The athletes competing in Saturday's Red Bull Cliff Diving got their first dives off from the 27m platform in Grimstad on Thursday.
Gary Hunt, the World Series champion, had a rare off-day during the first stop in Corsica two weeks ago, but stepped up to the platform for training in Norway and hit his first dive, the triple quad, and his second, a quad one and a half, with real aplomb.
Title challenger Artem Silchenko did not enjoy the first stop either having gone over on a new dive, but the Russian performed his back armstand with two and a half somersaults and two and a half twists with a blind entry almost perfectly during the first day of training.
With warm sushine and a light breeze, the favourable conditions on Thursday were tempered only slightly by the cold water and the occasional jellyfish!
"The water’s pretty cold but otherwise the conditions are great," said American Kent De Mond. "It’s been a very intense couple of weeks for us so for me I just wanted to get my simpler dives off today and tomorrow I’ll do my harder dives. Visually, though, the more frequently you compete, the less scared you get when you stand on the end of the platform. The jellyfish that are here sting a little but I think they’re the least of your worries as a cliff diver!"
'Jellyfish are the least of your worries as a cliff diver!'
With the high level of competition having already led to injury, this year's Series already looks like being the biggest physical test yet of the World Series divers. Mexican Jorge Ferzuli has not travelled to Norway after falling to recover from the leg injury he sustained in Corsica, while Blake Aldridge is still nursing an abductor muscle injury also suffered during the first competition.
"It’s a tough decision to make whether I’ll dive or not here because that’s what I love to do," he said on Thursday. "I’m going to practice from 20m, see how the leg is and whether I can push up to the full 27.3m. I’m trying to think with my head rather than my heart at the moment – but it’s tough seeing everybody else diving and me not being able to.
"When you put all that effort into practice and in one dive it can all go wrong that’s what makes this sport so exciting and so difficult."
Orlando Duque, the nine-time world champion and winner of the first World Series stop for 2012, is enjoying the return to Norway and is looking forward to Saturday's competition, with a big crowd expected.
"I like the outdoor culture that they have here in Grimstad. As soon as the weather is nice they are out on their boats, climbing or swimming. Hopefully they come out on Saturday to check out the event because the last time we were here [in Kragero, in 2010] it was unbelievable with so many boats."