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Bonita Norris – Cliff Diving World Series

Bonita Norris – Mountaineering, Cliff Diving and Becoming A Geography Teacher.

Bonita Norris’ aspirations have changed since the 24-year-old adventurer first dreamed of becoming a geography teacher as a child. Little did she realise that she would grow to become one of Europe’s leading mountaineers, smashing a couple of records along the way. Love Extreme Sports caught up with Bonita to ask her about her passion for mountaineering, her recent trip to the Himalayas and her experience hosting the 2012 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series.
Cliff Diving World Series 2012 - Presented by Bonita Norris - showcasing the most amazing diving action imaginable from some of the world's most iconic locations

As you would expect, Bonita Norris leads a fun life. Having just arrived home from three months spent ascending the world’s fourth highest mountain in the Himalayas, she got the call asking her to fly out to Corsica for the first stop of the hugely popular Cliff Diving World Series. She explained that the sudden change of environments was a bit of a shock to the system, but also a welcome change. One moment she was roughing it in a tent halfway up Mount Lhotse in Tibet and the next she was soaking up the rays on a sun drenched beach in a very exclusive part of Corsica.

Bonita was asked to join the Cliff Diving World Series in order to host an accompanying television series, which is currently being aired on Dave. The tour took her across the globe, visiting a diverse set of destinations, including Oman, Ireland, New York and the Azores. Despite the vastly varying climatic conditions, Bonita struggled to pick a favourite location. Even the wind swept, chilly coast of Ireland offered its own unique charm, providing a type of remoteness that’s a million miles removed from everyday living.

One particularly noteworthy location chosen by Red Bull this year was Oman. The tiny Arab sultanate has a questionable reputation internationally, but is widely perceived to be heading in a good direction by those in the know. According to Bonita, the negotiations between Red Bull and the Omani authorities were considered and careful, striking the right balance between the country’s national traditions and culture and the requirements of this major sporting event. The benefits of staging the final showdown in Oman were clear as soon as the team arrived in the country. The idyllic beauty of the desert oasis was unlike anything seen elsewhere in the competition. The final event attracted a royal spectator – the Sultan of Oman himself.

Bonita believes that cliff diving and mountaineering share a lot in common. Both sports demand immense levels of resilience and fortitude from their participants and both involve overcoming and subduing natural instincts. Essentially, cliff diving and mountaineering are both battles of will power, in which focus and courage always prove invaluable.

The compatibility of the two sports helped make Bonita the natural choice to host the Cliff Diving World Series, which is widely acknowledged as the foremost tournament dealing with the niche action sport. Her background definitely assisted her in the process of bonding with the competitors, who included three-times cliff diving world champion, Gary Hunt and former Olympian Blake Aldridge. Blake even taught Bonita how to make small cliff dives safely, a new skill that she was happy to show off in front of the cameras.

Bonita definitely connected with the cliff divers on the Red Bull tour, especially the Brit divers, who she had an obvious affinity with. The fact that the Cliff Diving World Series was running concurrent with the London 2012 Olympic Games only heightened the sense of patriotism. For Bonita, the high point of the whole experience was seeing Gary Hunt clinch his third consecutive Cliff Diving World Series championship title at the final stage of the competition in Oman.

Despite tasting the pleasures of cliff diving, Bonita was clear that she harbours no desire to take up the sport on any serious level. The young mountaineer is happy to stick to one extreme sport for now. She’s already itching to get back to the mountains. According to her blog, that’s precisely what she’ll be doing in the next few months. For Bonita, the entire process of getting to the top of a mountain is like a personal therapy session, providing a catharsis following the stress of intense preparation.

Bonita Norris hopes that she will return to the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in 2013. Her act words were that she’d “cut off her right arm” for the opportunity. The whole experience has left her wanting to experience more extreme sports and gain further insight into the psychology of extreme athletes. Spending time with the likes of Gary Hunt and Orlando Duque has left her hungry for more.
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Words: Al Cuin

Photo courtesy of Red Bull.

Tags: Bonita Norris, Cliff Diving World Series 2012, mountaineering

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