World champion diver William Trubridge will catch his breath before he again attempts to break his world record free dive, a feat proudly supported by his Havelock North parents.

Yesterday morning the double world record-holding freediver failed in his bid to dive 102m into the deep blue sea, just off the coast of the Bahamas.

The 34-year-old, who is the world's best free-immersion diver and also holds the record for the "constant weight without fins" discipline, reached the 102m mark but during his rise to the surface grabbed the safety line and required the help of two other divers.

His mother, Linda Trubridge, spoke to Hawke's Bay Today moments after watching her son's dive into Dean's Blue Hole, a 200m-deep cavern perfect for freediving.

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She remained immensely proud of her son as she watched the television coverage with her husband, David.

"Although he didn't achieve it, I think it showed who he is ... it shows how challenging it is," she said.

"I was talking to William the last time we saw each other and he said every metre down there is like running a 4-minute mile. You just need that much more oxygen the further down you go."

She had been anxious for days leading up to the record attempt and woke at 4am yesterday in anticipation of watching her son make New Zealand sporting history.

"David is not as bad as me. I was absolutely nervous," she said.

Trubridge, a former Havelock North High School student, spoke to the media after his dive.

"I feel like I owe New Zealand a world record and when I do finally reach it then that will be dedicated to everyone who's watching this and everyone who's sent in their support."

He said he was "disappointed" not to break his own record, after calling it quits about 30m from the surface, but was "humbled" by the support from thousands of New Zealanders.

"Everyone's been really supportive and I'm really thankful for that and really sorry I wasn't able to bring it home this time.

"I've prepared a lot for this dive in the past few days - I've been visualising and really trying to relax and charge my batteries."

He said he began to feel himself blacking out during his ascent and knew "I wasn't going to make it clean".

"At the depth where I signalled to the safety divers and grabbed the rope I felt like I definitely wasn't going to make it clean so it was better to let them help me up to the surface," the Kiwi diver said.

Despite the failed attempt, Trubridge said the exposure for the sport of freediving had been fantastic and he hoped to have another crack at the world record.

"This is just a plot twist. I will eventually attempt and get this record," Trubridge said.

"We're doing another event next April/May here in the Bahamas so I'll probably have another crack at it then."

The Kiwi has two litres more lung capacity than the average adult and the pressure at the depths he dives could easily crush untrained lungs.

Globally, about 40 people die each year from freediving accidents.

Digging deep

• William Trubridge failed to complete his attempt to beat his freedive world record of 101m.

• He reached the 102m mark but during his rise to the surface grabbed the safety line and required the help of two other divers.

• Trubridge did the dive at Dean's Blue Hole in the Bahamas, a 200m-deep cavern perfect for freediving.

• There will be another event next April/May and he may have another attempt then.

• Trubridge has a lung capacity two litres larger than the average adult.