Urban cliff divers make a splash in Boston Harbor

Sat Aug 20, 2011 10:18pm EDT
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By Lauren Keiper

BOSTON (Reuters) - Divers from across the globe leapt from a platform some 90 feet above Boston Harbor on Saturday in an extreme-diving tour that used the overhanging roof of an art museum as its most recent launching pad.

Fourteen divers competed in the urban twist to the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series.

Their diving board was the roof of the Institute of Contemporary Art, as thousands of spectators marveled at the acrobatic feat from behind a glass wall on the museum's fourth floor gallery, and from nearby grandstands and lawn seats.

Some of the best views were had by spectators cruising the waters nearby in leisure boats, or lounging in kayaks mere feet from the divers' entry point.

It took just three seconds from take-off to entry, with a host of tucks, twists and somersaults on the way down, before divers pierced the water at speeds of 60 miles per hour, with an audible smack.

"You can't help but get nervous for them as you're watching," said Kristie Faletra, 37, who was at the event with her two young sons.

The divers, too, fought nerves before launching from the platform eight stories high, toward the water that was 23 feet deep. They entered the water feet first, to guard against the force of impact of falling from so high, and gave the thumbs-up to a safety team when they surfaced.

"When you're up on top of the platform, it's important to trust your body," said U.S. competitor Steven LoBue, who added that he is "absolutely terrified" right before diving.   Continued...

<p>Jorge Ferzuli of Mexico dives in the second round of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series 2011 competition in Boston, Massachusetts August 20, 2011. REUTERS/Brian Snyder</p>