The Results Are In: What Went Down At The Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series 2023 Season Finale This Weekend
28 January 2024, Auckland, New Zealand: The highly anticipated Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series 2023 finale took place in Tāmaki Makaurau over the weekend. The two-day event saw 24 of the world’s best cliff divers fight to claim the King Kahekili trophy and be crowned the World Series Champion.
Constantin Popovici, from Romania, won the men’s category; and Australian Rhiannan Iffland was crowned women’s champion.
All competing divers demonstrated world-class levels of skill and athleticism with Dunedin-born judge Simon Latimer claiming the Auckland stop to have showcased “some of the most exciting diving I have ever seen”.
The men’s champion Constantin Popovici had an impressive 2023 season across the six stops, wowing the international panel of judges at the Red Bull Cliff Diving Auckland stop from the 27-metre platform.
The women's lineup was nothing short of world-class, with reigning champion Rhiannan Iffland, from Australia, diving off the 21-metre platform with an inward three Somersaults and a half twist.
Iffland exploded onto the scene in 2016 after a wildcard victory at the Red Bull Cliff Diving Texas stop. Since then, the ‘dominator from down under’ has gone from strength to strength, racking up an unparalleled list of achievements in just a few short years. With seven Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series titles, 31 wins in 38 stops, two FINA High Diving gold medals and two full seasons unbeaten, Iffland is the most decorated female athlete in the history of cliff diving.
Despite recovering from injury, men’s champion Constantin Popovici claimed victory with the men’s title. He says: “This weekend was one of the more challenging stops of the season for me. I came here with an injury and I didn’t know what to expect. But my strong mind said ‘you have to fight’ and that’s what I did.”
Iffland is overjoyed at her victory, saying: “I feel very emotional – it has been a hard lead-up to the competition. It was a fight with my mind thinking is this going to go my way and am I going to hold the pressure. All of the training has definitely paid off. I am very proud of how today went.”
With New Zealand just a stone's throw away from her home country, Iffland was surrounded by support from loved ones: “It’s always special to look out from the edge of the platform and see your family down there. It makes you feel a little bit at home and breathe a bit easier up there.”
New Zealand’s very own Braden Rumpit was selected as a Wildcard to represent Aotearoa at this year’s season finale. Despite representing New Zealand, this was Rumpit’s first time visiting the country - and he was determined to make us proud. Braden was the first to leap off the New Zealand platform on Friday’s training day, gearing him up for a successful two-day competition.
The Red Bull Cliff Diving Auckland tower was designed by Māori Tā Moko artist Graham Tipene and has been on display as the ‘stage’ for the tens of thousands of spectators to admire across the two-day event, alongside thousands around the globe watching via a live-broadcast and highlights.
The artwork has been inspired by the Kawau bird (central to the location and Ngāti Whātua history), the connection to cliff diving and the determination and commitment of the divers and our local culture.
The scores were determined using a 10-point system. Divers were judged by the execution of the dives, with the lowest and highest scores discarded before the total was multiplied by the degree of difficulty (referred to as DD). Every competitor was judged on take-off, position in the air and entry in the water with creativity, acrobatic prowess and athletic ability being determining factors.
There was also plenty for spectators to enjoy, with an array of exciting activities on offer at the event. The food trucks were a smash hit along with the VR diving experiences which proved to be the ultimate pastime between heats. Not to mention the live performance by UK DJ duo Hybrid Minds, who performed an exhilarating set atop the 8-metre diving platform.
SEE BELOW FOR A FULL LIST OF RESULTS:
1st Constantin Popovici | Romania – 413.90
2nd Catalin Preda | Romania – 411.65
3rd Carlos Gimeno | Spain – 404.15
1st Rhiannan Iffland | Australia – 365.00
2nd Xantheia Pennisi | Australia – 337.10
3rd Jessica Macaulay | Canada – 331.00