PICTURES: Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series at the Blue Lagoon, Abereiddy
2:10pm Tuesday 11th September 2012 in News
ALL eyes were on Abereiddy at the weekend as the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series made a splash in the UK for the first time.
The event captivated the public, with more than 1,400 people attending on Friday morning before a sell-out 1,500 crowd watched the final rounds on Saturday.
Many others, who were unable to get tickets, watched from the water after hiring kayaks or travelling to the venue by boat.
The series consists of seven meetings at various locations around the world, with the divers already having competed this year at venues in France, Norway, Portugal, Ireland and America. They finish the series later this month in Oman.
On both days, the action kicked off with a breathtaking exhibition of aerobatics by the Red Bull ‘Matadors.’ The aeroplanes ran side by side as the pilots went through a host of moves to entertain the crowd.
The action and scoring system was explained to the crowds by hosts James Thomas and Welshman Bob Morgan, a former professional diver.
The event was won by American Steven Lobue, but all divers were in unison afterwards as they praised the stunning scenery of the venue.
Speaking to Telegraph Sport on Friday, Blake Aldridge, who competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics alongside Tom Daley, said: “Being British I don’t want to sound biased, but this is the best location I’ve ever competed at.
“Prior to this week, I didn’t even know this place existed, but the views are exquisite. Pembrokeshire is blessed to have a place like this.”
Among the judges was Greg Louganis, a four-time Olympic diving champion, and he added: “Red Bull does an incredible job in finding places to host this series.
“When you have a fantastic area like this to hold an event in, and an appreciative crowd like we’ve had this weekend, it can only add to the atmosphere.”
Spectators were able to bask in glorious sunshine, and Cllr Rob Lewis, deputy leader of Pembrokeshire County Council , said: “The weather has been kind to us and the crowds were great.
“I think everyone involved has been impressed with the venue and events like this can only help put Pembrokeshire in the spotlight in a positive way.”
He added he was “very hopeful” the series would return to Abereiddy next year.
On Saturday night, all divers and organisers attended a post-event party in The Bishops, St Davids, and owner Matthew Blakiston said the weekend had been “tremendous” for the local area.
“It has been exciting for people and good for the community as a whole.
“It was a pleasure to be involved and it would be great to have it here again next year.”