William Trubridge intends to smash his own record of 95 m as he trains for the ultimate freedive – 100 metres or 328 ft! The project is to be called ‘Project Hector’ as 100 m is equal to one hectometre – or, to make it easier to visualise, the height of a 30 story building.
This depth is more than three times the depth limit for recreational scuba diving and it would be considered suicidal to go this deep breathing from a normal scuba tank of air.
Dean’s Blue Hole, Long Island, Bahamas is the venue. At 203 m (660 ft) it is the deepest blue hole in the world. Ocean Geek very kindly sent me the co-ordinates for Dean’s Blue Hole so if you’re curious please just follow this link: http://bloosee.com/r/i6hhts and thanks to Fred Buyle (http://www.nektos.net) for the photograph.
Freediving is the sport which allows you to feel one hundred percent integrated with the environment you are in. For all that, it is extreme and seriously extreme when you go to the depths that Trubridge and his co-competitors achieve.
Remember, this is the sport of breath-hold diving, and the unassisted category is the most refined and challenging form of the sport: the freediver may use only his bare hands and feet to swim down into the abyss and back up to the surface. The discipline is referred to as the purest measure of human aquatic potential.
From a very young age Trubridge acclimatised himself to the watery underworld, competing with his elder brother for the deepest dive. At the age of 8 he was competently diving to 15 m, but it wasn’t until 8 years ago, when he was 22, that he discovered the sport of freediving.
The following video is of Trubridge’s first dive at the Vertical Blue competition earlier this year where he reached 92 m, he smashed that a few days later by picking up the 95 m tag.
It looks effortless doesn’t it, but make no mistake – intense training is required for this sport and Trubridge spends 5 to 7 hours a day doing just that. He also uses yogic breathing exercises and mind control techniques in order to deal with being so deep under the sea with nothing to depend on but his own hands and feet.
Why so many hours? Well, at 100 metres the pressure exerted by overhead water will crush the lungs to the size of a small grapefruit and the blood vessels inside them will swell with blood to stop the lungs from imploding. The heart slows to 25 beats a minute and you have to fight the narcotic effects of pressurised carbon dioxide and nitrogen – the so-called ‘rapture of the deep’ that tempts you towards a fateful sleep. Every minute of that intense training is important.
Trubridge’s dive is expected to last 4 minutes in total, but since the muscles are using precious oxygen in order to propel the body down and up it is far more difficult than a straight breath hold for even twice that amount of time.
There’s a bit of a novelty factor too. If you want to be in on this historic dive you can own a piece of it. Viewers and supporters will be given the opportunity to buy or bid on one of the 100 individual metres. The supporter’s names will be displayed in a scrolling list next to the depth during the official video of the dive. When it’s all over, you will receive the actual glow-in-the-dark descent line metre that you ‘bought’ and that was used for this epic occasion. The ‘metre’ will be mounted in a spiral on a commemoratory plaque as well as a DVD of the dive and an official team shirt.
Both www.verticalblue.net and the Vertical Blue Facebook site have all the details on how to own your piece of the dive.
The dive is expected to take place in mid-December, 2010. This should be the ideal time of year – the temperatures are mild averaging 72 degrees and rainfall is at its annual low in December so the conditions should be perfect for this event.