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Flying high against the Abu Dhabi skyline

Participating in the High Diving World Cup requires plenty of courage, strength and body control. The competition – now in its third year – featured athletes diving from heights of 20 and 27m. Following the World Championship in Barcelona and the World Cup in Kazan, NUSSLI undertook construction of the diving platform for this daredevil water sport in the Bay of Abu Dhabi.

For some, merely watching may cause dizziness — for others, it’s just a part of their daily routine. Over the course of fourteen days, NUSSLI technicians hung suspended by safety ropes in the air and assembled the platform element by element, moving ever upward, until the structure had reached its final height of 27m. Construction of the diving platform in the “Corniche” Bay of Abu Dhabi not only required workers not suffering from any altitude issues, but also underwater specialists. The foundation for the diving platform was installed at a depth of 8m before the assemblers could take over at the surface and continue the upward construction.

NUSSLI was responsible for the planning and construction of the diving platforms for the High Diving World Championship in Barcelona in 2013, as well as the first High Diving World Cup in Kazan in 2015. This year’s location of the platform in 8m-deep water in Abu Dhabi was both new and more challenging in comparison to the previous two events. Placing the diving platform in the Bay and having the structure itself stand in water was, naturally, the result of careful decision making and was worth the extra effort. The platform’s location in water made the sporting event even more attractive to fans watching in person and at home on television. Afterall, the athletes were diving and twisting against Abu Dhabi’s fascinating skyline.

Planning the Diving Platform

The sport of high diving developed out of the ever-increasing popularity of natural cliff diving. Following profound public interest in the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, the swimming federation FINA created the official discipline of High Diving and organised the first World Cup two years ago in Kazan.

NUSSLI was involved right from the start, supporting the officials in the planning of the diving platform. The platforms in Barcelona and Kazan were constructed with particular attention being paid to wind conditions. In Abu Dhabi, the platform required additional special considerations for the unilaterally mounted LED wall and stabilising the structure in water. The experience gained from previous high diving projects enabled the NUSSLI engineers to plan and install the structure in Abu Dhabi in the water at a depth of 8m.

Abu Dhabi — The Ideal Host City

The first High Diving World Cup in Kazan featured 20 athletes. This year’s event in Abu Dhabi showcased the daring dives of more than twice as many competitors. Plenty of courage and body control are needed to take a plunge from a height of 27m. The free fall from the 27m-high diving platform lasts more than two seconds. The athletes dive into the water at a speed of 85kmph. Everything must be working perfectly upon impact into the water. Given the high risk of injury jumping from this height, the athletes structure their dives so that their feet enter the water first.

This high risk sport is a guaranteed thrill magnet for spectators. For Abu Dhabi, hosting this adventurous water sporting event is a good opportunity for the city to showcase itself. Not only does the city feature an excellent infrastructure, but also the perfect climate.

The 25m Short Course Swimming World Championship will also be held in Abu Dhabi in 2020.

2016 High Diving World Cup. Images courtesy: NUSSLI

2016 High Diving World Cup. Images courtesy: NUSSLI