Before the title duels reignite in the Land of the Rising Sun at the season's penultimate stop this weekend, 13-time world champion Orlando Duque travelled to Kumomi at the base of the 3,776m high Mount Fuji, a UNESCO World Heritage site, to dive from Ushitsuki Iwa, the 'Bull's Rock'.
Legend has it that a bull arrived on these rocks after surviving a disastrous flood about 200 years ago, giving them – connected by the rope 'Shimenawa', which indicates holiness – their name. Today considered a holy place by the locals, the 42-year-old leaped into the championship weekend, when he will again fight for crucial points to qualify for the 2017 season on Sunday as the battles for the overall titles will resume in the natural setting of the Sandanbeki cliffs in Shirahama. Mexico's Jonathan Paredes will put the pressure on Gary Hunt as the Brit moves closer to his record-setting 6th title from 28m while Rhiannan Iffland, the surprise rookie from Australia and Canadian Lysanne Richard will resume their thrilling fight in the women's.
25-year-old Iffland holds a 3-2 lead in victories this season over her closest competitor Lysanne Richard. The Canadian has almost closed the gap to the leading lady from 21.5m with her latest win from the old bridge of Mostar, and Japan presents a chance for the 3-time mom to grab the most desired position before the final showdown in Dubai.
In the men's Michal Navratil, the current back-to-back winner from the Czech Republic is third in the overall standings and aims at a hat trick of wins in the all-natural setting along the Pacific Ocean. Only one athlete has yet achieved three consecutive wins in the 2016 season – Gary Hunt, the leader in the overall standings after seven of nine stops. His closest opponent, Jonathan Paredes from Mexico City, manages to stay on the 'brilliant Brits' heels with his constantly immaculate form in the air and rip entries which award him high scores. With a strong showing in the season's first stop and three more podium finishes, the Series' 'style master' sits in 2nd position with only two more competitions to come. A Paredes-typical display of dives from the Sandanbeki cliffs can keep the fight for the King Kahekili Trophy - the silk ribbon of cliff diving excellence awarded for the overall victory - open until the year's grand finale at the end of the month.
During the World Series' debut in Japan, the 22 male and female cliff divers will launch from up to 28m above the Pacific Ocean, where the cliff towering along the coast of Shirahama Town, Wakayama Prefecture, will provide an all-natural setting for the last-but-one stop of the 2016 season. Where one of nature's spectacular marvels can be watched – the ocean's 'black current' unleashing wave after wave and sending them crashing up against the cliff – male and female diving grace will add to the beauty of the setting.
Watch it Live
This event will be LIVE on October 16 from 4.50 AM 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 8am (ET) on November 20.