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Cliff Diving World Series to return to the ICA and Boston Harbor

Orlando Duque of Colombia dives from the 27.5 meter platform during the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in Boston on Aug, 25, 2013.Dean Treml / Red Bull Content Pool

The world’s most elite cliff divers are coming to Boston next month, and from atop the Institute of Contemporary Art they’ll plunge almost 90 feet into Boston Harbor, twisting, tumbling, and turning along the way.

On June 4, the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series will return to Boston after a nine-year hiatus. Competitors will once again dive from a platform atop the ICA’s cantilevered eight-story building. Boston is the only US stop for the 2022 season. Twelve men and 12 women from around the world will participate, and this is the first time the women’s division will compete in Boston.


Ellie Smart, 26, is on the roster as the only American with a permanent spot on the tour. Joining her will be American female wildcards Genevieve Bradley and Meili Carpenter, and male wildcards Andy Jones and David Colturi.

“I am beyond excited to start the season out in the US and in Boston,” Smart, who’s originally from Kansas City, told the Globe. “I’ve heard so many amazing stories about past events there, it almost feels like I’ve been. I’m excited to finally experience it.”

Smart was in town last week scoping out the location. “I could already feel how the energy is going to be with all of those people there,” she said.

Red Bull cliff diving showcases aerial, acrobatic dives from almost three times the Olympic high-dive height, with athletes traveling through the air at speeds of more than 50 miles per hour, hitting the water in under three seconds. After the Boston stop, the competition will travel to France, Denmark, Norway, Bosnia, Switzerland, and Italy before finishing up in Sydney on Oct. 15.

Some locations have real cliffs for divers to scale and jump from, while others, like the one in Boston, offer a more urban setting.


“I prefer the urban setting and having that more traditional platform,” Smart said. “Plus the crowd. I just think that makes the environment 10 times more fun.”

Athletes in the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, now in its 13th season, compete for the King Kahekili Trophy, named after the Hawaiian chief who first leapt from the cliffs of Kaunolu in the 1700s, according to the event website.

The June 4 event begins at 2 p.m. with doors opening at noon. Attendees must obtain a complimentary ticket through Eventbrite, which appear to be sold out. According to Smart, Red Bull will be releasing more tickets on its website on June 1.

Brittany Bowker can be reached at brittany.bowker@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @brittbowker and on Instagram @brittbowker.