Red Bull World Cliff Diving World Series kicks off summer in Boston – Boston Herald

  • Kent De Mond of the USA dives from the 27.5 meter platform during the fifth leg of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, Boston, USA, August 25, 2013. (Photo Romina Amato / Red Bull Content Pool)

  • Great Britain's Gary Hunt dives from 27.5 meters...

    Gary Hunt of Great Britain dives from the 27.5 meter platform during the fifth stage of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, Boston, USA, August 25, 2013. (Photo Romina Amato / Red Bull Content Pool)

  • BY THE WATER: The Envoy Hotel's rooftop bar...

    ON THE WATERFRONT: The Envoy Hotel’s rooftop bar in the Seaport District offers stunning views of Boston Harbor. The hotel is near the Moakley footbridge.

Boston’s Seaport District will be an extreme sports viewer’s nirvana on June 4 when, for the first time since 2013, the Red Bull World Cliff Diving World Series (redbull.com/int-en/event-series/redbull-cliffdiving) returns to Boston.

The best divers from around the world – including first-time women in Boston – will jump from the roof of the Institute of Contemporary Art and dive into Boston Harbor for a chance to be called the best in the world.

The location and the competition make it an ideal reason to head to town – for the day or the night.

The event takes place at 2 p.m. on June 4. Spectators can register for a free ticket to view from ICA Boston. The day also brings many boats to Boston Harbor to enhance the views.

This year, a dozen men and a dozen women will complete the competition throughout the season. Boston is the kickoff, as well as the only North American leg of the tour, which includes the only American to have a spot on the full tour, Eleanor Smart.

Smart will be joined by four American wildcards at this event: two men and two women.

Eleanor Smart of the United States dives from the 21-meter platform during the first day of competition of the fourth stage of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in Downpatrick Head, Ireland on September 11, 2021. (Romina Amato -- Red Bull Content Pool)
Eleanor Smart of the United States dives from the 21-meter platform during the first day of competition of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series Stage Four in Downpatrick Head, Ireland on September 11, 2021. (Romina Amato — Red Bull Content Pool)

For Smart, Boston seems like a special competition.

“Having the opportunity to dive in the United States in front of a local crowd is so rare,” she explained. “There are very few competitions in the United States.”

This event, in fact, will be the first time she’s dived at home with her family to watch.

What is urban cliff diving?

Competitors jump from a platform or building. The men dive to 90 feet and the women to 70, adding twists, turns and other details to each dive to create acrobatic aerial dives from three times the height of Olympic dives. From start to finish, dives last around three seconds, with divers going up to 80 km/h through the air.

Divers are judged on three criteria: height at takeoff, how they look in the air (What is the body doing? How is the shape? Are there “pretty lines”?) and entry – with the least of possible splashes for the highest score.

Smart said even viewers who had never seen cliff diving were quick to pick up on it and know what to look for. That’s part of what makes it so fun to watch, she said.

“You don’t need to know anything about cliff diving or even traditional Olympic diving to enjoy it,” she said. “The average person can relate to it and make it exciting to watch.”

And while you might think diving from real cliffs is more fun, Smart begs to differ. From the setting (cool cityscapes) to the setup (“Cliffs have more factors; do you jump far enough? Can you get a good grip with your feet?” she explained).

“I much prefer urban,” she said. “Love this off-platform setting.”

They dive for money and glory, including the King Kahekili Cup, named after Hawaiian chef King Kahekili, a pioneer of cliff diving in the 1700s.

To attend ICA Boston, guests must book a complimentary ticket. They sold out initially, but more will be released on June 1 at eventbrite.com/e/red-bull-cliff-diving-world-series-2022-boston-tickets-308962213297.

Doors open at noon and diving starts at 2 p.m.

Although parking is relatively easy in the Seaport District, you can take the MBTA from South Station to the Seaport on the Silver line and then quickly walk to ICA Boston or any other location in the Seaport.

The Seaport District itself has a lot to do before and after. At Pier 4 in Wood’s Hill (woodshillpier4.com), you will find special offers around the event and a great place to dine by the water.

You can go to King’s Dining and Entertainment (kings-de.com) after the event as well.

If you need some pampering after a day of watching athletes, the Omni at the Seaport now has Breve Spa (omnihotels.com/hotels/boston-seaport/spa). They also have great food and an outstanding sports bar. Or have a drink on the roof of the Envoy Hotel.

And while with all the new choices in the Seaport neighborhood you don’t need to leave, it’s an easy walk over a bridge to the Rose Kennedy Greenway, Faneuil Hall, Boston Public Market, the North End and many other places in Boston.

Smart will think about the many interesting choices in the seaport and throughout the city. Although her mother attended Wheelock College, this is Smart’s first visit to the city.

“My mom always talked about it, so I’m glad to see it,” she said.

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