DALLAS, TX--(Marketwired - Mar 27, 2014) - Cliff diving is the purest extreme sport on earth. Take a high cliff, deep water and courage. No additional machinery, no protection whatsoever, just absolute concentration and complete body control. Diving from heights of around 90ft, the equivalent of an eight-story building, has a long tradition but remained largely in the shadows until the start of a series of competitions in May 2009, featuring the world's best high divers. It is a series that has since pushed the limits of the sport and impressed more than 650,000 spectators on site worldwide. The 2014 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, the pinnacle of cliff diving competition in its sixth season, will hit new as well as proven ground in the Caribbean, the continents of North and South America, as well as Europe, to determine a new champion for both men and women.
The season kicks off with aesthetic leaps from the picturesque Morro Castle fortress at the entrance of Havana Bay, in the Caribbean island country of Cuba. From the environment where modernity and colonial constructions go hand-in-hand, this prestigious series of competitions comes next to the USA's Lone Star State. At the Possum Kingdom Lake in Texas, two towering cliffs at Hell's Gate mark the entrance to a small cove where the divers will fly. Amid the hills of one of the most pristine areas in the US, there PK Lake boasts 20,000 acres of the clearest, bluest water in the southwest, and the first non-urban cliff diving location in North America.
Back in Europe, the cliff diving elite return to Ireland's Aran Islands and the mysterious blowhole known as the Serpent's Lair. Mid-July, and the midway point of the 2014 World Series, takes the divers back to Norway's Kragerø, the site of 495 islands, and then head to Portugal after thrilling competitions on the Azores in previous seasons. After a short break, the country of the 2011 grand finale -- Ukraine -- hosts the sixth stop at the quaint Swallow's Nest castle at the end of August. The second-to-last stop is in Bilbao, Spain, for the business end of the World Series before the divers leap over the ocean to South America's biggest country, Brazil, where the coronation of the 2014 World Series champions will be held in Niterói at the end of October. While Christ the Redeemer watches from above, off a unique 27-metre platform structure, inspired by the architecture of Oscar Niemeyer, the male and female champion will dive to glory.
Cliff divers leap aesthetically from almost three times the Olympic height and hit the water, guided and guarded only by their concentration, skill and physical control. Since 2009, the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series has featured the biggest talents and the most promising newcomers. Following the huge success of a single competition in 2013, Red Bull Cliff Diving introduces a female World Series in the new season. Five permanent, and three wildcard divers, will fight for the overall victory during three competitions in the USA, Norway and Brazil, and, without a doubt, add even more grace to an already graceful discipline!
Four rounds per competition -- the seeding round determines the starting order for the following two head-to-head rounds with one final round for the top seven, plus one lucky loser -- will put the divers to the test. In a sport where three seconds can be an eternity and even the smallest mistake could cost you victory, physical power and mental strength are crucial. Five international judges award scores from 0 to 10 for each of the two required and two optional dives. Two diving icons, Greg Louganis (USA) and Dmitri Sautin (RUS), who have between them no fewer than six Olympic gold medals, will be part of the 15-person panel whose eagle eyes will judge take-off, position in the air and water entry.
PERMANENT MALE ATHLETES
Andy Jones | USA | Rookie 2014
Artem Silchenko | RUS | Winner 2013
Blake Aldridge | UK | 8th overall 2013
David Colturi | USA | 5th overall 2013
Gary Hunt | UK | 2nd overall 2013
Jonathan Paredes | MEX | 4th overall 2013
Kris Kolanus | POL | Rookie 2014
Michal Navratil | CZE | 6th overall 2013
Orlando Duque | COL | 3rd overall 2013
Steven LoBue | USA | 7th overall 2013
PERMANENT FEMALE ATHLETES
Anna Bader | GER | Winner Red Bull Cliff Diving Italy 2013
Cesilie Carlton | USA | FINA High Diving World Champion 2013
Ginger Leigh Huber | USA | 2nd Red Bull Cliff Diving Italy 2013
Jacqueline Valente | BRA
Rachelle Simpson | USA
Claudio de Miro (ITA), Head judge, former Italian diving team member
Greg Louganis (USA), Four-time Olympic Gold medalist, five-time World Champion, six-time Pan American Games winner, most famous diver of all time
Jeff Arbon (GBR), Participant Olympic Games Seoul 1988
Steve Foley (AUS), Three-time Olympian (1976, 1980, 1984)
Tonio Martinez (MEX), FINA judge, substitute head judge
CALENDAR & LOCATIONS
May 10 | Havana | CUBA
June 07 | Possum Kingdom Lake, Texas | USA
June 29 | Inis Mór | IRELAND
July 11 | Kragerø | NORWAY
July 26 | Azores, S. Miguel | PORTUGAL
August 30 | Yalta | UKRAINE
September 20| Bilbao | SPAIN
October 19 | Niterói, Rio de Janeiro | BRAZIL
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For more editorial footage (press release, photos, moving images) please go to the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series Newsroom: www.redbullcliffdivingnewsroom.com.
2014 Announcement Video: Click Here.
Celebrating the Last 5 years of Red Bull Cliff Diving: Click Here.
Join the conversation online: @RedBullDFW/ #CliffDiving
Red Bull Cliff Diving Facebook Page: http://win.gs/RBCDFWFB.