CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Living the high life DIVING AND LIVING IN THE SEA

 

 

Living the high life! Magnificent images of death-defying cliff divers tumbling into Thailand's clear seas for world championship final

  • 14 cliff divers gathered in Phi Phi Island, southern Thailand, for the sixth annual Red Bull world champion series
  • The sport originated in Hawaii in the 1700s when King Kahekili challenged his men to prove their loyalty as an initiation
  • Now a global phenomenon, the championship sees athletes compete all over the world - from Wales to Brazil
  • Artem Silchenko, of Russia took the title on the final day but Britain's former Olympic hopeful Gary Hunt won overall

It looks like the definition of paradise, high in the sky, surrounded by luscious green branches, with the sun glowing softly and nothing but clear blue water down beneath.

But clad in nothing but a pair of Speedos, faced with a 27-metre tumble from a crumbling cliff, many would think twice about that.

Paradise: Phi Phi Island in southern Thailand has hosted the final round of the sixth annual cliff diving championship series

Paradise: Phi Phi Island in southern Thailand has hosted the final round of the sixth annual cliff diving championship, where the men have just three seconds to perform

Eagerly bounding to the cliff-edge on Phi Phi Island in Thailand, 14 divers flung themselves, twisting and turning at break neck speed towards life-threatening rocks.

Their one shared objective: make it look good.

Gathered for the sixth round of the sixth annual Red Bull cliff diving championship series today, they have all spent months preparing their moves.

 

Alain Kohl of Luxembourg Artem Silchenko of Russia

Death-defying: Alain Kohl (left) of Luxembourg diving off the Viking Caves on the island. Artem Silchenko (right) is mid-twist as he falls towards the Andaman Sea

There is no hard-and-fast rule for the game - just the mantra, 'power and balance'.But with just three seconds between leaving the podium and hitting the Andaman Sea, they don't have long to show off their best. This year the series has taken the competitors all over the world. Incredible acrobatic slills at the Red Bull cliff diving event

Warriors: The sport was created as a challenge for Hawaiian warriors to demonstrate their loyalty to King Kahekili

Warriors: The sport was created as a challenge for Hawaiian warriors to demonstrate their loyalty to King Kahekili. Here Michal Navratil of the Czech Republic faces the clear water

Frightening: David Colturi of the USA dives from the 27-metre platform

Frightening: David Colturi of the USA dives from the 27-metre platform. There seem to be no qualms about the surrounding boats as the men tumble in nothing but Speedos

The season started in France's La Rochelle, followed by Copenhagen, and then Azores in Portugal.

From there they went on to Italy, Boston, Pembrokeshire, before reaching the southern coast of Thailand for the final.

Unfortunately, the penultimate stop scheduled for Brazil earlier this month had to be cancelled due to bad weather.

Russia's Artem Silchenko won the day's competition - but it wasn't enough to take the overall title from Britain's Gary Hunt, who has held the top spot since 2010.

 

The stand Beautiful beach

Climb: The men face an 88-foot climb up wooden ladders balanced precariously on the cliff-side (left) before flinging themselves off a wooden podium (right)

 

Jonathan Paredes of Mexico Alain Kohl of Luxembourg

 

 

Power and balance: Jonathan Paredes of Mexico (left) and Alain Kohl of Luxembourg (right) strike strong poses as the attempt to stay streamlined on their descent

 

Michal Navratil of the Czech Republic Steven LoBue of the USA

Turn: Michal Navratil of the Czech Republic (left) and Steven LoBue of the USA (right) battle it out for the title with mind-blogging contortions

Worldwide: Before Thailand, the group competed in the beauty spots of France, Italy, Wales, Brazil

Worldwide: Before Thailand, the group competed in the beauty spots of France, Italy, Wales, Brazil, Copenhagen, Portugal, and Boston

Winning leap: Artem Silchenko of Russia prepares to launch an armstand dive from the 27-metre platform in the Andaman Sea

Winning leap: Artem Silchenko of Russia prepares to launch an armstand dive from the 27-metre platform in the Andaman Sea during the last competition day of the eighth and final stop of the 2013 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series

Third place overall: Orlando Duque of Colombia takes the plunge.

