Rhiannan Iffland’s best cliff dives: 4 wild spots
The Newcastle native, who just turned 31 this month, has shown no signs of slowing down, having led the competition this year in the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series through all stops, at the exception of the first round in Boston in the United States, where she finished second. Molly Carlson.
And so, as we move forward to October 15, we thought we’d share some of Rhi’s most spectacular dives to provide insight into both his skill level, as well as his appetite for adventure and challenge. All of this is all the more impressive as Rhi constantly reminds us that she is always nervous during any dive in front of her, revealing a very grounded and humble sportswoman.
In 2021, the four-time World Series champion attempted a world-first dive from a hot air balloon at a height of 18m above Lostock Dam, NSW. The attempt came in the wake of canceled competitions and trips during the pandemic, which clearly hasn’t stopped Rhi’s desire to dive. So why not a world first from a moving hot air balloon?
Salina Turda Salt Mine, Romania
When you flip an event around and decide, “hey, how about we take a huge dive but into negative space?”, you’re either a genius, or a little crazy, or maybe both. But that’s what happened when Rhi and Romania Konstantin Popovici were lucky enough to descend to a platform some 120m underground in one of the oldest salt mines in the world at Salina Turda, Romania. The resulting dive – another world first for our Australian sensation, had an added challenge with the density of the water forcing the deceleration to accelerate to half the normal speed. Besides this diving being a difficult concept, let alone an attempt, the environment makes for an out of the ordinary experience for all.
Never done with world firsts, Rhi took time out of his prep schedule to casually kick off the Oslo, Norway leg of this year’s Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, deciding instead to inspect an old beam on the ship SS Christian Radich, about 18.5 m from the surface of the fjord below. Understandably once up there and satisfied with its structural integrity, the enigmatic Aussie took no risks on the way down, opting instead to perform a spectacular dive for the assembled locals.
This more introspective excursion into Australia’s beautiful outback allowed Rhi to connect with her homeland in a way she had never experienced before. Encouraged by all the cultural experiences diving had exposed her to so far, the then-young star turned to her own backyard and the rich Australian culture through its Indigenous peoples not only to exercise her job in an old context, but also to discover a part of herself that she had never known existed. This dive was a personal experience filled with growth and fulfillment on many levels, and stands here as a highlight of Rhi’s career for its countless layers.
The 2022 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series is still up for grabs, and while Rhi has his finger on the championship, more water needs to flow under the rig before it’s a done deal. Win, place or lose, however, it doesn’t matter what the indelible mark the young Australian has left on the sport of cliff diving, or where Australia stands in the sport through her incredible achievements. The above simply highlights Rhi’s transcendence from rookie and leftist competitor to soulful adventurer and ambassador across the discipline as a whole.