England's Gary Hunt and American Steven LoBue fought out a thrilling duel on Copenhagen's Opera House rooftop, with the Brit eventually coming out on top at the season's fifth stop to make it a hat-trick of wins at this location. 45,000 fans packed into the harbour, both on land and water, and watched in amazement as the title rivals ripped up the record books in front of their eyes.
First LoBue, then Hunt, smashed the previous competition high-score with dive execution of the highest order; the American earning two 10s for his final dive to surpass the top score for a single dive. Mexico's Jonathan Paredes also produced his best points performance of the season from the 27m-platform to finish third and stay in contention to defend the King Kahekili trophy.
An immaculate first round dive from the brilliant Brit earned Hunt the hundredth 10 in World Series history. The 34-year-old ripped a perfect inward 3 somersaults 1/2 twist into the windy harbour, meaning that the landmark score was achieved fittingly during this 10th anniversary season of the sport. A stunning final dive on Saturday, under huge pressure, ensured that the record winner continued his impressive comeback in this most northerly location of the 2018 calendar.
"I didn't actually know how big the scores were in the last round," said Hunt. "I knew I just wanted to finish strong. In Switzerland I finished with a not very good dive, so I wanted to end the show with a bang and then I found out how good that last round was.
"It's great climbing out of the water here in Copenhagen and have a huge crowd in front of you applauding you. It just pumps up the morale and I want to come back.
"The goal to win the Series is still possible absolutely, anything can happen in this sport. I will do my part. I will pull out my best dives and see what happens."
This 70th stop of the World Series was one for the books for Florida-based LoBue, who performed his signature Quint Half for two 10s from the judges for the very first time since he introduced this feat in 2013. With his mind clearly set on the overall victory, the 33-year-old will have to keep finishing on that high level if he wants to hold back the charging Hunt.
"Given the circumstances, the cold weather, the ridiculously high scoring, I'm super happy," said LoBue. "I had a fantastic set of dives. I did one for 8s, that was my lowest score and to finish second is unbelievable.
"Super excited on that last dive, especially to score some tens. I've had a single ten a few times but they've been tossed out, to have one to keep is definitely something to remember, especially on such an amazing dive.
"The fight for the finish is heating up big time. We have two more competitions so I have to keep finishing on that high level if I want to stay there."
With no score lower than 8.5 in all four dives from the five international judges, titleholder Paredes had a strong showing in the Danish leg as well to make it a third podium finish in the year's 5th event. "The level of competition is growing really fast and everyone is very consistent, especially in the optional rounds with the hardest dives," stated the 29-year-old, "A third place for me tastes very good, to be honest."
Before the cliff diving elite returns to Bosnia and Herzegovina for the penultimate stop, the overall lead is unaltered, with spin master LoBue still on top ahead of today's winner Hunt, who pushed Paredes to third with his 32nd victory since 2009.
From the panoramic stage opposite Amalienborg Palace in the heart of the Danish capital, the men and women of the World Series will be hosted in Mostar, where a fanatical crowd will eagerly await their aesthetic feats from the world-famous humpback bridge in two weeks' time.
1- Gary Hunt GBR 453.70pts
2- Steven LoBue USA 431.80
3- Jonathan Paredes MEX 419.75
4- Alessandro De Rose ITA 403.85
5- Andy Jones USA 393.70
6- Sergio Guzman (W) MEX 380.05
7- Constantin Popovici (W) ROU 375.10
8- Kris Kolanus POL 357.60
9- Oleksiy Prygorov (W) UKR 340.70
10- Nikita Fedotov (W) RUS 338.70
11- Kyle Mitrione (W) USA 325.75
12- Alain Kohl (W) LUX 264.65
13- Orlando Duque COL 149.40
14- Blake Aldridge GBR 139.20
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