Former Hawke's Bay freediver sets new record

By Kaysha Brownlie kaysha.brownlie@hbtoday.co.nz

1 comment
SUCCESS: Freedive world champion William Trubridge has successfully broken a world record freedive that he promised to the nation back in December 2014. Photo/Alex St. Jean
SUCCESS: Freedive world champion William Trubridge has successfully broken a world record freedive that he promised to the nation back in December 2014. Photo/Alex St. Jean

This morning, with just a single breath, former Hawke's Bay free diver William Trubridge successfully broke his own unassisted free dive world record of 101 metres.

Diving at Dean's Blue Hole in the Bahamas - the world's deepest known salt water blue hole - Mr Trubridge sunk to 102m - comparable to about one third the height of Auckland's Sky Tower - gathered a marker at the bottom and resurfaced without assistance.

In a tense few moments on the surface, William successfully completed post-dive protocol, signalling to the judge he was 'ok'.

The judge waved the white card and the celebrations erupted, both in the water and back home in New Zealand.

Mr Trubridge is now the proud holder of an incredible 18 free diving world records, and continues to push the boundaries of what is possible for the human body.

Steinlager Pure partnered with TVNZ to broadcast the dive nationwide so New Zealanders could watch one of the world's top extreme athletes.

Mr Trubridge said knowing the dive was being broadcast back at home made him all the more determined to set this new record.

After coming so close in 2014, he told New Zealand "I owe you a world record". This morning, he made good on his promise.

"It was huge sense of relief. To get this record in the bag is a dream," the diver said.

"I started to feel a little bit of a fade halfway up, I wondered if it was going to go pear-shaped again. I could feel the support of so many behind me, but knew I had to stay in the present, I was nearly there."

William's parents, Linda and David Trubridge of Havelock North were watching their son's dive live from the TVNZ Breakfast couch this morning.

"We're just so proud of him, each time he dives. They're the longest four minutes of our lives, but we're just so happy he's finally notched this one up," his father said.

Michael Taylor from Steinlager Pure said: "every time William dives, he shows us what the human body and spirit is capable of, and inspires us all to push beyond the limits of what seems possible."

The diver said today's 102m dive was not only a passion but "unfinished business".
It is being touted as the "sequel" to his initial 102m attempt back on December 2, 2014 where he diced with death and failed to set a world record.

He had to pull out of December's dive just 10 metres from the surface on the return journey, grabbing a guide rope and nodding to his support divers to help him.

The 35-year-old said he knew he was about to black out and did so for several seconds when he broke the surface.

Vertical Blue's media officer Francesca Koe, who witnessed the first attempt said he missed it "by just a hair".

The diver had already conquered the 102 metre depth in recent practices ahead of this morning's successful attempt.

He had been training for this dive more than a year.

*Free Diving quickfacts William Trubridge
William Trubridge is based in the Bahamas living near a massive 200 metre underwater sinkhole called Dean's Blue Hole.
He is the current free diving champion.
The attempt took four minutes and 13 seconds.
The pressure at this depth can easily crush untrained lungs.
Adrenaline can work against a free diver, he must remain calm and control nerves to reserve oxygen.
Yoga and mediation is part of his training.
He can hold his breath for seven-and-a-half minutes (the average is one minute).

*The dive in detail
The dive took four minutes, 13 seconds.
During the first 10m, the air in his lungs is still buoyant, he had to pull hard with his arms to descend.
It took seven long, hard strokes to pull himself down.
After about 20m the air started to compress, making him less buoyant, this is when William stopped kicking, and let gravity take over.
He tucked his arms in, put his chin to his chest, closed his eyes and sunk deep into the darkness .
He dropped at a rate of roughly one metre per second.
Mr Trubridge relied on a watch to indicate how deep he was, an alarm sounded at the bottom, he reached out for the rope, gently slowed his decent, and grabbed the marker, attached it to his wetsuit and made one slow pull on the rope to start him on his ascent back to the top.
Being careful to make small movements - at that depth and pressure it would be easy for him to damage his internal organs with any sudden movements - safety divers met him at 30-35m.
He surfaced gulping in sharp deep breaths, with his crew calling him to breathe.
In a tense few seconds everyone watched as he completed the post-dive safety protocol in order to validate the record, by removing his nose clip, making eye contact with the judge, giving the 'OK' symbol with his hand and announcing to the judge "I'm OK".
He was given a white card signalling he completed the successful new World Record of 102m.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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