Southampton's three time cliff diving champion Gary Hunt tasted a first round exit for the first time in his illustrious Red Bull World Series career at the latest stop on the Islet of Vila Franca do Campo, in the Azores.

Hunt had previously never failed to get through the seeding round at a World Series event, until this weekend’s meeting, writes Paul Rutland.

A series weekend is divided into two stages, with eight of the 16 competitors eliminated in the first of two rounds.

Each diver scores points for their dives, and Hunt, who holds the World record for most points in a single round, had never failed to reach the final stage, until this latest stop on the Portuguese island.

Despite finishing in 11th place, Hunt, who won the World Series crown in 2010, 2011 and 2012, remains well placed to take his fourth title in five years. 

He currently sits atop the standings with 750 points, a lead of 140 points over American Steven LoBue, who won this weekend’s Portuguese stage.

The 30-year-old who has won events on four different continents during his Red Bull World Series career, will be looking to emulate his 2011 series victory and wrap up the title before the final stop in South America.

A former Commonwealth Games diver, Hunt has been around the top of the Cliff Diving game since the Red Bull World Series’ inception in 2009.

Having never finished outside the top two in the end of season standings, and being the only person to win multiple World Series crowns, Hunt will be looking to return to his best when the globetrotting cliff divers meet again, in Bilbao in September.