Red Bull Cliff Diving in Dubai
For the first time in the Middle East, the best cliff divers in the world will be launching themselves into the Dubai Marina, from Pier 7, at a height of 28 meters.
Ahead of the event on the evening of October 28, we prepped ourselves for the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series finale enrolling in a diving workshop with Mexican cliff diver Jonathan Paredes.
Ahead of this weekend's final in Dubai, Paredes is second place in the series and will (like all of the other divers) compete for the first time at night. As if the Dubai debut wasn't enough.
What goes through you’re head on the edge of the platform during a competition?
It doesn’t really matter if it’s during a competition or not. It is always slightly scary when you are on an edge 27 metres up! The key is to trying and focus on the dive. The atmosphere and the people all around makes it difficult, especially when at that height, you're risking your life.
What’s the mental process like?
You never completely get rid of the fear, pressure or nerves. You just try to deal with it. You get on the platform and when you’re ready to dive you have to be ready to dive, no matter what. I like to think when I’m about to go that it’s just me, the platform and no one else, that helps me focus.
What’s the highest dive you have ever executed?
From 30 metres in Victoria Falls. I did a project with [fellow cliff diver] Orlando Duque and it felt amazing doing such a dive outside of a competition. You don’t feel any pressure and you’re enjoying the nature surrounding the dive. That dive was my personal best height-wise and it was truly incredible.
On the Red Bull Cliff Diving circuit, what’s your favourite place to dive?
Ah, that’s a difficult question. I would have to say Mexico, because it's my home country and so is a very special event for me. It also helps that the spot involves diving into a natural hole in the Earth, which is incredible!
My second favourite would have to be Italy. I can't pick between Polignano or the Amalfi Coast. With the crowds, beautiful architecture and clear water they are something else.
What do you think of this weekend at Dubai's Pier 7. It's the first ever night dive!
To be honest all of us are a bit unsure of how it’s going to go. It feels weird because we’ve never done it before. I guess it’s going to be a challenge for everyone, however at the same time we will be able to handle it, otherwise we wouldn’t be doing it. At the end of the day, we are just looking for a decent event with tight competition.
What’s the difference when diving into flat water compared to the sea?
Flat water makes it slightly easier, but right now were just thinking about the event being at night instead of daytime. It’s actually never easier, it’s just slightly more relaxed, however it’s still a competition.
Loads of boats pass through the Marina. Does the dirty water bother you?
I guess but we’ve dove in places before where the conditions aren’t the best and the water isn’t the cleanest! We're used to it. We’ve been diving all around the world. In Cuba the water wasn’t the cleanest, but we're don't think about it. We concentrate more on surviving and performing well... just remember to take a shower after!
Have you ever lost your Speedos in a dive?
Ha-ha, no never. I mean they are very tiny, it would be rare for them to come off. It’s funny when you go to a store to get Speedos, they don’t realise why you’re asking for a smaller size and they usually ask if it’s for yourself! They don’t realize that if we get a size slightly too big than we could lose them in a dive.
How long have you been on the Red Bull Cliff diving circuit now?
Since 2011. So, five years.
What are your goals?
My focus is on getting better and better at the sport itself. I’m in second place in the overall rankings at the moment heading into the event this weekend, so I have my sights on taking the title one day.
On top of that, becoming a 'legend' in the sport is my main goal. Gary Hunt who is at the top of the rankings right now is an awesome diver and way ahead, but then you have people like Orlando who is a king of the sport. They are two different accomplishments and I would like to achieve both. I want to leave a legacy, which people can talk about and say, "Jonathan did something good for the sport."
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The Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series Finals takes place October 28, Pier 7, Dubai Marina, 8pm.