British record champion Gary Hunt opened this year's account with a victory and could make it a hat-trick of wins in the World Series' purest competition off volcanic rock on the Azores archipelago. His counterpart in the women's, Rhiannan Iffland from Australia, also took an early lead and comes to the mid-Atlantic islet as title-defender in this location. As the reigning champions have laid down a first marker in 2017's short and crisp season, the challengers need to prove their skills from up to 27m into the ocean waves.
With victories in 2015 and 2016, 'brilliant Brit' Hunt has proven his talent leaping directly from the raw cliff face. He will be the man to beat when the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series returns to the roots of pure cliff diving for the 6th consecutive time.
America's Andy Jones, who finished third and second in the previous seasons, might have a say in the Brit's race to a third win in a row. Also fellow Brit Blake Aldridge, who never made the podium in five appearances in this location, feels ready for his first win in Portugal after his 2nd place in the season opener.
The women, who follow the same calendar as the men in 2017, also return to the tiny and stunningly beautiful rock formation offshore from São Miguel. Reigning champion Iffland, the first rookie to have taken the title, started the new season where she had left off – with a victory. The 25-year-old Australian is eager to continue her winning streak and could make it four wins in a row across seasons.
In terms of challengers, the most experienced athlete in the women's field, Ginger Huber from the United States, looks most promising. The 42-year-old, who finished joint-second with wildcard Yana Nestsiarava from Belarus in stop 1 and has two Portuguese podiums to her name, was the first woman to receive a 10, the highest note, from the judges last year.
When feet spring directly from the raw cliffs the sport returns to its roots for the 2nd stop of the 2017 World Series. Volcanic stone in the shape of a 'snakehead' and the outside crater walls of the almost perfectly round islet are the ideal spots for the athletes to explore this pure discipline, spreading their wings diving straight from the cliffs like the pioneers did in Hawaii almost 250 years ago. The 22 athletes from 9 nationalities will use the platform construction placed 21m (women) and 27m (men) above the ocean only for the more difficult optional dives.
Watch it Live
This event will be LIVE on July 09 from 12.30 local time (12.30 GMT) on www.redbullcliffdiving.com, Red Bull TV and Facebook. 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.