After four rounds of spectacular cliff diving from the Portuguese islet of Vila Franca do Campo, in the Azores, Russian Artem Silchenko took the trophy for first place on Saturday, beating rival Orlando Duque by just a tenth of a point!
The closest, and one of the most exciting, Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series competitions to date witnessed some stunning dives straight off the rocks – in a return to the sport's roots – and the 28-metre platform, with Silchenko's total score of 465.60 points securing the 28-year-old his first win of 2012.
Artem, whose programme included a flying front and a back triple triple, hit his new dive – a back armstand with a blind entry – with a DD of 6.1 in the final, to claim the win from Colombian Duque, in second, and Englishman Gary Hunt, in third.
"It’s amazing for me... wow!" said Artem, straight after the win. "I have won by 0.1 points... that’s half a point from one judge! I wanted to make my new dive as well as I could – I tried not to think that I could win the competition, I just wanted to do my dive well."
Silchenko failed to make the podium in the first two stops as he continued his attempts to hone the new dive but has become the third different winner of a World Series competition so far and 2012 is shaping up to be the best and most competitive year yet in cliff diving.
Also wowing a 2,000-strong crowd who converged on the islet in their boats and kayaks was Gary Hunt whose superb execution of his triple quad in the final brought cheers and the highest score of the day for a single dive of 173.25 points.
Other highlights included Alain Kohl's excellent recovery from coming last two weeks ago to finish fourth and Ukrainian wildcard Anatoliy Shabotenko's qualification for the eight-man finale for the third successive stop – this time as 'lucky loser' following a series of six head-to-heads.
The winners will not have long to coif champagne, the losers to dusts themselves off – the next stop in the 2012 World Series takes place in Ireland on August 4.