Orlando Duque of Colombia dives during the eighth and final stop of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, Bilbao, Spain on September 26, 2015.
© Romina Amato/Red Bull Content Pool
Cliff Diving

These are the 10 legendary cliff divers who you need to know about

Take a look at the 10 top cliff divers in World Series history who've pushed the boundaries of the sport over 15 seasons, allowing cliff diving to evolve and reach new heights in the future.
Written by Lucy Debenham
12 min readPublished on
As the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series approaches the mid-point in the current season, we take a look through 15 seasons of epic, adrenaline-fuelled events to offer up 10 of our top picks from over 100 athletes who've competed in the sport.
Ranked in no particular order, each diver featured here has brought their own magic to cliff diving, helping to shape and influence the world's oldest extreme sport. That’s not to suggest however that those not mentioned haven't made incredibly important contributions to the World Series.
Narrowing the list down to just 10 athletes hasn't been easy, so treat this list as intended - a gateway to getting to know just some of the movers and shakers from an incredible history of cliff diving so far.
01

Rhiannan Iffland

Representing: Australia

Born: 1991
Rhiannan Iffland of Australia celebrates with the King Kahekili trophy at the sixth and final stop of the 2023 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in Auckland, New Zealand.

The great Rhiannan Iffland is the dominant force of women's cliff diving

© Romina Amato/Red Bull Content Pool

If there's one word to describe Rhiannan Iffland, it has to be dominant. The 32-year-old has reigned supreme in the women's series for seven out of the nine seasons that it has been a part of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series since 2014. From the moment she stepped onto the diving platform as a wildcard in 2016, Iffland proved herself a force to reckoned with. She swooped and scooped points, shaking up the women's event and, ultimately, taking the overall title in her rookie season. Since then, she’s barely relinquished the top step of the podium during her tenure.

Just on paper, Iffland’s stats are astounding. A seven-time World Series champion, at the time of publishing she'll have made 46 starts and currently carries a whopping 80 percent winning record, having stepped on the podium in over 95 percent of the events she's started. Between 2019 and 2021, the Australian also enjoyed a streak of 13 back-to-back wins - two seasons' worth of first place finishes.

13 min

Balloon dive with Rhiannan Iffland

Rhiannan Iffland came up with the idea to be the first person to ever high dive from a hot air balloon.

English

As a competitor, Iffland is pretty much flawless with no apparent weaknesses or limitations. She is, and perhaps will always remain, the athlete to beat in the women's competition. Her combined competitive trampolining and diving background has given the defending world champion the ultimate toolkit - strength, grace, an impeccable eye for spotting her landings and a track record of stellar rip entries. Cool, calm, and collected on the platform, a powerhouse in the air, a pioneer in the sport and, just as importantly, a pleasure on the World Series circuit.
Chasing her eighth title and the King Kahekili trophy in 2024, the fact of the matter is there will only be one Rhiannan Iffland and, as far as we can tell, she's not done making history or record-breaking just yet.
02

Gary Hunt

Representing: France
Born: 1984
The undisputed king of cliff diving, there's very little that Gary Hunt hasn’t accomplished in the sport. Described as an enigma, he's always had two very distinct sides - the laidback introvert and the fiercest competitor out on the diving platform. And as 10-time World Series champion, Hunt has another unofficial title - the GOAT of cliff diving.
Hunt made his World Series debut as a 24-year-old in 2009, having honed his craft on the 5m springboard and 10m synchro, and picking up a bronze medal in the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. He gave a heavy hint of what was to come at the fifth stop in his rookie World Series season, when he introduced a brand-new dive with an epic Degree of Difficulty - 5.2, the most difficult to have ever been performed at that point in time.
Gary Hunt of Great Britain on the roof of the Opera House during the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in Copenhagen, Denmark on August 24, 2018.

Gary Hunt is the GOAT of cliff diving. Will his records ever beaten?

