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marzo 21, 2016 - Red Bull

A 30m dive off the ledge of Victoria Falls

Comunicato Stampa disponibile solo in lingua originale. 

Press release available only in original language. 

It’s the world’s largest waterfall. Located between Zambia and Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls is a sightseeing classic, a spectacle not to miss in Southern Africa – but cliff divers Orlando Duque and Jonathan Paredes took it to the next level. They went to dive off it.

Duque and Paredes had to launch themselves from a spray-soaked ledge in the shadow of Victoria Falls, whose indigenous name is Mosi-oa-Tunya, "the Smoke that Thunders". They first attempted lower jumps (21m, 22m and 24m) before tackling the ultimate 30m dive. 

Both usually dive from a height between 26.5 and 28m when competing on the #redbullcliffdivingworldseries. With 13 world titles and two Guinness world records, Colombia’s Duque has already dived near the Statue of Liberty and off a 28m high tree branch deep in the Amazon jungle. Mexico’s Paredes won his first World Series stop in 2015 and recently placed second at the High Diving World Cup. 

But Paredes had never leaped from such a height before and Duque himself had not dived from a 30m height for almost a decade.

Add to this fact that the landing itself was far from safe and easy. The Zambezi Rivers forms vast pools with currents and foaming rapids. In the slower parts lurk three metres-long crocodiles, tigerfish and giant catfish. No one has ever jumped off the falls in a free dive. Many days of scouting and rigging took place in order to make these dives possible.

South African expedition kayaker Andrew Kellett led the team, which included two scuba divers, three rafts, raft guides, a 2IC, two riggers and a paramedic. Evacuation protocols were in place on both the Zimbabwe and Zambia sides of river, with helicopters on standby ready to fly straight to South Africa in the case of a medi-vac.

“Diving in a place like this just shows you the power of Nature,” said an ecstatic Duque straight off the water after a successful jump. 

“I have the chance to go up there and find a place to jump. It doesn’t get any better than that.” 

Q&A with Orlando Duque

Biggest challenge at Victoria Falls?
I'd say that dealing with the river current and climbing the wall was the biggest challenge of diving at this location. Luckily we had a great team that made sure everything was safe.

What made this dive different?
Definitely the location - everybody knows of Victoria Falls, but it was also the first time I’d ever dived in Africa so that made it even more special for me.

How much training did it involve?
Training for me is a continuous process, however I do try to do some specific research as soon as the project is confirmed. Depending on the location, I also make sure I pack smart to make sure I have everything I need.

And did you plan it a lot?
Yes, I do some scouting on the Internet and have a look at some overhead shots to get a general feeling. But really the main part of the scouting is done on site together with the safety team.

Q&A with Jonathan Paredes

Biggest challenge at Victoria Falls?
I’m not a good climber! Ha ha, I hate it!

What made this dive different?
I really enjoyed being there with one of my best friends living a new experience and pushing my personal best and highest to 30m.

How much training did it involve?
To be honest I’ve been waiting for this since the first moment I knew that I was going to Africa. I always have dreamt of being part of a project like this one and especially getting to do it with Orlando. At the time of filming I was training in Mexico after the World Series 2015, so I was ready to dive of 30m.

And did you plan it a lot?
No, I was really excited to be there and I wanted everything to be a surprise for me. And it was a surprising place!

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