Third place overall: Orlando Duque of Colombia takes the plunge. The main rule that divers must adhere to is 'power and balance' as they fall towards the water below

Going into today's final, former Olympic hopeful Hunt, 29, who has won a number of medals at the Great Britain National Diving championships, was already the tournament leader.

Silchenko stood in second place and 10-time world champion Orlando Duque, from Colombia, was in third.

Mexico's Jonathan Paredes holds fifth, ahead of David Colturi, from the US.

Professional rivals: The two potential series winners, Artem Silchenko (left) of Russia and Gary Hunt (right)

Professional rivals: The two potential series winners, Artem Silchenko (left) of Russia and Gary Hunt (right) of the UK pose for a portrait on the beach before competing

The final moments: Silchenko's land.

The final moments: Silchenko's land. The land is the most crucial part of the fall - to maintain the style they have worked tirelessly to hone, and to ensure they don't injure themselves

Relax: Finally Artem Silchenko of Russia can celebrate after his final dive during the last competition day

Relax: Finally Artem Silchenko of Russia can celebrate after his final dive during the last competition day of this year's season. He could not take the top spot but won the day's contest

Champion: Silchenko stands on the podium as the other divers spray him with champagne and fans wave flags, lauding his success

Champion: Silchenko stands on the podium as the other divers spray him with champagne and fans wave flags, lauding his success

Best seats: Crowds crammed onto boats to get the best view of divers

Best seats: Crowds crammed onto boats to get the best view of divers - such as winner Silchenko (pictured centre) - performing their finale

Proud: Local media in Thailand described the event - the first one to be hosted by Krabi - as a very proud moment

Proud: Local media in Thailand described the event - the first one to be hosted by Krabi - as a very proud moment for the nation. Crowds gathered to hail Silchenko, the winner

Runners up: Steven LoBue (right) of the US took second place for the day and third place went to Orlando Duque (left) of Colombia

Runners up: Steven LoBue (right) of the US took second place for the day and third place went to Orlando Duque (left) of Colombia

The sport started in the late 1700s as an initiation for Hawaiian warriors - as ordered by King Kahekili, who was obsessed by cliff diving.

He challenged his people to prove their loyalty by throwing themselves hundreds of feet into rocky water.

It is from that moment in time that the sport earned its mantra: 'mana and pona' - 'power and balance' in Hawaiian.

Now a global phenomenon, local Thai media has described the event - the first time it has been hosted by Krabi - as a very special moment for the nation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     

These dramatic photographs have captured ice-cold waves crashing against rocks off the coast of Italy.

Stunning: The images were taken by Italian photographer Giovanni Allievi, 44, on a trip to Savona in Italy

Stunning: The images were taken by Italian photographer Giovanni Allievi, 44, on a trip to Savona in Italy

'Where I live the sea is a peaceful presence, but in certain seasons it can show its power,' said  Mr Allievi.

'To me, humans seem like dwarfs in comparison to the power of nature. 'During sea storms it is possible to see this spectacular phenomenon where the waves can take up amazing shapes.

'There is a place a few kilometres from where I live in which the sea bed rises abruptly and ends with a vertical cliff, it is an amazing sight to witness.'

The pictures show the waves precisely at their breaking point displaying what appears to be a crystal-like blanket of water

The pictures show the waves precisely at their breaking point displaying what appears to be a crystal-like blanket of water

High tide: These incredible shots show waves precisely at their breaking point, displaying what appears to be a crystal-like blanket of water

High tide: These incredible shots show waves precisely at their breaking point, displaying what appears to be a crystal-like blanket of water

Mr Allievi, from Varigotti, in Italy, says he sets off early in the morning to capture the waves in all their glory.

