Red Bull Cliff Diving Championship Weekend on the Big Island

Gary Hunt of England, Eber Pava and Orlando Duque of Colombia, Kent De Mond of the USA and Hassan Mouti of France dive from a 16 metre rock at Lana'i Lookout as some local hula girls watch on in the lead up to the final round of the 2010 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, Oahu, Hawaii on September 8; 2010. PHOTO/Dean Treml

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Decorated with Hawaiian leis, hula dancers welcomed 12 of the world’s best cliff divers 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.

Orlando Duque of Colombia dives from a 16 metre rock at Lana'i Lookout as some local hula girls watch on in the lead up to the final round of the 2010 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, Oahu, Hawaii on September 8; 2010. PHOTO/Dean Treml

Three plumes of water falling down from different heights and merging into a beautiful and powerful waterfall, surrounded by an impressive variety of tropic 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 powered 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 winner of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series.

The coastal town of Hilo, the wettest city in the entire United States with 5,100mm of annual rainfall, will play host to the select dozen of 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 title he has craved ever since finishing as runner-up in 2009 – that of the World Series champion.

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.

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