'Learn who you are' in cliff diving, says world champion
EL NIDO, Philippines – Fears are meant to be conquered, and that's what Gary Hunt has accomplished through his ascent as one of the world's elite cliff divers.
Jumping off a cliff as high as 27 meters or 90 feet is no easy task even for the adventurous, but the reigning Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series men's champion said there are lessons learned from such an experience.
"I think cliff diving is about facing your fears. It's a very scary sport, but you can learn a lot from cliff diving," said Hunt.
"Going up there and learning to take a leap and believing in yourself, it's always a challenge mentally. I've learned all my lessons of life in diving and in cliff diving," he added.
"You really learn who you are in the sport."
Hunt got to experience something new in his bid for a sixth World Series title as Red Bull opened its 2019 edition with its first Asian leg in history – trooping to the picturesque El Nido, Palawan.
Together with other top divers, the 34-year-old Brit had to climb the admired limestone formations of the Small and Big Lagoons in Miniloc Island before making a splash in the emerald green waters.
Even if Hunt has already attempted countless dives in multiple parts of the world, the cliffs in El Nido posed a challenge to him.
But that did not prevent him from flaunting his finesse as he finished No. 1 in the Philippine leg to jumpstart his title-retention bid on the right track. (READ: Strong start for champs in PH leg of Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series)
"The challenge here is the climb up to the top, it was very sharp rocks and some very scary moments. It's almost a relief when you get to the top of the platform and all you need to do is dive," Hunt said.
"We've had some scary climbs in different countries – Thailand was also a scary one – but it never gets easier, these climbs."
As cliff diving continues to grow across the globe, Hunt hopes people give the sport a shot.
"It's amazing to watch when you see, especially when you come into the event live, you hear the sound of the impact, you see how it really is, it can be one of the most spectacular sports." – Rappler.com
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