Iffland completes first ever helicopter dive into Sydney Harbour
Rhiannan Iffland, Aussie six-time World Series champion, has achieved her first ever dive from a helicopter into the waters of Sydney Harbour. Hovering at 20 metres above water, the 31- year-old had moments to prepare before completing her dive, set against the picturesque backdrop of the iconic Harbour Bridge and Opera House.
“I’ve experienced spectacular cliff dives in incredible locations around the world as part of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, but to be able to dive out of a helicopter in front of an iconic backdrop in my hometown is a bucket list moment for me,” says Rhiannan Iffland. “The lead up to the World Series final in Sydney has been equal parts memorable and emotional. My competitors this year have pushed my performance to new levels and I’m excited to finally show Aussies what Red Bull Cliff Diving is all about next week.”
The celebratory dive marks the return of the sport’s most decorated female athlete onto her home soil as Iffland will receive the trophy for the overall win for the 6th consecutive time after wrapping the title during the Italy-leg. She will be the first ever champion crowned at home on October 15.
With the title and the runner-up decided in the women’s – Canada’s Molly Carlson takes second in her first full season – it’s another Aussie that can complete the overall podium. Brisbane’s Xantheia Pennisi sits in fifth going into the final with chances to edge past Jessica Macaulay (CAN) and Eleanor Smart (USA), who are currently on third and fourth.
What is crystal clear in the women’s is the tightest title tussle in World Series history from the men’s 27-metre platform. Just 40 points separate the top three, meaning there will be several permutations in the final fight for the King Kahekili trophy.
Britain’s 20-year-old prodigy Aidan Heslop and Catalin Preda from Romania would each take their first championship while the fabulous Frenchman Gary Hunt could make it ten titles in 13 years. One thing is for sure, if Hunt or Heslop win in Sydney then they’ll be crowned champion.
Besides the titles, the first ever season showdown in Sydney Harbour from a purpose-built 27m and 21m platform will define the top four ranked athletes who will automatically qualify for next season. In the women’s it’s the above mentioned three divers battling for the remaining two places; in the men’s it’s a battle between Romania’s Constantin Popovici, who’ll comeback from injury sustained before the Swiss stop, and Nikita Fedotov (IAT).
Standings Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series (after 7 of 8 stops)
- Rhiannan Iffland AUS – 1360pts.
- Molly Carlson CAN – 1110
- Jessica Macaulay CAN – 744
- Eleanor Smart USA – 690
- Xantheia Pennisi AUS – 688
- Gary Hunt FRA – 1040pts.
- Aidan Heslop GBR – 1006
- Catalin Preda ROU – 1000
- Constantin Popovici ROU – 609
- Nikita Fedotov IAT – 541
Text and photo: quattro media GmbH