We asked Gary Hunt, runner-up of the 2009 World Series, a few questions about the new high diving season and got some interesting answers back.
The Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series 2010 is about to start. How have you prepared?
This year I’ve focused on various parts of training. I’ve been doing special trapeze training. Mainly it’s just a fixed trapeze where I can train somersaults and stuff. I am continuing and improving juggling. I was on and off with diving training. I spent some time in Paris where I started with the trapeze training. I’ve been to Abu Dhabi doing a high diving show. It was on short notice, but the diving company I’m working for in Metz called and they said, are you free in about four or five days for a two-week show in Abu Dhabi, I was and so I went.
Are you working on new dives or will you stick to your final selection from 2009?
I’m still a bit unsure about my first dive. In the first competition I’ll probably use the triple half, the one I used in the finals and see how it goes. For La Rochelle I will go back to my two harder dives, I’m happy with them.
Does the new competition format (only the top six qualify for the final round) mean that you will do your hardest dive early, in the second round?
That’s scary! When you make a mistake in your second dive you might not get a chance for a third round.
Do you think that’s going to add a new dimension?
Yeah, definitely! I’m not sure if I like it or not. But it will for sure make us think about other things as well and it will spice up the competition.
Last year you said that it takes three or four competitions to really feel comfortable with the height; this year the series consists of six stops – will that change anything for you?
I personally prefer to have more stops. I’m happier this year because I have the dives that I want to use; but in the first and the second competition I probably won’t be diving as I was at the end of last season.
La Rochelle will again be the highest location, what does that mean so early in the season?
It’s not perfect, it’s a little bit cold and it’s the highest. Last year I was a bit worried about the height and would’ve preferred to do a 24-25m competition, but now I am using harder dives and I need the little bit more of height. However, I am sure that the first high dive in La Rochelle will be very scary but I am happy with the height now. If it’s less that 26m I’ll have to change my dives and I prefer to stick with the dives I’m doing right now.
How do you like this year’s locations?
Again, the cold ones are a bit of an issue for me. I always have a bit of a problem with stopping myself shaking. If you’re shaking your concentration suffers. I definitely prefer warm temperatures outside and in the water.
Do you want to know if other divers are working on new dives?
Yeah, I’m interested; but I’ll not change my plans only because I hear that somebody else is doing something new. I have one dive in my mind and that’s the run-up. I’m always interested in what other divers are working on and what kind of training they are doing.
Who do you think is this year’s favourite?
I think it’s going to be between me, Orlando and Artem. Kent improved a lot in the last couple of competitions. If he continues with this performance he might be there as well.
Did you expect such a tight fight between you and Orlando Duque before last season?
I’ve done a few high diving competitions in the years before and always been around fourth place and I was never really happy with my performances until that stage. I didn’t really think that last year I’d challenge for the number one position. But I think in my head I knew it was possible if I got all my dives together and start to learn a few new dives.
This year is different, isn’t it?
Yes, I definitely have the championship in mind. Being so close to it last year and winning the final I am keeping my fingers crossed that I can start off with that good form this year. You can’t tell how you do until you’re actually doing them. It’s so different from thinking about diving and actually doing it.