Over ten days, two world records and 65 national records were broken in the course of 252 individual dives at Dean’s Blue Hole in the Bahamas, an extraordinary natural wonder just metres from the beach . What an achievement by the world’s top freedivers. And as for the petite Tomoka Fukuda…. well! Is she the face of the future for this sport? She’s only been competing for one year, but she managed to achieve a new Japanese national record of 65m in Free Immersion (ascending and pulling on a rope) as well as an 80m dive in CWT ! “I decided one year ago I would dive 80 meters at this competition, and today I did just that – it feels so good!” she said after the dive.
The view from below at Dean’s Blue Hole
Freediving, as you well know, is a form of underwater diving that does not involve the use of scuba gear or other external breathing devices, but rather relies on a diver’s ability to hold his or her breath until resurfacing.
On the first day of the competition on November 21, Ashley Futral Chapman (USA) broke the Constant No-Fins (CNF) women’s world record with a dive to 67m in 3’15. The North Carolina native dived without fins and used a modified breastsroke technique to achieve her third world record.
The Russian freediver Alexey Molchanov raised the bar to a new level with a world record dive to 126m in Constant Weight (CWT – the discipline of diving with just a monofin for assistance), in a time of 3’46 breaking William Trubridge’s record. Born in 1987, Molchanov is a Russian champion freediver and 5 times runner-up world champion.
Alexey Molchanov’s record breaking 126m dive
Trubridge was determined to recapture the record making his first attempt just minutes after Mochanov, but sadly due to a technical mistake he turned back too early. 2 days later he was back for another attempt, but it was not to be … However, by diving to 121 m, still an amazing achievement, he succeeded in getting a new national record for New Zealand.
Magnanimous in defeat he said: “Alexey, Ashley and many other athletes all gave outstanding performances. I’m a bit disappointed with my own performances but given the enormity of Suunto Vertical Blue I can’t be too disgruntled. The results speak for themselves. We had the most performances of any depth competition ever and I have had more athletes tell me that this was the best comp they’ve ever attended!”
“I will take a break at Christmas,” he added, “and get back into training in January.” Alexey watch out! His eyes are on your record dive!!
Other national records fell to France, Britain, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, the Czech Republic, Spain, Mexico, Israel, Tunisia, Finland and Venezuela with each freediver accruing points for each dive during the competition. When all points were added up, Trubridge was still top of the overall rankings.
The top rankings are as follows:
- Gold: Alena Zabloudilova (Czech Republic)
- Silver: Ashley Futral Chapman (USA)
- Bronze: Tomoka Fukuda (Japan)
- Gold: William Trubridge (NZ)
- Silver: Alexey Molchanov (Rus)
- Bronze: Robert King (USA)
Dean’s Blue Hole, the deepest hole in the world at 203m (666 ft), is attracting its own underwater spectators. This +/- 20kg (45lb) Cubera Snapper came in to check out the entertainment for himself: