Nuno Gomes

Seriously Extreme Diving – High Diving Record, Dana Kunze, & Deep Diving Record, Nuno Gomes

Note: This was published in 2009. Top picture: screen capture of video posted by nuno181 on YouTube

We are taking a break from regular scuba diving in this article, exploring much more extreme forms of diving – High Diving and Deep Diving.

High Diving Record – Dana Kunze

This article has seen more changes and corrections than any other on this site. It has been an ongoing debate almost, as to who exactly has the record for the highest dive in the world.  The following short paragraph shows our most recent correction….

We stand corrected. We had previously said that Dana Kunze held the world high diving record at 172 ft (52.42 m). However, the world record is held by Oliver Favre who dived 177 ft (53.94 m) into open water in 1987 in France.

However… we are going back to our original statement that it is indeed Dana Kunze who holds the record. And we can say this with some conviction as Dana Kunze has kindly brought us up-to-date on the issue. He, better than anyone, knows about the controversial debate that has gone around for years… but it’s a small world, the high diving one, and in his opinion there is no point in acrimony. However, the fact remains that Dana Kunze has the High Diving Record because the rules of the game is that you HAVE to get out of the water on your own and walk away. Oliver Favre had to be rescued from the water after sustaining a serious injury as a result of the dive – he broke his back.

Dana Kunze has also successfully done this dive more times than anyone else on earth – an extraordinary 7 times. And if you think that’s incredible, then you will be amazed to hear that he has been thinking of doing it again, now, at the age of 50….

Oliver Fabre  holds the World Indoor High Dive record at 110 ft (33.52 m) at Earls Court 1997.

Here’s an entertaining video, which makes it all look remarkably easy…

Deep Diving Record – Nuno Gomes

And for a dive of a different sort, Nuno Gomes, a South African scuba diver of Portuguese descent, is the current (2009) Deepest Dive world record holder – 318.25m or 1,044ft, that dive was documented on video – the “Beyond Blue” documentary.


Look at that barrage of tanks on his back!

The total dive time was 12 hours and 20 minutes, but the descent only took 14 minutes!

Deep diving obviously has more consequences and dangers than basic open water diving.

The meaning of the term deep diving is a form of technical diving. It is defined by the level of the diver’s training, their equipment, breathing gas and surface support.

The dangers are immense.

It is so dangerous and difficult that only eight (or possibly nine) persons are known to have ever dived below a depth of 800 feet (244 m) on self contained breathing apparatus recreationally. That is fewer than the number of people who have walked on the surface of the moon!

Things that can go wrong:

  • Nitrogen narcosis, or the “narks” or “rapture of the deep”, starts with feelings of euphoria and over-confidence but then lead to numbness and memory impairment similar to alcohol intoxication.
  • Decompression sickness, or the “bends”, is when the gas bubbles of nitrogen get caught in the joints on an ascent. Yet, the effects tend to be delayed until reaching the surface.
  • Bone degeneration is caused by the bubbles forming inside the bones; most commonly the upper arm and the thighs.
  • Air embolism causes loss of consciousness and speech and visual problems. This tends to be life threatening, but sometimes the symptoms resolve before the recompression chamber are needed.

All these are things that can go wrong when deep diving.

Amongst technical divers there are certain elite divers who participate in ultra-deep diving on SCUBA (using closed circuit rebreathers and heliox) below 660 feet/200 metres.

Ultra-deep diving requires extraordinarily high levels of training, experience, fitness and surface support.

The Holy Grail of deep diving was the 1000 ft (304.8 m) mark, first achieved by John Bennett in 2001, and has only been achieved twice since.

Nuno Gomes and Pascal Bernabé have both achieved 1044 ft (318.25 m) and 1083 ft (330.09 m) respectively in 2008. However, the Guinness World Records still recognises the 1,044 feet dive by Gomes earlier in the same year as the current official world record, as Bernabé’s dive was not verified.

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