditional dhow cruise in front of the Dubai Marina skyline with the Princess Tower, the world's tallest residential skyscraper, in the background, followed by a stroll through the Old Souk, where they bought local garments – a kandoorah and an abaya, to a ride in an 'abra', a traditional taxi boat, on the Dubai creek. Their journey ended at sunset with a dive from the platform on Pier 7, the venue for the grand season finale on October 28.


Helena Merten and Orlando Duque prepare for their sunset dive in Dubai Marina. Photo: Romina Amato/Red Bull Content Pool.

Although the 'brilliant Brit' Hunt wrapped up his second hat-trick of World Series overall wins after dominating 2010 to 2012 and 2014 to 2016, the years in which he dominated the sport down to his whim seem to be over, as the eighth year of the World Series has seen more competition winners than ever before - five winners in eight events, including two new faces on the top with veteran Michal Navratil (CZE) and World Series rookie Sergio Guzman. Can the Mexican make it back-to-back wins in Dubai or will the extraordinary challenges of a night event benefit a more experienced athlete?


The oldest and youngest athletes on the World Series had earlier taken in the impressive skyline during a boat trip. Photo: Balazs Gardi/Red Bull Content Pool.

Jonathan Paredes, the Mexican famous for immaculately displaying the easiest dives from almost three times the Olympic platform height, definitely wants to keep his runner-up position and better his top-three finish from 2015. Close on his heels is Czech diver Navratil, who aims at another 3rd placed finish after 2011. Only the top five of the 2016 World Series ranking automatically qualify for the next season. The remaining five permanent tickets for the 2017 season will be assigned according to the rankings after 11 events, including the FINA world cup and Marmeeting.


Duque in the dusk - The Colombian legend takes his first leap into the Dubai night sky. Photo: Balazs Gardi/Red Bull Content Pool.

In the Red Bull Cliff Diving Women's World Series we'll see a new champion – two-time champion Rachelle Simpson from the USA, who's currently on 7th overall and will have to fight for re-qualification for 2017, will have to hand over the title. The fierce fight for the championship continues between the surprise rookie from Australia, Rhiannan Iffland, who extended her lead in the women's with her latest win in Japan, and Canada's Lysanne Richard, for who 2016 has been the first full-fledged season as well. Three more dives from the 20m-platform and a new female champion will be crowned on October 28 at midnight local time.

 Watch it Live

This event will be LIVE on October 28 from 5.50 PM GMT on 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

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.

Note that the live webcast and 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.