Brave Humans to Jump off the ICA Boston Roof Again

Red Bull's cliff diving competition returns to the Seaport for the contest's only North American stop of 2023.

Red Bull’s 2022 ICA Boston visit. Note the seated couple who barely seem to notice the human outside, falling from the sky. / Photo by Romina Amato via Red Bull

If you’ve ever been to the Institute of Contemporary Art, you know the museum view looking out onto the waterfront is pretty elite. But have you ever watched someone plunge from the building’s rooftop into the ocean? You’ll soon have the chance.  

On Saturday, June 3, Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series returns to the Seaport for the contest’s only North American stop in 2023. It’s the first of seven dates in the competition’s 14th season and the second year in a row Boston has played host. 

Last year at the ICA, over 25,000 spectators came out for the free event, but advance tickets were required to gain entry into the viewing area and those disappeared quickly. This year, you don’t need tickets, but space is limited, so spectators are encouraged to arrive by 10am, when gates open, to secure a prime outdoor spot. While the action will also air live on ESPN+ and be rebroadcast the following day on ESPN, this pretty remarkable sight is worth seeing in person, especially considering what these divers can achieve in three seconds of free fall—and the Seaport skyline backdrop is just a bonus.

Kicking off in Boston, the 2023 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series wraps in November in Auckland, New Zealand. By the series’ end, the tour will have crossed four continents, with divers jumping from iconic buildings, gorges, cliff faces, and historic bridges in locations like France, Italy, and Japan. Among this year’s roster of 16 divers who’ll compete at every stop—eight men and eight women, with an additional four and four wildcard athletes in every city—three will represent the United States: Notre Dame grad James Lichtenstein, Colorado-born Meili Carpenter, and Eleanor Smart, who took 2nd place overall in 2022’s World Series.

Orlando Duque of Colombia dives from the 27.5 metre platform during the 2013 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in Boston. / Photo by Dean Treml via Red Bull

The first time Red Bull staged cliff diving off the ICA roof was in 2011, when thousands gathered on both land and boats to get a view of divers twisting, tucking, turning and somersaulting into the harbor waters at 53 mph. But the energy-drink brand hasn’t just brought a diving competition to Boston. You may remember one of their more chaotic events, the Flugtag competition from 2016 where competitors launched themselves, and their not-so-aerodynamic creations, into the Charles. That was a different kind of spectacle—less grace and fewer Speedos. 

According to organizers, here’re the schedule of events for June 3, 2020 (subject to change):

10am ET: Gates open to public and media
10:45am ET: Warmup dives
12:00pm ET: Competition starts
1:00pm ET:
Men’s Finals
1:40pm ET:
Women’s Finals
2:15pm ET:
Awards ceremony

Photo of an athletic man doing a headstand on the end of a diving board that's set up against the Boston Harbor shoreline.

Alessandro De Rose of Italy prepares to dive at the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in Boston, on June 4, 2022. / Photo by Romina Amato

Antonina Vyshyvanova of the Ukraine dives from the 21 metre platform during the first competition day of the first stop of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in Boston, USA on June 3 2022. // Photo by Romina Amato via Red Bull Content Pool