On the lead up to the upcoming Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series – Season 11 kick-off in El Nido, Palawan, World Series Champions Rhiannan Iffland (AUS) and Gary Hunt (GBR) have embarked on a cliff diving safari in South Africa.
The record-breaking duo, Iffland and Hunt, scouted a number of locations that included majestic cataract falls and what is regarded as the greenest canyon on Earth at the Drakensberg escarpment in eastern Mpumalanga, South Africa. Iffland and Hunt found themselves particularly taken by Bourke’s Luck Potholes as an untouched diving spot.
“It was just incredible,” says 3-time Women’s World Series Champion, Rhiannan Iffland. “To come here, to experience the culture, to go on a safari and to dive at this mind-blowing location, it’s something special and it’s really something that I’m going to remember.”
South Africa’s Mpumalanga province is decorated with numerous waterfalls that include the Lisbon and Berlin Falls. The glorious sight of the jade-coloured water basins and cylindrical rock sculptures in Bourke’s Luck Potholes inspired cliff diving’s most decorated athletes to execute free-falls of up to 27m at speeds in excess of 85km/h before the season opener in the Philippines.
“The first high dives of the year are always a little bit nerve-racking,” shares Gary Hunt. “I have enough experience now to not be in a situation where my legs are shaking so much. In previous years it’s been really tough, but I am much more confident in myself.”
Although 7-time champion Hunt is the one to catch, the ‘brilliant Brit’ knows it’s all up for grabs this season in the Men’s World Series. “My goal is to keep the title. It was a very close race last year and it was a shaky start so I would love to get off to a very strong start and stamp my foot down on this year’s title.”
For laid-back Rhiannan Iffland, the goal is to be more consistent and build bigger dives all through the season, while enjoying every adventure that comes along the way.
“Each new location is exciting, and it makes cliff diving feel brand new,” says Iffland. “That’s something I really love, to come out into exotic places like this and just explore and really challenge myself as a diver.”
The safari through South Africa was everything Rhiannan Iffland and Gary Hunt needed in order to recharge their senses for the World Series’ 11th season. From diving into the fresh, jade waters of Bourke’s Luck Potholes to tossing coins over their shoulders into the canyon to leave bad luck behind, the champions are more than ready to kick-off the 2019 World Series in El Nido, Palawan!
Where to Watch Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series
Catch the live broadcast from El Nido on Red Bull TV, Facebook and Youtube on April 13th, 2019. Viewers in the Philippines may also watch the full event, along with the remaining six stops of the 2019 World Series, on S+A and iWant Sports (iwant.ph), 5PLUS and 5plus.com.ph, FOX Sports, FOX Sports GO, FOX+ app, online at http://www.foxsports.ph and on iFlix VOD service.
Follow the World Series on Facebook (win.gs/cliffdivingelnido), Instagram (@redbullcliffdiving) and Twitter (@cliffdiving).
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