With three brand new locations, the youngest ever permanent diver and the same standards for the men and women, the World Series progresses into a new decade. Featuring reigning champions Rhiannan Iffland (AUS) and Gary Hunt (GBR), the sport that combines acrobatic free falls from up to 27m and speeds in excess of 85km/h, returns reformed following a record-breaking season.
Pure concentration, perfect skill and physical control are the mandatory components in the athletes' quest for the glorious King Kahekili Trophy. At venues ranging from natural wonders and visual feasts to historic sites and untouched waters across four continents, this rapidly progressing sport will push the boundaries again in 2020 and produce two new champions during eight tough and testing competitions.
New to the tour this year is Bali, Indonesia, Norway's capital Oslo and Australia. It's going to be an emotional highlight when reigning and 4-time women's World Series champion Iffland returns home to round off the season for the first time ever in Sydney Harbour.
However, 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, also in crowd classics like France, USA, Italy, Portugal, as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The season's first dives from nearly three times the height of the Olympic platform take place in one of the world's most exotic settings in a brand-new location in beautiful Bali, where the men and women will get to showcase their skills in two paradisiacal spots – Aling Aling Canyon & Nusa Penida.
Following the lush greenery and pure white sands of Indonesia, a World Series favourite makes a welcome return to the calendar: La Rochelle, France. For the first-time ever the women will get to experience this daunting venue in the Bay of Biscay, where the former defence tower of Saint Nicolas already served as the inaugural launchpad at the very first stop in 2009.
The placid waters surrounding Possum Kingdom Lake's Hell's Gate will once again be beautifully disturbed end of June when thousands of fans on boats, kayaks and paddleboards meet for a sporting lake party.
Back in Europe, the athletes return to the venue where houses rise from the rocks and 70,000 passionate fans await in Polignano a Mare in the very south of Italy. From the private roof-top on the cliffs, the World Series travels to an iceberg-look alike roof top at the head of the Oslo fjord. When the platforms are mounted on the Oslo Opera House, the 24 athletes will compete in the Norwegian capital for the first time ever.
No location on the planet has welcomed the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series on more occasions than the phenomenal rocks of Portugal's Azores islands. For its 9th consecutive year as host, this typically mid-season stop could have some added spice due its rare scheduling in the business end of the season. A September date is the latest ever in the mid-Atlantic spot, and tiring limbs and minds will be tested to the limit by the natural and often unforgiving conditions, as the divers battle for crucial championship points.
The drama continues in Mostar, when the historic Stari Most plays host to the penultimate stop of the season, a crucial point at which pressure can make or break an athlete's season. Last year, Hunt and Iffland secured their titles here, while Constantin Popovici (ROU) scored five 10s for a perfect dive.
Following seven months of exciting action around the globe, the 2020 World Series concludes with a first-ever visit to Australia, where two champions will be crowned in front of thousands of enthusiastic fans at Sydney Harbour. All eyes will be on the sport's most decorated athlete, Rhiannan Iffland, who will be hoping for a majestic homecoming, while the men's title tussle will also be settled from the purpose-built 27 metre platform in the middle of the harbour.
As 2020 kicks off, the World Series enters a new era when the same number of male and female athletes have permanent status (8) and they follow the same competition format as well as a whole new generation of athletes pushes into the World Series.
Although 8-time champion Gary Hunt from England is the one to catch, sports director Greg Louganis believes that it's all up for grabs this season in the men's as established divers up their game steadily and newcomers jump on the podium on a regular basis. With two new permanent divers in the women's division – Colombia's Maria Paula Quintero, the first teenager to secure a permanent spot, and Iris Schmidbauer from Germany – competition will fierce up for undefeated champion Iffland as well.
The battle for glory in the 2020 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series will once again be a challenge only for the best.
2020 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series Calendar
May 16 – Bali, Indonesia - NEW
June 6 – La Rochelle, France
June 27 – Texas, USA
July 19 – Polignano a Mare, Italy
August 15 – Oslo, Norway - NEW
September 6 – São Miguel, Azores, Portugal
September 26 – Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
November 7 – Sydney, Australia - NEW