The athletes were in the state as part of a surprise project
The professional divers: the Mexican Jonathan Paredes and the Colombian Orlando Duque are seduced by the magical cenotes of Yucatán, scenarios that are different from a swimming pool or another world platform. They feel a spiritual connection with the Mayan culture and with nature. A mystical experience never before lived.
The Red Bull Cliff Diving competitors visited for a week, 11 cenotes and communities in the state, such as the Selva Maya farm, Chukum, Homún, Ek Balam, Valladolid, where they performed several dives and acrobatics in these water holes; They also lived with the inhabitants, tasted the local cuisine, fell in love with the panuchos, the cochinita pibil and observed the landscapes of the Mayan jungle.
The athletes were in Yucatán as part of a project they carry out with the Red Bull brand, of which they did not reveal details, because they want it to be a surprise, but they assured that it will put the destination in the eyes of the world and that they would soon make it known.
This December 4, as part of their last point, they dived in the X’Canché cenote, in the archaeological zone of Ek Balam, they also toured the place by bicycle, accompanied by Michelle Fridman Hirsch, secretary of Tourism Development of Yucatán.
Both competitors take their time to find the best place to perform the jumps. After a few minutes, they find the exact point, do some tests, and then perform different stunts in the air. Their reward: the water from the cenote.
Orlando Duque commented that for several years he wanted to make this trip to the state, to be able to dive in the crystalline waters of the cenotes of the state, and the experience has exceeded his expectations, in addition, he has fond memories of the state since in Mérida he had his first diving competitions in 1991. “We are enjoying and at the same time reliving those good memories,” he said.
The idea of the project, he advanced, is to show the attractions of the region, where there is so much beauty, spectacular natural settings that converge with archaeological sites, coexist with the people of the communities, together with the dives they do in the cenotes.
For the athlete, diving in a cenote is special, there is a different connection that is not experienced in a pool. Before starting with the first jumps, he commented, they did a Mayan ceremony where they asked the Mayan ancestors and gods for permission. “That connects you much more with the reality of where you are standing and what you are doing, competitions are other things, we are seeing who is the best, where we all want to be the winner,” he said.
Here we are connected with the site, with nature, with the mystical part, with the Mayan culture, which makes it more special, he added. In addition, he shared that each cenote is special, because some are very open, which offer a lot of flexibility to jump from various sides, but others are very closed, and you have to measure millimeter. “We managed to experience everything that cenotes offer us,” he said.
For his part, Jonathan commented that the purpose of the project is also to tell the history of the state, its gastronomy, its culture, through diving. Some of the cenotes were 17 meters high, and others were lower. But in general, it was very difficult, he admitted, especially when thinking about how we were going to do it, if there was room to enter with the whole body. “It was quite complicated, but at the same time fun and it was something we wanted to do for a long time,” he said.
Fridman Hirsch indicated that these types of initiatives are ideal to further promote the state and what better way to do it than through world athletes and an internationally recognized brand like Red Bull.
The official also took the opportunity to remember that archaeological sites such as Ek Balam are open to tourists, where they can perform various ecotourism activities such as rappelling, zip-lining, zip-line tours, swimming in the cenote, a camping area, among other things.
Jonathan Predes: a Mexican diver who won the bronze medal at the 2013 Barcelona World Swimming Championships and the 2015 Kazan silver medal. In 2019 he was second in the Red Bull Cliff Diving world series; 2017 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series Champion; 2016, second place in the FINA High Diving World Cup; 2015, winner of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series Mostar event.
Orlando Duque, Colombian diver. The first world champion of high jump (from platform to 27 m), holds two Guinness records, has won eleven world titles which are distributed in six times world cup champion, three times WHDF World Champions, once FINA World Championships in Barcelona 2013 and has been proclaimed Red Bull Cliff Diving champion on one occasion.
Red Bull Cliff Diving is an annual international circuit of high jump competitions in which a limited number of participants or divers jump from a platform at a height ranging from 21 to 27 meters. The essence of Cliff Diving can be summed up as a high-altitude freefall combined with incredible stunts.