Welcome to Mostar, Bosnia & and Herzegovina.
The Stari Most Bridge is the spiritual home of cliff diving and at the recent Red Bull 2021 Cliff Diving World Series, Budgy Smuggler had an absolute belter with our lead divers taking out both the Men's and Women's events.
Our Chief Smuggler, Adam Linforth, caught up with series leader Gary Hunt to look at what makes the 8x World Series Champion tick.
AL: One of your recent comps was in Mostar. What do you like the best about this location?
GH: I love the welcome we get here. Diving is a part of the culture here and you can't walk down the street without someone recognising you and saying hello. It's like no other place in the world. They like jumping off bridges and so do we!
We understand you have your own spicy chilli Smuggling design under development. Is there any reason for this?
I just wanted a red swimsuit and I was thinking of what I could come up with that was a nice, hot, red colour and what better than Red Hot Chilli Peppers?!
I mentioned to Rhi (Rhiannon Iffland) about my street cred as a youth jumping off a local rock from about 8m height in Manly, Australia. If I wanted to take my game to say 15-20m... where are a couple of locations I should book a holiday to develop my diving?
The place we are going for the final of the Redbull Cliff Diving World Series is a great spot for cliff diving. There's a lot of places that aren't always easy to find, you have to take a lot of back streets to get up higher than 10m but there's a lot of places there (Polignano a Mare, Italy).
This year I also discovered the island of Ibiza. I'd obviously heard a lot about it but it's amazing how many places there are to dive. They even have companies who take you out and show you the ropes.
Gary, I've seen you mucking around with circus tricks with other diving athletes and you seem to be ridiculously good at any random skill involving balance and coordination. Is it play things like this that have helped you become a World Champion and 8x Red Bull series champion?
Ever since I was a kid, I loved learning new things, so Juggling was one of those things, learning how to do a Rubik's Cube, Puzzles and things like that. I got a real sense of achievement learning new skills. Taking diving to such a high level, when you learn and master a skill, you know how to learn any skill. Basically, you can transfer what you've learnt to other sports or skills. Once you know how to break up your training and how hard to work, you get the basics solid before moving to the next step. That all transfers over to whatever you want to learn.
Stay tuned for pt 2 to meet another one of our world champs!