From natural wonders and visual feasts to historic sites and modern day metropolises – in its eighth season, the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series will bridge pure venues and urban surroundings as much as it will push boundaries. In 2016, this gravity-defying sport will hit new as well as proven ground in North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East to crown two new champions during nine tough and testing competitions, including seven stops for female athletes.
Japan and the UAE are new to the calendar of the 2016 World Series, in which the sport's top athletes launch from 27 metres, hitting the water at speeds of 85kph just three seconds later. Between June and October, the competition will be hosted in Texas, Denmark, Portugal, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Bosnia & Herzegovina before embracing the latest additions to the calendar in Asia. The champions for both men and women will be crowned during a premiere event in Dubai.
In June, the 2016 World Series season kicks off at Hell's Gate at Possum Kingdom Lake in the USA state where everything is bigger, Texas. Two towering cliffs, rising dramatically out of the region's first water supply reservoir, provide the platform for the season's premiere stop. The next competition takes the Series back to Europe and to its most northerly point, Copenhagen. The Danish capital city provides the athletes with a panoramic view of the royal palace, Amalienborg, and the adjacent domed Marble Church when mounting the 27-metre platform on the cantilever roof of the Opera House.
Going into July, a return to the World Series' classics is scheduled: cliff diving directly off the cliff face on the Portuguese Azores, where the unique volcanic archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean serves as the take-off point for awe-inducing dives for the fifth consecutive time, will again take place on Vila Franca do Campo islet offshore from São Miguel; followed by La Rochelle, France. The town with the apt name of 'little cliff' will be the lynchpin for the cliff diving elite for the sixth time in the eight years of the series. The daunting venue in the Bay of Biscay topped its own record of the biggest World Series crowd of 75,000 spectators along the quay walls in 2015. Also on the verge of becoming an all-time favourite, but certainly the home of European Cliff Diving : Polignano a Mare, where cliffs are the foundation of everyday life, marks the halftime stop of the 2016 season end of August.
After a three-year break, the World Series returns to the UK and to the picturesque location of the Blue Lagoon in Pembrokeshire, South West Wales. The circular-shaped former slate quarry, now a National Trust site, with its high cliffs provides a Colosseum-like setting in the middle of pastoral farmland. From the serenity of this usually quiet corner of the country, the divers travel south to a place where diving from great heights has been a tradition for centuries: the 'Stari Most', the old bridge of Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the country's most recognizable landmark.
October takes the cliff diving elite to new grounds in the south-east of Japan. Sandanbeki is a cliff towering along the coast of Shirahama Town, and will provide an all-natural setting for the penultimate stop of the 2016 season. The coronation of the champions will take place at the end of October during the first ever World Series competition in the UAE. Spotlighting the sport's cream of the crop, the Dubai Marina will provide the spectacular setting for the final showdown for the very first time.
Never before has the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series comprised more competitions than it does in its eighth year – nine stops, including seven competitions for the women and two brand new locations. Since 2009, it has provided a platform for gasp-inducing action and dives of ever-growing complexity, featuring the elite athletes as well as young talent and has introduced a Women's World Series in 2014. Cliff diving is gravity-defying freefall punctuated by awe-inducing tricks. The sport's best athletes leap aesthetically from almost three times the Olympic height with no protection, except their concentration, skill and physical control.
Britain's Gary Hunt laid down his legacy as a five-time champion in 2015, with a winning streak of five consecutive victories, securing 25 wins in 50 stops since 2009. America's Rachelle Simpson, who was the first woman to receive the overall winner's trophy for diving gracefully from 20m, defended her title to become 2015's Women's World Series champion. In 2016, this most recognized series of competitions will once again stay true to its fundamentals: it's pure; it's fast and it's jaw-dropping.
2016 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series Calendar
June 4 Texas, USA (women|men)
June 18 Copenhagen, DEN (men)
July 9 S. Miguel, Azores, POR (women|men)
July 23 La Rochelle, FRA (men)
August 28 Polignano a Mare, ITA (women|men)
September 11 Pembrokeshire, Wales, GBR (women|men)
September 24 Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina (women|men)
October 16 Shirahama, Japan (women|men)
October 28 Dubai, UAE (women|men)
For more information on each event click here