What is Red Bull Cliff Diving?
Cliff diving is an elite extreme sport and the ultimate display of focus and skill. In the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, 12 men and 12 women compete at every event to earn maximum championship points.
Launching from a platform height of 27m for male divers and 21m for female competitors, each diver is judged by a panel on their acrobatics and artistic moves during the dive. At the end of every season a champion is crowned and awarded the coveted King Kahekili trophy, as well as a winner's prize fund.
What's the science behind cliff diving?
Cliff diving from an average platform of 27m high (for male divers) is all about power and balance. It's a calculated risk that requires a lot of practise, especially when conditions vary between each event location.
Height, speed and g-force, as well as aerial awareness, timing and physical strength all play a huge role in executing the perfect dive.
During a dive, a cliff diver will experience:
What is Red Bull Cliff Diving?
Discover the amazing world of Red Bull Cliff Diving
Anything that's not straight up and down is really going to hurt
It’s all about the entry when you’re hitting the water at three times the force of gravity and at speeds of up to 85kph.
Divers must coordinate and tense muscles before impact to protect themselves from injury. Immediately after impact with the water, the diver actively dives away to avoid squeezing or twisting their body.
Red Bull Cliff Diving rules and format
12 divers compete in each of the men’s and women’s competitions: eight permanent divers and up to four wildcards in each category. The competition generally takes place over two days, with the diving order in the first round determined by a draw ahead of each competition.
Each diver performs in front of an international jury of five judges, bringing together optimal physical skill, mental discipline and focus to execute dives judged on creativity, acrobatic prowess and athletic ability.
Each diver must perform at least one dive during competition to be included in the final result. The dives are scored on take-off, position in the air and entry in the water. The highest and lowest scores are then discarded, with the remaining three intermediate scores multiplied by the degree of difficulty for each dive.
- Round 1: all divers execute a required dive.
- Round 2: all divers execute an intermediate dive.
- Rounds 3 and 4: all divers execute an optional dive.
There's no capped 'Degree of Difficulty' for these dives and every element of the dive counts. For the optional dives in rounds three and four the order of divers is a reverse starting order based on the previous round's cumulative score.
After all four dives, a female and male winner is declared from the highest points total after four dives. Based on their final result, each diver is then awarded points that are tallied and go towards their overall Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series ranking.
Ultimately, big points mean big prizes. Every event stop and every dive counts in the fight for the King Kahekili trophies.
Points and scoring
Five international jurors judge each dive on take off, position in the air and entry in the water.
Each judge then awards the dive a score from 0 to 10 in half-point increments, with the highest and lowest scores discarded. The remaining three scores are then added together and the sum is multiplied by the degree difficulty for each dive to give a score.
The winner of any individual stop is the diver with the highest points total after four dives.
The points from each competition are then tallied to produce the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series rankings. All individual competition results count for the World Series overall ranking.
Five judges are selected per stop from a pool of 11 members. Judges for each stop will be chosen based on geographical location of the event and availability.
Where did cliff diving begin?
The Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series began in 2009, bringing together the world's top divers to many breathtaking locations across the globe.
Cliff diving as a sport originated in the 1700s in Hawaii, when a Hawaiin chief, King Kahekili, first leapt from the holy cliffs of Kaunolo. The old Hawaiian principles of 'mana' and 'pono' - power and balance - are still upheld today.