Local diver takes flight from castle in Cuba

 <span class="cutline_leadin">A sight to see:</span> Steven Lobue finished in fifth place in the 27-meter platform dive at Morro Castle in Havana during the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series on May 10.
A sight to see: Steven Lobue finished in fifth place in the 27-meter platform dive at Morro Castle in Havana during the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series on May 10.
Courtesy photo/Red Bull

Special to the Miami Herald

Fort Lauderdale resident Steve Lobue is one of of 14 divers competing to make the championships of the Red Bull Diving Series.

His journeys have taken him around the world and now he has returned home from diving off El Morro Castle in Havana.

“Oh man, it was El Morro Castle and just to be able to be at such a historic place and let alone diving off it in front of thousands of people, it was incredible,” Lobue said.

“You are looking at this beautiful tip going off into the Atlantic Ocean. It was almost the highest structure in the sky and jumping off of it was pretty surreal.”

Lobue didn’t win the 27-meter dive competition on May 10, but did finish in the top five after a tough fight between the top six divers in the 2014 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series kick-off in Cuba. The event was won by Blake Aldridge of Great Britain.

“Just the idea of being able to hang out in Havana, and to be able to do what we do love. It was really awesome, and the people were really amazing. I got fifth place. I wish I could have done better, but it was a good opener,” Lobue said.

“Cuba was really interesting, it was awesome. the beaches and the waters are beautiful. You look at the place and is like going through a time warp: you could imagine it being the ’50s and ’60s. The people were so excited about the [event] and a supportive it eased everything out for us. We even swung by some local pools and got to spend some time with up-and-coming divers [in Cuba].”

Aldridge finished the competition with 447.40 points. Mexican diver Jonathan Paredes (444.75) took second place ahead of the three-time champion Gary Hunt of Great Britain (427.70). Orlando Duque of Columbia (423.30) placed fourth, one spot ahead of Lobue (420.25).

Now Lobue is back in Fort Lauderdale and preparing for the next part of the series at Possum Kingdom Lake in Texas on June 7.

The lake is defined by two towering cliffs called “Hell’s Gate” — the entrance to a small cove where divers will take flight. The competition at Possum Kingdom Lake will be the first non-urban cliff diving location in North America.

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