In a land famous for its Vikings, this 'pearl of coastal towns' welcomes another set of adventurers ready to take to the sea in an attempt to conquer. 14 men and eight women will dive from up to 27 metres into a floating arena of boats and ships. Can Gary Hunt, the winner of the two previous stops in the USA and Ireland, repeat his victory of four years ago? And who will be the first female athlete to win a Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series competition in Europe?
The northernmost stop on the 2014 calendar – one of Scandinavia's most popular summer destinations – represents the halfway point of a seven-stop season that has once again exceeded all expectations. With new personal best scores and the introduction of a whole new competition – the first-ever women's World Series – the sport of cliff diving has reached the next level, and, after the kick-off competition in Texas last month, the female athletes have another chance to show pure diving grace from twice the Olympic height in the Kragerø archipelago.
For the latest standings, visit redbullcliffdiving.com's results page.
When a country has 25,148 kilometres of coastline, one might think that there will be a few places suited to cliff diving. In the southernmost municipality of the county of Telemark, amidst almost 500 islands, islets and skerries, a 27m tall rock will be the focal point for cliff diving this weekend. The athletes' breathtaking aerial manoeuvres will only be stopped by entry into the Skagerrak strait at almost 90kph.
Besides the permanent divers, four male wildcards have been invited to prove their talent in acrobatic three-second flights: Anatoliy Shabotenko, of Ukraine, American Kent De Mond and Colombia's Miguel Celis, as well as World Series debutant Kai Kirbs, of Germany. The five women in the World Series will be pushed by wildcards Adriana Jimenez, of Mexico, Tara Hyer-Tira, of the United States, and Yana Nestsiarava, from Belarus. All 22 divers' performances will be assessed by five international judges, among them for the first time this year former World Series competition winner Andrey Ignatenko, of Ukraine.
It was in the beginning of the 20th century that expressionist painter Edvard Munch arrived in Kragerø to find relaxation from daily life. His "pearl of coastal towns" has been a summer hot spot ever since. Tripling in size in July, more than 4,000 holiday homes house a population of over 30,000. For the weekend of July 12, a special group of people are coming to town in order to find their very own pearl. The competition to determine the leader of the 2014 World Series at the halfway stage starts on Saturday, July 12, at 1.00pm local time.
For more information about the event go to redbullcliffdiving.com/kragero and to get a taster of cliff diving in Norway see World Series divers David Colturi and Jacqueline Valente travel to the Geiranger Fjord to cliff dive the 'Bridal Veil'.