FORT WORTH, Texas, March 2, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- After a year of surprises that saw Australia's Rhiannan Iffland come out of nowhere to take the Red Bull Cliff Diving women's crown and Los Angeles-based Andy Jones place third overall, 2017's Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series competition is shaping up to be fiercer than ever. Now in its ninth season, the international series will hold six competitions leaving little room for error as the world's most daring and graceful divers duke it out for the 2017 title.
In a World Series that's known for its majestic and historic locales, the 2017 calendar does not disappoint. From the craggy cliffs of Inis Mór in Ireland, to ominous Hell's Gate Cliffs in Possum Kingdom Lake, Texas, to the world-famous Stari Most bridge in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the roster of divers will have a hard time outshining their surroundings. New to the tour this year is Chile's Lago Ranco, which will serve as the 2017 World Series Final on October 21.
2017 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series Calendar
June 24 - Inis Mór, Ireland
July 9 - São Miguel, Azores, Portugal
July 23 - Polignano a Mare, Italy
September 3 - Texas, USA
September 16 - Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
October 21 - Lago Ranco, Chile
Beautiful surroundings aside, the series' cliff divers are incredibly focused on the task at hand. Leaping from 90 feet (men) and 70 feet (women), while reaching speeds of up to 53mph before hitting the water with unforgiving force is among the hardest tasks in sports. U.S. men's diver David Colturi knows this as well as anyone. Colturi's 2016 was shortened by a shoulder injury, but is optimistic that he can bounce back this year and challenge six-time champion Gary Hunt (GBR).
"My shoulder injury, surgery, and rehabilitation has been one of the toughest sportive challenges I have ever overcome, and I can't wait to be 100% again to leap from the most stunning cliffs and platforms from around the world," said Colturi. "I have never been more excited for a cliff diving season than the upcoming 2017 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. Bring it on!"
While the men's side has seen Gary Hunt capture the past three World Series Championships, who will top the women's division this year is anyone's guess. Last year, Rhiannan Iffland started her season at Hell's Gate as a Wild Card entry but ended up topping the Texas podium and went onto win the 2016 World Series. The fight for glory in the women's division is arguably the most unpredictable to date with Iffland in top form but facing challenges from 2016 runner-up Lysanne Richard (CAN) and fellow Aussie Helena Marten who finished fourth in 2016.
In addition to the new South American stop, the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series has made other changes including a new degree of difficulty table to reflect the evolution the sport has undergone in recent years. The changes will reward divers pushing the limits of what's physically possible, and is designed to increase competition during the 2017 season.
In the midst of these changes one thing remains the same: Nowhere else will you see some of the world's best athletes leap aesthetically from breath-taking heights with no protection, except their concentration, skill and physical control. Nine years in, Red Bull Cliff Diving continues to spread across the globe and remains as pure, fast and jaw-dropping as it was when it started in 2009.
Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series
Since 2009, the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series has provided a platform for exhilarating action and dives of ever-growing complexity. The series features elite athletes as well as young up-and-coming talent and a Women's World Series was introduced in 2014. In 2017 the sport's best athletes will once again leap, twist and somersault from breathtaking heights with no protection, except their concentration, skill and physical control during six competitions around the world.
We invite you to follow the World Series on Facebook (facebook.com/redbullcliffdiving), Instagram (@redbullcliffdiving) and Twitter (@cliffdiving).
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SOURCE Red Bull Media House