It may be a few months yet until Japan hosts its first ever Red Bull Cliff Diving competition, but the excitement is already beginning to bubble up down at Shirahama Beach. A crowd of 7000 gathered on the shore early this morning to watch cliff diving legend Orlando Duque officially open the beach for the summer season with an eye-catching heli-dive into the ocean.
At 10.40am the helicopter arrived carrying Duque and, although gusts of wind thwarted his plans to leap from a greater height, the Colombian immaculately dispatched himself into the gentle waves from 12m, courtesy of a reverse flying 1 somersault tuck. It was the first ever heli-dive in Japan, and it certainly mesmerised the thousands who were watching on the sand.
Following his morning dip the 2009 World Champion surprised the locals with an impromptu appearance down at the beach, where he met with Japanese fans and wore his trademark smile as he happily posed for photos and signed autographs.
It will now be a five month wait until the eyes of the cliff diving world turn to Shirahama for the penultimate World Series stop of 2016, but following this sneek peek the local fans can now enjoy their summer and dream of what is to come in October.
Japanese fans can find the full story and more info here.
Refreshed from the heli-dive, Orlando will stay in Japan to run in the 3rd Wings for Life World Run in Takashima on Sunday May 8 - In this global charity run to find a cure for spinal cord injury Orlando Duque will challenge Red Bull Cliff Diving World Champion Gary Hunt, who will start the World Run in Rouen France. And, could you outrun Orlando and Gary? Prove it: Sign up now: www.wingsforlifeworldrun.com