On an overcast day in Copenhagen it was Polish wildcard, Kris Kolanus, who shone with a stunning first dive which fired him to the top of the standings after round one. Britain's Gary Hunt and Czech Michal Navratil also put in excellent efforts, and are tied in joint second place ahead of tomorrow's final rounds.
Moving from the cliffs of Texas and the blistering heat which bathed them, much had been made beforehand about the cooler air temperature and shivery waters of the Danish capital, and whether the conditions would have any noticeable impact on the athletes. But the ten permanent men and four wildcard divers showed no signs of cold feet as they leapt into action from the 28m platform positioned above the famous Copenhagen Opera House, and it was Kolanus, following on from a 10th place finish in the season opener, who was hot off the platform as he nailed his technique and entry to pick up the highest score of the day, 126.50. The Pole however, who has only one podium finish to his name, was not getting carried away with the lofty position he holds above many of his more experienced rivals:
"It's nice to do a very good dive and to be in first place with the high score, but I'm going to try not to think too much about it because you can put pressure on yourself. Tomorrow it's important that I just try to relax and do my dives."
Hunt, who had been suffering with illness in the run-up to this event, and had only been given the green light by doctors to dive on Friday morning, defied the doubters with a delightful first dive and banished any worries he had previously had about his fitness this weekend. "It's amazing what you can do when you're distracted from all of the competition. Sometimes you can get lost in the pressure of wanting to perform well and I showed today that just getting there and doing your job can work out," said the 32-year-old. On Saturday he will go in search of the perfect dive that could secure him a first win since Polignano a Mare last September.
Accompanying Hunt in joint second-place is Czech Republic's Michal Navratil, who is chasing a first ever victory in his 50th competition. The spirited 'Supratil' had a flying start in Texas, landing on the podium in third-place, and he's confident of continuing that good form back on his home continent:
"I was a little distracted by the cold weather and also how close the platform support is to the landing point, but I'm happy that I managed to relax nicely in the competition and focus. I'll do some more training but I'm ready to hit my dives."
The weather forecast looks good and a huge crowd is expected to turn out on Saturday for what are sure to be some thrilling final rounds in this second stop of the 2016 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series.
First round results:
1. Kris Kolanus (POL) (W) - 126.50
2. Gary Hunt (GBR) - 119.60
3. Michal Navratil (CZE) – 119.60
4. Jonathan Paredes (MEX) - 116.10
5. Orlando Duque (COL) - 112.70
6. Steven LoBue (USA) - 110.40
7. David Colturi (USA) - 110.40
8. Alain Kohl (LUX) - 107.50
9. Andy Jones (USA) - 105.60
10. Blake Aldridge (GBR) - 103.50
11. Sergio Guzman (MEX) - 101.20
12. Artem Silchenko (RUS) - 101.20
13. Alessandro De Rose (W) (ITA) - 85.10
14. Kyle Mitrione (W) (USA) - 80.50
Watch it Live
This event will be LIVE on June 18 from 12.20 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 4pm (ET) on July 17.