Rhiannan Iffland on The Moment She Dived Out Of A Moving Hot Air Balloon

Rhiannan Iffland on The Moment She Dived Out Of A Moving Hot Air Balloon

by | May 19, 2021

After a year of uncertainty, a cancelled competitive season and months separated from fellow cliff divers, only able to dive from 10metre boards, the four-time World Series champion cliff diver was determined to start 2021 by doing a dream dive she had long set her sights on.

Rhiannan Iffland chose to dive into the Hunter Region’s Lostock Dam. But it wasn’t just any typical day of diving: the athlete did it our of a moving hot air balloon.

“When I dived out of a hot air balloon there was a lot of thoughts going through my mind. I was just trying to enjoy the ride, take everything in, but there wasn’t much room for error in this dive,” she explained to Women’s Health. “I really had to be switched on and get the timing right. It was quite a short window of time where we had to do the countdown and launch from the platform. That was the only thing really on my mind, (was) getting that right and then again focusing on the take off and what I had to do. The task at hand.”

The experience, came just as Red Bull announced that the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series will return in 2021 (where 24 of the world’s best cliff divers, including Rhiannan, will leap from breathtaking heights of up to 27metres and at speeds in excess of 85km/h).

“It was a fantastic experience; it was like nothing I have ever done before. It was so different to what I’m used to doing..mainly because the balloon was moving,” she added. “I would say that was the biggest challenge, to adapt to that and alter the take off accordingly. It was such a magical experience. The location was amazing. The way that the team at Red Bull and myself worked together, was just fantastic. It was such a great project and one of my favourites yet!”


Red Bull Australia

You can tell that Iffland has a true passion for the sport and everything that comes with it. And it makes sense: she started diving at only 9 years old with 1metre, 3metre and 10metre, and found the world of high diving after landing a job as an aquatic acrobat on a cruise ship.

“As a conventional diver, I competed State, National and International level until I was around 19, when I became a little bit burnt out from going to the aquatic centre every day,” she told Women’s Health. “So, I was looking for a new challenge and that landed me a job working in a show, as an aquatic acrobat on a cruise ship, which is where I found high diving. And from there I made the transition, I trained under the new skills, to go higher and higher for around a year or two and then I started my cliff diving journey!”

You can inly try to imagine the moment of fear standing so high on the edge of a cliff, waiting to make the perfect leap, but as Iffland explains, overcoming that fear is like nothing she’d ever felt before. “…my favourite part of the sport, is the fact that there is so much emotion, so much fear, so much adrenaline involved in the sport and overcoming those fears on a regular basis, is, I think, what keeps drawing me back for more.”


Red Bull Australia

“I try and do a lot of the actual thinking before I step up to the cliff face or platform, just because I don’t want to have my mind flooded with too many thoughts. So, I’m usually just visualising the dive and making sure I’m visualising a successful dive. But once my toes are planted on the edge, looking over, it’s just focusing on that initial take off part of the dive. Focusing on how many rotations I’m supposed to do, how many twists I’m supposed to do and getting the technique of the take off right. The dive should come together after that.”

So what does she have to other young women who have hopes of entering the sport?

“Definitely – GO FOR IT! Secondly, my biggest piece of advice would also be to focus on the basics and focus on the fundamentals, and get those right, because that’s going to help you massively along the way. I also encourage young women to just have fun with it. I always say that a lot of my success is coming from the amount of enjoyment that I get out of doing the sport. So I always tell them to have fun with it!”

By Nikolina Ilic

Nikolina is the web-obsessed Digital Editor at Men's and Women's Health, responsible for all things social media and .com. A lover of boxing, she spends most of the time in the gym or with her husband and daughter. She was previously a Digital Editor at GQ and Vogue magazine.

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