Steven LoBue earns first Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series victory since 2015 win in Bilbao.
The 33-year-old spun his way to a stunning victory at the second stop of the 2018 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in Bilbao, Spain, earning top spot on the podium for the first time since his win in the very same location back in 2015. He was joined in the celebrations by reigning champion Jonathan Paredes of Mexico, who grabbed a much needed second place following a poor start in Texas.
LoBue’s fellow American David Colturi, who currently possesses the hardest dive, finished third. Six-time World Series champion Gary Hunt of England missed out on the podium for the third successive event; his longest run ever without a top three finish. 25,000 fans turned out to watch as the men displayed their art from 27m in rainy conditions beside the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.
After no victory in 16 competitions, the FINA world champion displayed the best performance of his forward 5 somersaults with ½ twist ever to score the highest note in an optional dive (135.15pts) and repeat his winning feat in the American’s new favourite location. Paredes also earned a new record score for an intermediate dive (100.80pts), which powered him into an early lead after two rounds, while record winner Hunt, who clearly still feels the handicap of his twisting mental block, had to lower his diving programme once more to land him in a mediocre 10th place in the Basque city.
With today’s win, the ‘spin master’ from Florida also took the overall World Series lead ahead of Czech’s Michal Navratiland Blake Aldridge from Great Britain after two of seven competitions in the World Series’ anniversary season. Defending champion Paredes makes up five ranks and sits in 5th place now, while his main contender from previous years, the ‘brilliant Brit’ Hunt, lingers in 11th position, one spot behind Colombian veteran Orlando Duque.
From the place where cliff diving is art and La Salve Bridge with thousands of enthusiastic fans along the river, the cliff diving elite travels on to the remote and pure islands of the Portuguese Azores. The top 24 athletes, men and women, will be back on the cliff-face to continue their fight for the 2018 King Kahekili trophy in two weeks’ time.
Quotes from the winners
Steven LoBue, USA
At the moment it’s less about the location, but more about the feeling. It’s awesome to repeat it in this location, just mentally I’m feeling really good right now. Had a great week of training leading up to this and the crowd pushes through the dodgy weather. It’s fantastic for the sport that so many people are capable of winning at any given point. We had a lot of great dives here today; especially with the weather it’s showing how mentally mature a lot of these guys are, really battling through those conditions. Super excited to come out on top!
Jonathan Paredes, MEX
This is what I wanted. I came to Bilbao with the plan to finish well. Bilbao is a very special place for me and after the bad result in Texas, I could show what I can do. It was a good fight with Steven and David and finally I placed 2nd.
A good result here in Bilbao motivates me to doing better in Portugal and the rest of the Series. Portugal is a special place with diving from the cliffs and it’s been good to me, so I know I can repeat that.
Results – Stop #2, Bilbao | ESP
1- Steven LoBue USA – 416.15pts
2- Jonathan Paredes MEX – 405.55
3- David Colturi USA – 390.90
4- Blake Aldridge GBR – 382.40
5- Michal Navratil CZE – 378.70
6- Alessandro De Rose ITA – 366.40
7- Orlando Duque COL – 362.60
8- Andy Jones USA – 358.70
9- Carlos Gimeno (W) ESP – 349.20
10- Gary Hunt GBR – 347.25
11- Kris Kolanus POL – 277.75
12- Alain Kohl (W) LUX – 275.55
13- Oleksiy Prygorov (W) UKR – 263.00
14- Artem Silchenko (W) RUS – 203.00
Standings (after 2 of 7 stops)
1- Steven LoBue USA – 270pts
2- Michal Navratil CZE – 250
3- Blake Aldridge GBR – 240
4- Kris Kolanus POL – 220
5- Jonathan Paredes MEX – 190
6- David Colturi USA – 170
7- Andy Jones USA – 160
8- Alessandro De Rose ITA – 130
9- Sergio Guzman (W) MEX – 90
10- Orlando Duque COL – 80
Story credit: http://www.redbullcontentpool.com/redbullcliffdiving/AP-1W4VB5UP52111
Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series
Since 2009, the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series has provided a platform for aesthetic free-falls and dives of ever growing complexity, spotlighting the sport’s finest athletes as well as the most promising talents and in 2014 it introduced a Women’s World Series. Celebrating its 10th season in 2018, this rapidly progressing sport will crown two new champions during seven demanding competitions for the men and five for the women. Between June and September, this pure extreme sport will hit waters in natural and urban environments as well as remote and iconic venues of World Series classics.