Brit Gary Hunt sent out a message to his rivals on day one at the fourth stop of the 2018 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in Sisikon, Switzerland, firing off two brilliant spinning dives to take a lead in the men's competition after two rounds. Reigning champion Jonathan Paredes of Mexico sits in second place, while hat-trick chasing American Steven LoBue completes the top three as things stand. Two-time Australian champion Rhiannan Iffland, eyeing up a unique treble of her own as she chases a record third title in a row, unsurprisingly leads the women, with Canada's Lysanne Richard in second and the increasingly impressive British wildcard, Jessica Macaulay, in third.
On a scorching day at Lake Lucerne, 5,300 fans turned out to cheer on the world's best cliff divers on boats and inflatables, as well as on land, and they were treated to a resurgent performance from the six-time World Series champion Hunt. The 34-year-old plucked out a pair of excellent triple somersaults from the 27m platform - one forward, one inward - to edge ahead of Paredes, the man who snatched the title from him last season. With his twisting mental block seemingly conquered, Hunt will be hoping a couple of big twisters tomorrow will sweep him to his first victory in 11 months.
"I really like this place," said Hunt. "It's a great cliff, great crowd and we've got the weather on our side as well. I've had good results here and never missed the podium. My easy dives are becoming more stable now, and tomorrow you can expect the old Gary Hunt back. I'm going to be twisting to the fullest."
Only six points separate Hunt, Paredes and LoBue, and the stage looks set for a thrilling final two rounds on Sunday afternoon.
Iffland, who stormed back to winning ways at the last stop in Portugal, imposed herself in the women's with another dominant performance from 21m. A 13 point lead already after two dives means the Aussie's rivals will have their work cut out if they want to reel in the two-time champion in the final rounds.
"To be honest, yesterday was a little scary in training," said Iffland. "It's my first time here, but today I just tried to relax and rely on what I know. The crowd out there really helped and it's just beautiful here. I dived consistently today and tomorrow I've got higher DD (degree of difficulty), so it's time to get some rest and focus on that."
On Sunday afternoon the divers will return to the platforms perched high on the Uri Stone above the beautiful blue waters of Lake Lucerne, and thousands of fans will once again grab every vantage point on land and lake to enjoy the action.
Watch it Live
This event will be LIVE on August 5 at 3:30 PM CEST (1:30 PM GMT) on www.redbullcliffdiving.com, Red Bull TV, Facebook, Youtube & 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.