Revisiting locations close to my home and my heart such as this one always come as a special pleasure, and this year’s event is the most visited and exciting one yet! The only Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series event where competitors leap from a UNESCO World Heritage site, Mostar holds a special place in the divers’ hearts. As always, I came equipped with a drone for aerial photography and an underwater housing for my camera, which allowed me to take shots from angles which would otherwise be inaccessible to anyone else.
Action’s centred on the 16th-century Stari Most bridge, which has a diving tradition stretching back almost 450 years. In a city with such a strong diving heritage, everyone wanted to deliver a winning effort, so we had some incredible performances as divers fought for every last championship point.
Beautiful place, beautiful people, pleasantly warm temperature of 30 degrees celsius at this year’s event, the atmosphere is exilirating and that pleasant feeling of familiarity and expectation of good times starts to set in. As always it is a great pleasure to meet this year’s divers, and watch them as they do what they do best! And that is – leave the crowd gasping for air with their well-practiced acrobatic stunts as they soar from the Mostar’s famous Old bridge down in the chilly 15 degrees water.
Shooting while submersed in the water is no easy feat, but the ever-changing shapes of water allowed me for some unique shot opportunities, like making such beautiful sequence shots that allow capturing the competitor’s diving figures all in one same photograph.
But what about the science of the dive? Maybe you thought being a Red Bull Cliff Diver was as simple as jumping off a cliff? Think again. It’s an exercise in mental mindset, bodily control, and, oh yeah – maths. Leaping from a 27m-high platform is quite literally a calculated risk.
The divers accelerate off the platform at 9.8m/s – that’s almost as fast as a Bugatti Veyron supercar accelerates from 0–60mph or to 100kph. Did I mention they’re flipping and twisting, while spotting their landing? Because they are. Steven LoBue manages five forward rotations.
The impact isn’t easy. The divers go from 85kph to zero in less than a second. Such a shock for body truly is a feat to endure!