Sydney harbour was the venue for the Red Bull Cliff Diving 2022 World Series finals. Although there are plenty of (real) cliffs along the coastline here, the harbour was set up with an artificial “cliff” tower. Personally I think it would have been much better off the real cliffs plunging in to the Pacific ocean but there is no doubt why they chose the harbour setting.
It reminds me of those famous photographs of the high diving board at the Barcelona Olympics way back in 1992 with the city as the backdrop. Today, with the diving tower set up at Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair on the harbour. So the backdrop was that postcard classic of the Opera House sitting in front of the Harbour Bridge.
The event was free to enter but to see it properly meant walking through the entrance gates with the crowds. Anything like this is going to be busy when it’s free. Also, it seems that spring has finally arrived and the sun was shining – another thing guaranteed to bring out the crowds. We managed to make our way to the front. We watched a few then left. Simple.
One of the male competitors doing a seemingly impossible dive.
In case you are wondering, the water depth the are diving into is only 5.5m (about 18 feet)
Cliff diving is said to have started in Acapulco, Mexico at the famous La Quebrada cliffs, in the 1930s. It became world famous in 1963 when the Elvis Presley movie ‘Fun in Acapulco’ was released. Elvis played a cliff diver who performed at the the El Mirador Hotel at La Quebrada. Following that film cliff diving competitions at La Quebrada were regularly shown on sports programmes on US and British TV during the 1960s and 1970s.
Interesting fact: Elvis never travelled to Mexico and all his footage in the movie was filmed in the USA. Checkout that movie and you can clearly see that is the case. He is never really there. There are two stories. One tale is that during showing of earlier Elvis movies caused riots in Mexico City. The other story is that Elvis apparently said some disparaging things about Mexico. Either way it seems that he became “persona non grata”.
All that aside, the cliff divers at La Quebrada cliffs near Acapulco are an absolute must-see if you are anywhere near there. Dani’s mum and myself went to a show at the El Mirador Hotel some years ago when we were in Mexico. I would definitely go again, it really is an amazing sight and a great show.
One of the female divers. Using the slightly lower level
Views from the other side of the inlet…