William-Trubridge-new-record

William Trubridge has set a staggering new freediving record

He’s done it. William Trubridge has done it. He has become the first person ever to pass the barrier of 300 feet (92 meters) freediving completely unassisted – a discipline called “constant weight no fins.”

Can you even visualise that? 92 meters… that’s about 30 floors. Go outside, find a skyscraper and count up to 30 – then you’ll be able to visualise how deeply he dived.

For the last three years Trubridge, a 29 year old New Zealander, has dominated the discipline of Constant Weight No Fins (CNF), setting 6 world records in taking it from 80 meters to 90.  For a year he held the Free Immersion (FIM) world record, and he has been steadily progressing in Constant Weight (CWT) also, last year becoming the 5th man to enter the 110 meter club.

And now he’s done it again…

Swimming a form of adapted breaststroke he descended next to a vertical line, collecting a tag from the bottom plate as proof of depth, before returning to the surface with only his hands and feet for propulsion. And he did that in 3 minutes and 45 seconds. This is the first dive ever on one breath without fins to that depth.

This amazing record was set at 11:50am yesterday in Dean’s Blue Hole, Long Island, Bahamas.

The dive took place during the Vertical Blue Suunto Dive-Off competition which I talked about on Friday. It runs from April 17-27 and sees the best freedivers in the world compete to extend the limits in this extreme sporting discipline.  Dean’s Blue Hole is the deepest blue hole in the world, at 203 meters (660 feet).

And Trubridge’s is not the only record to be made. Herbert Nitsch has set a new one for himself of 114m (CWT) – his 29th World Record, while Ryuzo Shinomiya (Japan) reached 101m ( FIM) – a new national record for him, and  newcomer Alfredo Roma Hernandez (Mexico) performed an impressive constant weight dive to 60 meters with the monofin, another  new national record.

Vertical Blue 2010 Suunto Dive Off Freediving

In the meantime the Suunto Dive-Off competition continues and the current point system is as follows:

Suunto Dive-Off standings at Vertical Blue 2010

In each of the three disciplines, (CNF, FIM and CWT) an athlete can earn up to 100 points, depending on the ratio of their best performance compared to the best dive in the event.  This way each discipline has the same weighting, and the freediver with the best aggregate (out of a possible total of 300) wins the Suunto Dive-off and is crowned the best all-round freediver of the year.

  • CNF:  constant weight no fins – cannot use fins or a propulsion aid of any kind.
  • FIM:  free immersion – the diver uses the rope to pull themselves down and up.
  • CWT:  constant weight – and the assistance of fins or a monofin.

Vertical Blue 2010 Suunto Dive Off Freediving

10 years ago even the most imaginative freediver, let alone the couch potato, would have set the supposed human limit far shallower than the depths currently being reached.  Will the same be said ten years from now?  One indication that freediving might be due for a plateauing effect of world record depths, at least in CWT, is that the Variable Weight Record has remained mostly unchanged in the last ten years.  It is also possible that these experienced freedivers might be approaching depths where head-down equalisation difficulties, extreme narcosis and risk of decompression sickness will prove insurmountable hurdles…

And a quick clarification on the name ‘Suunto’ in case you have been wondering what it means: Suunto, Finland, is a leading designer and manufacturer of sports instruments for diving, mountaineering, training, hiking, skiing, sailing and golf, and sponsor for the Vertical Blue competition.

All photographs were taken by DeeDee Flores. If you would like to see more of her wonderful work please go directly to the Official website: http://www.verticalblue.net/news

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