With the sun rising in the background behind the waves, he captured the stunning aqua colours as the water breaks.

Mr Allievi said: 'It takes a long time to capture these photographs.

Taken near Mr Allievi's home in Varigotti, Italy, he sets off early in the morning to capture the waves in all their glory

Taken near Mr Allievi's home in Varigotti, Italy, he sets off early in the morning to capture the waves in all their glory

There is a place a few kilometres from where Mr Allievi lives where the sea bed rises abruptly and ends with a vertical cliff

There is a place a few kilometres from where Mr Allievi lives where the sea bed rises abruptly and ends with a vertical cliff

With the sun rising in the background behind the waves, he captured the stunning aqua colours as the water breaks

With the sun rising in the background behind the waves, he captured the stunning aqua colours as the water breaks

'I guess you could say the perfect shot can take a lifetime, but you must possess patience and perseverance for the most part.

'Generally, people tend to be lazy and don't wake up to see the early morning waves when they're at their best.

'Because of this, I find people are fascinated by my photographs, seeing them as something very exotic.

'Some have even thought they were paintings.

'One of my favourite quotes is from French novelist Marcel Proust, where he said "the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.'

 

Could we all soon be sleeping with the fishes? Designer creates incredible futuristic city where people live beneath the waves

  • London-based Phil Pauley designed the Sub-Biosphere 2, which could become home for up to 100 people
  • People living in the structure would not have to rely on the outside world for air, food and other essentials
  • Designer hopes to see the futuristic home built in his lifetime, and has written a book about an underwater world

Fancy living in a city under the sea? A designer who is passionate about the concept of living underwater has created his own dream community, and hopes that his big idea will one day become a reality.

Phil Pauley says that he has dreamed about building an underwater city for the past 20 years, and has now released images of what the futuristic development might look like.

Sub-Biosphere 2 comes compete with eight 'bio-dome' structures, and is 1,105ft wide. 

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The Sub-Biosphere 2 would not look out of place in a science fiction film. But designer Phil Pauley hopes that it will one day become a reality

The Sub-Biosphere 2 would not look out of place in a science fiction film. But designer Phil Pauley hopes that it will one day become a reality

Conceptual designer Mr Pauley, who describes himself as a futurist, says the structure will consist of a central support biosphere, an observation pod, and dwelling pods which will house up to 100 people.

Each of the dwelling pods will house individual eco systems, and there will be no need to rely on air and food from the outside world. Mr Pauley, who is the founder of a London-based visual communications consultancy, said: 'Building an underwater city is all I have thought about for the last 20 years.

Mr Pauley says the structure would be a self sustainable underwater habitat

Mr Pauley says the structure would be a self sustainable underwater habitat

Under the sea: Sub-Biosphere 2 is designed for aquanauts, tourism and oceanographic life sciences and long term human, plant and animal habitation

Under the sea: Sub-Biosphere 2 is designed for aquanauts, tourism and oceanographic life sciences and long term human, plant and animal habitation

The Sub-Biosphere 2 would allow up to 100 people to live underwater, with no need for the outside world

The Sub-Biosphere 2 would allow up to 100 people to live underwater, with no need for the outside world

'I don't want to come across as fanatical, so I am waiting for the right time, when people come around to the idea for themselves.

'When that happens I will be hear with my design.'

Mr Pauley's design was inspired by plans by the University of Arizona for a a research facility of the same name - but so far developments on the project appear to have stalled.

As well as designing his dream city, Mr Pauley is also looking for a publisher for a science fiction trilogy of books for young adults, The Moral Order.

The books feature an underwater world similar to the futuristic design that Mr Pauley hopes to see built in his lifetime.

Mr Pauley hopes that the Sub-Biosphere 2 will become a reality - once more people realise its potential benefits

Mr Pauley hopes that the Sub-Biosphere 2 will become a reality - once more people realise its potential benefits

 

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