None but the brave | Bangkok Post: lifestyle

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None but the brave

The breathtaking pinnacle cliff of Koh Hong, Krabi will serve as a platform for the championship round of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series 2013, the purest extreme sport employing the utmost skill, concentration and physical control

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Like any perfectly-toned and seasoned diver, American athlete David Colturi glibly leaps off the 10-metre platform at Hua Mak swimming pool to execute a couple of somersaults before slicing into the water with a slick barani. He jumps off the high platform as easily as if it were only one metre like any other US national champion can, but the main difference is that he enters the water feet first. To do so is to go against every natural instinct and reflex a normal diver has ever known, as well as to defy all lessons taught and what the muscles have been trained _ and want _ to do. Albeit lesser known, the ability to enter the water feet first effortlessly with such an experienced sleekness is a signifying mark that this is also a cliff diver we're looking at. 

David Colturi jumps off a platform in Malcesine, Italy.

There is always that one ultimate competition that burrows itself into every athlete's heart and for cliff divers, the stage they all hope to champion is the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. Hosted at magnificent and stunning locations around the world, competitors travel from one continent to another to execute acrobatic dives from various 27m platforms, if not the very bare cliff ridge itself. Land in any position other than a completely-vertical feet-first form and the consequences can be fatal, with divers hitting the water at 85kph. As one of the youngest athletes in the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series 2013, the 24-year-old's current fifth place ranking is an impressive feat, considering how the sport requires years of training and this is only Colturi's second season in the series.

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