© Esben Zøllner Olesen/Red Bull Content Pool

By the next stop of the 2009 series in Hamburg, Hunt had perfected the dive and landed on the top spot on podium, paving the way to take his place as a true pioneer of the sport. It wasn't long before he secured the first of 10 World Series titles the following season.
So began a new chapter in cliff diving history, with Hunt at the forefront of fearlessness, entertaining new possibilities and pushing the boundaries of the sport. The first diver to score perfect 10s (a feat he achieved in Beirut in 2019); the men’s diver with the most wins in cliff diving history (46 wins in 98 starts); and the with a personal best of 550.3 points (collected in Denmark, Copenhagen, if you’re interested), there's not a lot that Hunt hasn’t achieved in his long career.
Now on a long hiatus as he pursues an Olympic high diving dream at the age of 40, Hunt's outstanding record remains unrivalled. Catch the Frenchman’s return to the World Series as he competes as a wildcard later this year.
03

Orlando Duque

Orlando Duque of Colombia dives during the eighth and final stop of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, Bilbao, Spain on September 26, 2015.

No one has dived in more places on the planet than Orlando Duque

© Romina Amato/Red Bull Content Pool

Representing: Colombia
Born: 1974
If any diver embodies the spirit of cliff diving, it’s got to be Orlando 'The Duke' Duque. Hailing from the high diving hot-spot of Cali in Colombia, Duque is a living legend of the sport and serves as its most dedicated and passionate ambassador, and continues to bring cliff diving to new frontiers.


Duque blasted onto the World Series in its inaugural season in 2009 and soon established himself as a tour de force in the competition, as well as the wider World Aquatics high diving circuit. Combining artistic flair with power and pinpoint precision, Duque enjoyed a rapid ascent to the top of the leaderboard, taking the World Series champion title title in 2009 and amassing 34 podium finishes over 11 World Series seasons – not an epic career comeback after a serious skydiving injury.

6 min

Orlando Duque dives the Amazon River

Orlando Duque dives the Amazon River

Ever an adventurer, Duque has also brought cliff diving to all corners of the earth, continually pushing the limits of his discipline. From diving off an iceberg and swooping into the mighty Amazon River, leaping from a helicopter overlooked by the Statue of Liberty and plunging into waterfalls and volcano canyons of Guatemala. Even to this day, Duque remains on a mission to test new waters and break new ground.
Now retired from competing, Duque continues to seek out breath-taking cliff diving locations and is also helping to foster a new generation of talent as the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series sports director.
04

Constantin Popovici

Representing: Romania
Born: 1988
Romanian dynamo Constantin Popovici is perhaps the ultimate example of discipline and dedication. The first diver to be crowned World Series champion after the long reign of Gary Hunt, Popovici's devotion to training is no secret - the 2024 defending champion simply has to flex and the intensity of his competitiveness just rolls off the 35-year-old. 


Constantin Popovici of Romania dives during the 2024 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series at Lake Vouliagmeni in Athens, Greece on May 26, 2024.

Constantin Popovici's explosive power on the platform is a sight to behold

© Dean Treml/Red Bull Content Pool

Popovici's World Series career began in 2018 in Denmark and four events later he picked up his inaugural win - the first Romanian to do so. Almost two third of Popovici's spectacular performances have resulted in a top three finish and in 2023 he realised his long-held ambition of holding the King Kahekili trophy after only missing one podium during the entire season.
Popovici's talent and determination isn’t limited to the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. The Romanian has also participated in the Beijing Games and continues to train for both traditional diving and cliff diving as he chases down a second World Series title in 2024.
05

Molly Carlson

Representing: Canada
Born: 1998
Dynamic, positive, inspiring and courageous - these are the values that Molly Carlson brings to life as one of the most recognisable faces in the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series lineup. Not only a fearless ambassador for her sport – she's also the face of Brave Gang, her own movement that inspires people to tackle their fears, embrace challenges and advocate for mental health. Through Brave Gang, she motivates her community to step out of their comfort zones, spreading a vibe of courage and confidence.
Molly Carlson of Canada dives during the second stop of the 2024 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in Boston, USA on June 7, 2024.

