Artem Silchenko hit his breathtaking new dive for 10s as the Russian secured 503.50 points and back-to-back wins in the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series for the first time in his career after one of the most absorbing competitions of 2012 on Ireland's remote Inis Mor.
The 28-year-old Russian emerged as the man for all seasons amid the sunshine and showers of the Aran Islands nailing his back armstand with a blind entry to an ovation from his fellow divers, the universal approval of the judges, and the astonishment of the crowd of Irish spectators in awe of the 28m cliff dives.
In another competition too close to call, first and second place were separated by just four points, with Orlando Duque (499.50pts) the runner-up and Steven LoBue (451.80pts), who also dove brilliantly, finishing third.
"My armstand with blind entry was brilliant and I beat by Orlando by just four points," said Silchenko, immediately after the victory which comes just two weeks after he edged out Duque to claim his first win of the World Series in the Azores.
"When I came to the platform after Orlando dived I saw nine and nine and a halfs from the judges but I knew what I had to do for my final dive [a back triple triple].
"You know it’s a good dive only when you’re underwater. You’re travelling so fast it’s impossible to take it all in. Only after the entry can you say ’yes, it’s a great dive.‘"
Silchenko had to be on top form with closest rival Duque putting together his best set of dives all year and the Colombian, whose programme included a back triple triple and his trademark reverse twister, says it bodes well for the rest of the season.
"This was probably the best competition I’ve done this year," said Duque. "It’s a challenge the way Artem is performing but I’m also doing better. This was my highest score of the season. If I can keep up this level then it’s going to be difficult for the others."
Third-placed LoBue displayed his customary consistency, mastering his favoured dives of quad half and back triple triple, to earn the final place on the podium.
"It’s a great feeling to know that you left it all out there and it paid off with third place," said LoBue. "With the way the weather was I expecting not to be able to do such great dives but it turned out to be probably the best competition of the year."
The 700 spectators fortunate enough to win tickets at the limited capacity venue – the so-called Serpent's Lair – witnessed 21 incredible cliff dives from 28 metres during the fourth stop of the global competition.
Nine-time world champion Duque retains the lead of the overall ranking going into the second half of the 2012 World Series and the next stop will take place in the sports-mad city of Boston, USA, on August 25.