Active + Adventure

Extreme Sports for Spectators

by Dave Flanagan

Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series final, Yalta, Ukraine

Why watch: Guys in tight trunks take the plunge

As gutsy as it is, cliff diving isn't your typical adrenaline sport, but the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series removes any doubt as to its extreme credentials. Competitors take flight from a platform more than 80 feet high and hit the water with a force nine times harder than Olympic divers (who exit off a board a mere 30 feet above the pool). Mistakes can be eye-wateringly painful and potentially fatal. Those taking the plunge are scored on the style and difficulty of their dives. The hardest dive in the sport's history—a Triple Quad twisting somersault—was performed during the 2009 series by current champion Gary Hunt of England. This year's global tour-in-trunks got underway on the Chilean Pacific island of Rapa Nui in March, with further stops in Mexico, Greece, France, and Italy. The penultimate competition takes place in Boston Harbor on August 20, with the series final being staged in the Ukrainian city of Yalta, at the ornate Swallow's Nest castle above the Black Sea. U.S. Olympic diving legend Greg Louganis must be pretty impressed with it all, as he's joined the judging panel. It's not yet known if he's packed his Speedos.

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