World Premiere: First underground cliff dive2020|04:43
In a never-done-before feat, cliff diving's female favorite Rhiannan Iffland with her diving partner and local hero Constantin Popovici, pushed the boundaries of high diving to the next level as they leaped from the walls of the cone-shaped mining room into the underground high-salinity lake in the depths of Transylvania. 120m under the surface of the Earth and surrounded by a science fiction-like wonderland shaped by salt and humankind, the athletes' bodies were decelerated from 85km/h to zero in almost twice the usual speed due to the water's high density. From this extraordinary experience the duo is looking forward to the return of competition in the 2021 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. "We ticked a 'world's first' box today: the first ever underground dive into a salt mine. It's very dark down in the lake. The water is 17% more dense than seawater, so the impact is different. It's actually quite a unique experience to hit the water when it's that salty. It just pushes you straight up to the surface," the 29-year-old Australian explained. The water and air temperature of 12ºC was a rather trivial part as diving into high salinity water comes with a greater buoyant force and a much faster deceleration of the body during the landing phase. With an 8-times higher salinity than the Adriatic Sea – 260g/l vs. 33g/l – the divers came to a complete standstill just 2½m below the water surface, compared to the regular 5m when diving from up to 27m. This extra element imposed on the athletes' fitness came with the challenging condition of diving without any natural light.