Decorated with Hawaiian leis, hula dancers welcomed 12 of the world's best cliff divers this week to the sport’s birthplace on the group of islands located in the midst of the Pacific Ocean.
Four months after its kick-off in France and five breathtaking competitions across Europe and Central America later, the grand finale of the 2010 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series is now just two days away.
On September 12 the Kawainui Falls in Hilo on Hawaii’s Big Island will be the spot where the World Series winner is crowned, with British athlete Gary Hunt all set to usurp reigning champion Orlando Duque.
Three plumes of water falling down from different heights and merging into a beautiful and powerful waterfall, surrounded by an impressive variety of tropical plants and trees, provide a natural backdrop for the final decision in the World Series.
The privately-owned Kawainui Falls and stream (ka=the, wai=water, nui=great) was used to power the water wheel that generated electricity for the Onomea Sugar Mill in the days of the sugar industry. More recently the waterfall has been used as a Hollywood film set and this coming Sunday it will be the backdrop for the 2010 finale of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series.
The coastal town of Hilo, the wettest city in the entire United States with over 200 inches of annual rainfall, will play host to the select dozen high-diving athletes who have 85 feet and three seconds of free fall to fill with jaw-dropping twisting and flipping.
With a commanding lead of 19 points, Englishman Gary Hunt needs a single point to secure the World Championship title he has craved ever since finishing as runner-up in 2009.
Taking a huge leap from the Series’ penultimate stop in the heart of Switzerland to the other side of the world in Hawaii, this season’s final 30 highly complex dives will be performed in the land of this majestic sport’s origin. With five athletes still fighting for a position in the top six, the grand finale promises to be an attention-grabbing competition.
Red Bull Cliff Diving Official Site