Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series 2012 – Pembrokeshire Wales UK
Red Bull Cliff Diving makes its long-awaited UK debut in Wales at the penultimate stop of the 2012 World Series on September 7-8...
The competition took place at Blue Lagoon close to St David's in Pembrokeshire's Abereiddy. A spectacular maritime county, Pembrokeshire measures only 20 miles from north to south yet has 186 miles of coastline with a diverse landscape of unspoilt pocket beaches, lakes, woodland and villages, which have been the backdrop to films including Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The coastline also forms part of Britain's only Coastal National Park and is home to a population of Bottlenose Dolphins.
The Blue Lagoon in Pembrokeshire, South Wales, played host to the first round of the UK stop of Red Bull Cliff Diving. Where the world's best cliff divers were in top form as they stepped up to the 27m platform.
The competition got off to a flying start which saw highest scoring first round of the year so far, Orlando Duque (pictured, above, performing a reverse somersault with tuck) and UK diver Blake Aldridge (inward double half with pike) were tied in first place with 100.80pts after receiving 9.5s from the judges.
Fellow Brit Gary Hunt is in fifth place with 90.00pts after executing his inward double half with pike for 8s, with all of the first-round dives once more being assigned a fixed degree of difficulty of 3.6 and therefore worth a maximum of 108 points.
Steven LoBue bagged the first win of his cliff diving career as the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series made its UK debut in spectacular style in Pembrokeshire, South Wales, on Saturday.
American Lobue produced a near-perfect performance as he hit a quad half and back triple triple from 27m, securing a total of 481.90 points and edging out Colombian Orlando Duque (467.80 points), in second, and Englishman Gary Hunt (460.75 points), in third.
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LoBue, a 2011 rookie, had finished runner-up in two World Series competitions this year but his consistency throughout the season earned the reward of a first win at the penultimate stop in a sunny South Wales.
"It's something else," he said, afterwards. "Your goal when you enter every competition is to win but everybody else is thinking the same thing. To be doing as well as I was doing earlier this year and then to follow it up with this victory is incredible."
After the first round of the competition on Friday, Saturday's action featured three more rounds of cliff diving with the degree of difficulty escalating rapidly as the 14 athletes performed multiple flips and twists, bringing gasps from the crowd of spectators who had snapped up tickets in anticipation of the first event held in the UK.
The biggest cheers of the day were of course for the arrival on the platform of the UK trio of Gary Hunt, Blake Aldridge and wildcard Matt Cowen.
Hunt and Aldridge have the hardest programme of dives of any of the World Series athletes but 2011 champion Hunt had to make do with third place after he mistimed his triple quad in the third round, while Aldridge failed to hit his new back armstand dive with four twists as well as he had in training, resulting in a seventh-placed finish.