With two 10s from the judges and the highest-scoring 27m cliff dive of the whole competition, Englishman Gary Hunt made it three wins out of three with a new World Series record points total of 533.90 at Possum Kingdom Lake on Friday. Completing the podium were the only other winners of a World Series, Colombian legend Orlando Duque (478.70 points) and Russia's Artem Silchenko (466.90 points).
Texan Rachelle Simpson won the first of three stops in the Women's World Series, meanwhile, as 10 female athletes competed from a 20m platform during three rounds of cliff diving. Simpson finished ahead of impressive Canadian wildcard Lysanne Richard and fellow American Ginger Huber.
For the full list of scores and updated standings visit redbullcliffdiving.com/results
"The schedule wasn't certain, but I thrive on that!" said Hunt, 30, immediately after winning the event that had been brought forward due to the extreme weather forecast for the region. "One of the things I love about cliff diving is it's not so rigid. You have to be flexible and willing to dive when you're not 100 percent prepared. I'm really happy to have come through and put in a good performance here.
"Today the conditions were perfect and it sounds strange saying that because we've been talking so much about the weather. I like it here and I've got my highest scores in this event. I don't know why it is, but the temperature's right, the water's good and it seems to come at a good time when I'm firing on all cylinders. Three wins out of three is the start that I hoped for, I've had four wins in a row in my career before [in 2011] and I'm going to try and beat that again."
Second-placed Orlando Duque made sure of his third successive podium with another consistent display and the 40-year-old cliff diving legend, the winner of 13 world titles, was full of praise for four-time World Series champion Hunt, believing that his rival is in the best form of his career.
"Starting the season with three podiums is great, it puts me in second place overall, so I've got to try and keep it up for the rest of the season," said Duque. "Gary's on fire at the moment and diving the best that I've seen him - he's the best of the best right now. He's doing the most difficult dives possible and he's doing them for 10s and that's not easy to do! I'm happy that there is someone trying and able to push the sport to the next level."
David Colturi was the highest placed US athlete in fourth, just losing out in the battle for the final podium spot to Artem Silchenko. Silchenko, the 2013 World Series champion, earlier beat American Andy Jones in his head-to-head by another very narrow margin, and leapt up from seventh place going into the final round of dives to secure a top-three finish thanks to a brilliant execution of his back armstand dive with a blind entry.
The world's best cliff divers who execute their 27m dives in not much more than the blink of an eye before hitting the water at speeds of 85kph head next to Denmark's capital city, Copenhagen, for the fourth stop in the 2015 World Series on June 20 - with Hunt most definitely out in front...