Orlando Duque, the highly decorated cliff diving legend, began his latest search for glory at the weekend as the 2017 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series got underway at Inis Mór, Ireland. Here he kicks off his season blog, with a new instalment coming after each of the six stops this year.
Part 1: Brutal Diving
It was tough out there. This is probably the worst conditions I've dived in my whole career - only one warm-up dive on Saturday and then the competition.
We hoped the conditions would improve, even though we knew going to Ireland that it could end up being like that. The previous two times were nice weather.
I would say more than half of the people diving in the men's event have been here before, so we knew what we were getting into, but for the women it was their first experience.
The women had a really hard time. Three of them decided to pull out before the end and didn't finish the competition.
Despite that, even with the brutal conditions most of us managed to pull something extra out and perform. Even myself, I did pretty good!
I am really happy with what I did, even though I just missed a podium. I focused, concentrated and tried to do the best I can.
I was struggling for half of last season. Last year I was hurting from every competition. I am happy my body responded at Inis Mór and I could do my dives, even with the limited practice.
Gary (Hunt) had a bit of a mess on one of the dives. I'm sure he was hurting, but he managed to recover at the end.
With the degree of difficulty he brings to his dives, Gary was amazing as usual and Blake (Aldridge) had a fantastic competition.
Jonathan (Paredes) has only done that dive at the end twice before and he can do better. Technically he was good heading into the final and he missed. It happens to all of us.
In a long season your mind will play tricks on you and you will miss dives every now and then. In those times, I have to be strong enough to take a big hit from the water.
Looking ahead to the rest of the season, Italy is a huge crowd and people know me there. I always want to put on a good show and give something back.
First, though, we head next to São Miguel in the Azores.
Speak again soon!
Watch the Inis Mór Replay