Molly Carlson is fast becoming Rhiannan Iffland's biggest rival

© Romina Amato/Red Bull Content Pool

Not only a member of Team Canada's Elite National Team High Divers, Carlson has also been a rising star on the World Series competition circuit, since she flew onto the scene in 2021. In 2022, Carlson snatched a surprise victory from the hands of a then-seemingly unstoppable Rhiannan Iffland at the season opener in Boston, the very same event where her boyfriend Aidan Heslop also scored a momentous victory, signaling the arrival of a new generation of divers ready to rumble with the sport's veterans.
Honest, open and giving, Carlson has helped to showcase the pure artistry and skill of cliff diving to millions around the world. But beneath the vivacious exterior lies a fierce and fiery competitor who's taken three wins and only relinquished a podium spot four times in her World Series career so far. An ever-present threat to Iffland's dominance in the sport, there’s no doubt that Carlson's day will come.
06

Aiden Heslop

Representing: Great Britain
Born: 2002
The story of Aidan Heslop's insane talent has been cited many times, but never loses its appeal. A long-time fan of Gary Hunt, Heslop grew up wanting to emulate Hunt's technical prowess, daring dives and the sheer artistry that the legend brought to the sport. At age 16, on his World Series debut as a wildcard, Heslop earned his first accolade as the youngest diver to ever take part in the tour, going on to secure a spot in the permanent lineup in 2022.
Even before his first full season and three stop victories in '22, Heslop had already brought a fresh serving of daring diving to the platform, with his talent for complex, high DD dives. Now, the Brit is leading the charge of a new generation and ramming the boundaries of his sport further and further ahead. The winner of the World Series's 100th stop in Boston earlier in 2024, Heslop has already secured his spot as a cliff diving history-maker.
At 22-years-old and with two almost-wins in the hunt for the King Kahekili trophy already, Heslop is a top contender in the cliff diving world with plenty of unwritten chapters still to write.
07

Anna Bader

Representing: Germany
Born: 1983
Hailing from Germany, Anna Bader was one of the original divers to feature in the first Red Bull Cliff Diving women's lineup a decade ago, in 2014. But for long-time fans of the World Series, Bader's name might have stood out because she competed alongside the men many years before the inception of the women's category. With six podiums in 18 competitions to her name, along with an overall runner-up spot in her first season, Bader has not only been a pioneer for women in the sport, but continues to forge her own path in her 40s.
Bader took a hiatus for the birth of her first child, but was back in action in 2022 and since taking a career pause for her second child, Bader has once again returned to the competitive circuit as a model of fearlessness and resiliency. Off the World Series tour, the German competitor earned a solid sixth at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha and in 2024 will be back as a much-anticipated wildcard in the World Series.
Anna Bader of Germany dives during the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series at Sao Miguel, Azores, Portugal on July 7, 2017.

Evergreen Anna Bader has been there before there was even a women's series

© Romina Amato/Red Bull Content Pool

08

Artem Silchenko

Representing: Independent
Born: 1984
Artem Silchenko cemented his place in Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series history as one of the sport's 'originals' from its inaugural 2009 season – as well as a reputation as one of the toughest competitors ever to grace the diving platform. Silchenko's record reveals his tenacity, with the Independent athlete claiming the World Series champion's title five times during his cliff diving career.
Artem Silchenko of Russia makes his final dive on Hong Island during the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, Krabi, Thailand on October 26, 2013.

