Gary Hunt showed why he may be the man to beat in the 2010 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series after emerging victorious in the competition's first stop in front of 50,000 fans in La Rochelle, France.
Nine-times champion Orlando Duque may have a thing or two to say about that, but Englishman Hunt pulled off the dive with the highest degree of difficulty (6.3) in the second round of the competition and followed it up with a dive in the third round that had the judges scrambling for a 10!
Duque dived with his customary consistency but it was 2009 series runner-up Hunt who excelled, three 10s and two nines in the final round beating the Colombian into second and the rapidly improving American Kent De Mond into third.
The new competition format where only the top six divers qualify for the third and final round shook things up but for Hunt there was to be no let up as he began this series like he finished the last.
'It's great this year and I think after La Rochelle the competition can get even better' – Hunt
"I'm pleased that in the off season I haven't lost the momentum I built up at the end of the last series," said Hunt, who won the final stop in Athens, Greece, in 2009.
Amid the podium celebrations came a rendition of the British national anthem and Hunt admitted that it was a bit of a surprise to see his country's flag unfurled on French soil.
"It was strange hearing the British national anthem in France, I wasn't expecting that, but it was nice!" he added.
For every winner, there is also a loser. Last year's winner in La Rochelle, Andrey Ignatenko, was forced to retire after the first round of dives.
"I was feeling a lot of pain in my ankle and did not feel comfortable continuing. I will check with my doctors to see if I am ready for Mexico," he revealed.
The Ukrainian has less than three weeks to recover – the next destination is Yucatán, Mexico, on June 6.