Steadily pushing the limits of what is physically possible, a lengthening list of winners in the men's and women's and an increasing competition at the top – expect twists and surprises in the challenge to outperform the finest cliff divers during the World Series' anniversary season. The sport that combines acrobatic free falls from up to 27m and speeds in excess of 85km/h returns to its most classic locations to commemorate this special year and produce the jubilee champions during 7 stops for the men and 5 for the women.
From pure to traditionally rich to visually extraordinary and historic, the ever-evolving sport will hit rivers, lakes and oceans across Europe and North America before celebrating a 'grande finale' in the very south of Italy in September.
It's going to be the emotional highlight when the cliff diving elite returns to Polignano a Mare, Italy, to crown its champions in a place where cliffs are the foundation of everyday life and an Italian athlete debuts in the line-up for the whole year. But before the divers get to experience this special atmosphere, the world-class athletes of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series launch themselves from heights of 27m (men) and 21m (women), hitting the water less than three seconds later in the USA, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Denmark as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The season's first dives from nearly three times the height of the Olympic platform take place at the Possum Kingdom Lake in Texas, where two towering cliffs form the infamous Hell's Gate. From the incredibly deep waters surrounding this visual feast in the US, the Basque city of Bilbao hosts the first of six European stops as well as the first of two stops solely reserved for the men. The La Salve Bridge will be the take-off strip for aesthetic leaps into the Nervión river.
Stop number 3 is a real World Series classic – the phenomenal rocks of Portugal's Azores island of São Miguel, where the athletes dive straight from the volcanic cliffs, play host for a record 7th time. The first weekend in August takes the athletes back to Sisikon, Switzerland; a new location for the women.
The 70th competition of the World Series is hosted in the heart of the Danish capital Copenhagen, in front of a royal background, when the men's 27m platform is mounted on the cantilever roof of the Opera House on the opposite side in August.
The penultimate stop awaits the athletes with the chilly waters below Stari Most, the old bridge of Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where diving from great heights has been a tradition for centuries. For the final dives of the anniversary season, the athletes have to walk through a private living room to reach the platforms atop the Adriatic Seas in Polignano a Mare in the very south of Italy, where the King Kahekili Trophy will be awarded to the 2018 champions.
2018 marks a special year in the history of the sport as it's not only the 10th season of the Series, but also the 5th year for the women. With two new permanent divers in the women's division – Germany's Anna Bader and Yana Nestsiarava from Belarus – as well as Alessandro De Rose as the first Italian in the line-up of the men's, the battle for glory in the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series will once again be a challenge only for the best.
After last year raised the bar with multiple new faces on top of the podium, a new champion in the men's, an increased standard in the women's, the athletes from 12 nationalities will push the boundaries of diving from great heights again in 2018.
2018 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series Calendar
June 2 – Texas, USA
June 30 – Bilbao, Spain
July 14 – São Miguel, Azores, Portugal
August 5 – Sisikon, Switzerland
August 25 – Copenhagen, Denmark
September 8 – Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
September 23 – Polignano a Mare, Italy