Artem Silchenko is one of the all-time greats of Red Bull Cliff Diving

© Dean Treml/Red Bull Content Pool

It took Silchenko four seasons' worth of grit and determination before he finally realised his ambition at 29-years-old, taking the World Series crown in 2013. He remains the diver with the second-most individual wins and 10 scores from the judges. Now in his 40s, he still occasionally honours the World Series with his presence as a wildcard diver. A master of words, expect any of Silchenko's post-competition commentary to be a goldmine of succinct but almost poetic messaging – "one dive, one million things that can go wrong," immediately coming to mind.
Silchenko's strength and style has also earned him a place in this list, as the inventor of the 'triple-triple' - a formerly ground-breaking three somersaults, three twists manoeuvre that levelled up the competitive nature of his sport during its formative years. Silchenko was also a forerunner of the 'blind entry', a kind of signature move that he eventually perfected and faithfully stuck to, hit or miss.
09

Rachelle Simpson

Representing: USA
Born: 1988
Rachelle Simpson of the USA dives during the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, Sao Miguel, Azores, Portugal on July 7, 2016.

Rachelle Simpson forged a path that many young female divers have followed

© Romina Amato/Red Bull Content Pool

Known as the 'American Queen of Cliff Diving', Rachelle Simpson had the honour to dive amongst the first-ever female championship in 2014 and, historically, became the first woman to claim the World Series title. Simpson was never afraid to voice the fear she faced every time she prepared to dive from 20m high, finding strength in the ability to conquer those fears and master her dives.
As well as dominating her first season, Simpson also became the first diver in the women's category to secure a back-to-back Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series titles, thanks to two epic wins in Possum Lake, USA, and Polignano a Mare in Italy. The same year, she also took gold at the FINA World Championships in Russia and the FINA World Cup in Mexico.
10

Ginger Huber

Ginger Huber of the USA poses for a portrait during the 2024 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series at Lake Vouliagmeni in Athens, Greece on May 24, 2024.

Ginger Huber has gone from cliff diving pioneer to World Series judge

© Dean Treml/Red Bull Content Pool

Representing: USA
Born: 1974
American diver Ginger Huber has dedicated most of her life to her beloved sport of high diving. Cliff diving fans may recognise her as a judge on the current tour, but her affiliation with the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series goes back much further.
As one of the original divers in the first women's World Series lineup, Huber became a familiar face throughout six seasons of competition, until her last appearance in 2019. From the outset, Huber’s dedication to her sport helped to pave the way for a new generation of women cliff divers after her. 

One of Huber's career highlights includes becoming the first female diver to be awarded a perfect 10 from the judges, perhaps a perfect circle back to her current position, scoring and overseeing a new wave of talent.
Eight men and eight women will compete at Round 4 of the 2024 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, as the tour returns to the home of cliff diving in Polignano a Mare, Italy, on June 30. Catch all the action on Red Bull TV from 13:30 UTC.

Part of this story

Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series

Divers execute incredible acrobatics from heights of more than 20m in the ultimate display of focus and skill.

1 Tour Stop

Rhiannan Iffland

One of the world's best cliff divers and a serial champion on the World Series, Australia's Rhiannan Iffland is a dominant force from the 21m platform.

AustraliaAustralia

Molly Carlson

A relatively unknown addition when she arrived on the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in 2021, Molly Carlson has rapidly risen to become the main contender to record champion Rhiannan Iffland.

CanadaCanada

Aidan Heslop

With back-to-back runner up finishes in the last two Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series seasons, Aidan Heslop is already proving himself to be one of the sport’s major players.

United KingdomUnited Kingdom

Orlando Duque

Colombian cliff diving star Orlando Duque is a champion many times over and a genuine legend of his sport.

ColombiaColombia

Gary Hunt

The astonishing successes of ten-time Red Bull Cliff Diving World Champion Gary Hunt make him the most decorated athlete in his field.

FranceFrance

Constantin Popovici

A relative latecomer to the sport, Constantin Popovici has now firmly positioned himself at the top of the men’s game after winning the 2023 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series.

RomaniaRomania

Anna Bader

An original from the women’s inaugural World Series season in 2014, Anna Bader has proved one of cliff diving’s most consistent performers.

GermanyGermany