Kent De Mond’s flying front earned the American cliff diver a place in Saturday's final with a score of 95.40 points after the first round of competition dives on the islet of Vila Franca do Campo on Friday.
"I love diving straight out from the cliff, like in Acapulco – it feels really natural," said Kent, after the diver – known by some as 'De Mondster' – lived up to his nickname on the monolith!
De Mond was tied in score with Russian Artem Silchenko whose near-perfectly-executed reverse somersault also earned nines from the judges, but with the USA diver, who finished third at the last competition in Norway, having the better record overall this year he took first place after Round One.
As only 13 divers will compete at the third stop of the 2012 World Series in the Azores that also means a bye to Saturday’s final and De Mond, who also practiced a new dive – a two-and-a-half twisting triple – in training on Thursday, is in pole position to claim a second successive podium.
The divers adapted well to the challenging conditions and higher-than-usual 28-metre descent from the monolith, posting many impressive dives in a high-scoring first round of required dives with a fixed DD of 3.6, and throwing up a series of fascinating head-to-heads for the final day of competition on Saturday.
The two top qualifiers for 2012, David Colturi and Blake Aldridge, will square off, as will the top two divers in the overall ranking, Steven LoBue and Gary Hunt, with only one diver from each pairing winning through to the eight-man final.
Saturday's competition starts at 9.45am local time. Planning to attend? Visit redbullcliffdiving.com's event page for more information
Scores from Round One:
1 Kent De Mond (USA) | Flying front somersault with tuck | 95.40pts
2 Artem Silchenko (RUS) | Reverse somersault with tuck | 95.40pts
3 Michal Navratil (CZE) | Reverse somersault with three positions | 91.80pts
4 Orlando Duque (USA) | Front double half with pike | 88.20pts
5 Gary Hunt (UK) | Front triple half with pike | 86.40pts
6 Alain Kohl (LUX) | Reverse somersault with three positions | 84.60pts
7 Blake Aldridge (UK) | Front double half with pike | 77.40pts
8 David Colturi (USA) | Reverse somersault with three positions |75.60pts
9 Todor Spasov (BUL) | Reverse somersault with three positions | 72.00pts
10 Steven LoBue (USA) | Front double half with pike | 70.20pts
11 Anatoliy Shabotenko (UKR) | Reverse somersault with three positions | 66.60pts
12 Cyrille Oumedjkane (FRA) | Front double half with pike | 66.60pts
13 Jorge Ferzuli (MEX) | Flying front somersault with pike | No score (Failed Dive)
Artem Silchenko (2nd) v Jorge Ferzuli (13th)
Michal Navratil (3rd) v Cyrille Oumedjkane (12th)
Orlando Duque (4th) v Anatoliy Shabotenko (11th)
Gary Hunt (5th) v Steven LoBue (10th)
Alain Kohl (6th) v Todor Spasov (9th)
Blake Aldridge (7th) v David Colturi (8th)