‘Flying Without Having to Think’: Red Bull Cliff Diving Returns in August

The ICA will become the launching pad for divers trying to win the 2013 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Championship.

Photo via Red Bull

Photo via Red Bull

People often wonder if David Colturi is hesitant before making the plunge into the Boston harbor for the annual Red Bull Cliff Diving competition hosted on the roof of the ICA building.

But having traveled the world, and been subjected to a lot more questionable swimming experiences in his career, the extreme athlete isn’t fazed by the city’s water. “It’s definitely an interesting contrast coming from dives in crystal blue Mediterranean oceans, and then coming to Boston Harbor,” said Colturi. “But I did a dive in China in a big industrial space where the water was basically radioactive green, so it could be worse.  Thankfully we are not in the water for very long.”

Besides, he said, having the attendees of the cliff-diving event cheer him on, in a city where the view of the skyline is “just sweet,” makes it all worth it. “So many people come out to the event. It’s great,” he said.

Fairly new to the Red Bull entourage, Colturi, a Michigan native, has been traveling with the team for the last several months, hitting spots in Spain, and all around Europe, but has returned to the states, and soon will head to the East Coast, to leap with his fellow divers from the top of the art institute along the harbor on Sunday, August 25.

Colturi will show off his twists and turns as he descends into the depths of the water along Fan Pier with 14 other world-class divers, all trying to grab the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series title.

The Red Bull Cliff Diving competition is in its fifth season. Unlike the last two years in Boston, this year’s event will be ticketed due to space restrictions, and attendance will be on a first come, first served basis through pre-registration online.

Likely to tap into his favorite move, the reverse double with four twists, Colturi will try to outdo his previous showcase during last year’s diving event, when he took home third place in the world series.

A graduate of Purdue University, and lab technician and diving instructor in Michigan when he’s not on the road, risking his life to entertain the general public, Colturi wants to make his Red Bull diving a fulltime career in the next year or so.

When asked by people why he wants to spend his days standing on various ledges eight-stories up, often dipping into murky water below at speeds of up to 30 miles-per-hour, Colturi will merely tell them that it’s a mixture of adrenaline and pure passion that keeps him climbing back to the top of a platform to both perform, and compete for titles. “The feeling of going through the air is so hard to describe. It’s like flying without having to think. When you are performing multiple twists and rotations it feels incredible. The joy and rush afterward is just absolutely awesome,” he said.

The jaw-dropping performance takes both courage, and concentration, in order to execute a perfect dive, Colturi said. But having been a diver since the age of 5, increasing the level of difficulty for each jump since such a young age, the 24-year-old has been able to focus his skills enough to lead to a perfect plunge. “Once you step out of the platform you are so nervous and so much adrenaline is pumping through your veins. But once you step on the edge it’s about completely erasing your mind and being able to focus on a few simple things. If you over think it, it’s the worst thing you can do—once your feet leave the platform I don’t think many divers think about anything, though,” he said. “I absolutely love the feeling of jumping off and flying through the air and losing any notion of what’s happening at that point. To this day it’s still the greatest thing on earth for me.”