World-record freediver William Trubridge has beaten his personal breath-holding record, after lasting nine minutes with "empty lungs".

The former Hawke's Bay man announced the feat from the Bahamas yesterday, describing it as "the longest time I've shut up shop on breathing since my first breath".

Before the attempt he inhaled pure oxygen for 10 minutes, but began the exercise having exhaled fully.

"A little extra oxygen is absorbed into blood plasma when breathing pure [oxygen]."

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His personal best with full lungs and regular air is eight minutes.

Last December, he failed in a bid to break his own unassisted freedive world record of 101m.

Although he reached the new depth of 102, the former Havelock North High School student required assistance when returning to the surface.

Freedivers descend and ascend under water using only their own strength. They have no propulsion equipment and cannot pull on a rope.

Trubridge operates a free-diving school at Dean's Blue Hole in Long Island, Bahamas. He is also Suunto Vertical Blue champion and 2010 and 2011 World Absolute Freediver.