Posts Tagged ‘freediving’


There’s another world championship freediving competition coming up- this time it’s indoors

June 4, 2009

Denmark will be hosting the next big  freediving competition in August. It is worth remembering that this is an extreme sport on the fringe of mainstream sports, but with dedicated participants and supporters.

A really dedicated following because there is minimal sponsorship and divers do not recieve any funding. This means every dive, every competition is funded by their own hard work, dedication and love of the sport.

The indoor freediving world championships will be held in the town of Aarhus in Denmark from the 17th – 22nd August.

That means freedivers will be working their butts off (excuse the expression) to get there.


AIDA Germany has announced the following people as the official German Team:

  • Women: Barbara Jeschke, Ilka Michaelis, Anna v. Boetticher and Olga Martinez-Alvarez
  • Men: Martin Legat, Ulli Wulf and Sergio Martinez-Alvare

AIDA Canada is also on their way for selecting the pool championship team. It’s still small and has open spots:

Women: Jana Strain, Mandy-Rae Krack
Men: William Winram

Team New Zealand held a competition in mid-May to see who would be chosen to represent the country at the upcoming indoor world champs – they are still waiting on the selection to be confirmed, but in the meantime have come up with a novel idea to raise funds to help with the costs, and for $250.00 you can be the proud owner of this:


A swimming cap signed by 4 of the world’s top freedivers:

William Trubridge
William has broken freediving world records 7 times. His 2008 no 1 world rankings were in Constant weight without fins with -86m and Free Immersion with -108m, both of which were world records. On 10th April 2009 he did it again  bettering his own mark in the discipline CNF (Constant Weight No Fins) with a dive to 88 meters (288 feet) in 3’30”.

Dave Mullins
Dave has broken 4 freediving world records and set a spearfishing world record with biggest marlin. Last year he ranked world no 1 in dynamics without fins with 213m and constant weight with -108m. He also was 2nd in dynamics with his world record dive of 248m and 3rd in static apnea with a breath hold time of 8 minutes, 11s.

Kathryn McPhee
Kathryn set her first world record and was ranked 1st woman in 2008 in dynamics without fins with 151m. She also ranked no 2 in dynamics with 179m and statics with a breath hold time of 7 minutes 1s.

Guy Brew
Guy has the second biggest breath hold time ever in competition. He topped the 2008 world rankings with a huge static apnea of 8 minutes 31s.

There is an added incentive to winning the auction (ie: paying over $250). If you, too, would like to learn how to freedive and live anywhere in the vicinity of Wellington or could get to Denmark over those dates in August,  Kathryn McPhee will throw in a free one hour coaching session to suit your level.

Closes: Sat 6 Jun, 7:34 pm. This auction may auto-extend.

Please read the questions and answers for this auction.


Diving with sharks – an extreme pastime

June 1, 2009

This is something we do not recommend to all and sundry, but Michael Rutzen from South Africa, otherwise known as ‘Sharkman’, seems to get away with it. He has turned the art of scuba diving and snorkeling into a seriously extreme sport.

Rutzen eats, sleeps, breathes and dreams of sharks and is on a one-man crusade to prove that rather than being the crazed man-eater from “Jaws”, they are in fact sociable and approachable creatures – to anyone who understands their body language. brettlock screened this video for us.

He loves sharks. He has an empathy with them, an appreciation of the magnificent beast that they are, and he is keen to show everyone the other side to one of the world’s most fearsome creatures.

Michael Rutzen at Work.

He started out as a fisherman, but as tourism grew in his coastal region he became a boat skipper taking tourists out into the ocean to see Great White’s. It was at this point that he learned to love the fish.

He learned how to freedive with sharks from Andre Hartman and then learned how to adopt his posture and interpret the sharks behaviour to avoid being attacked.

Mike eventually opened up his own shark boat for cage diving. His company Shark Diving Unlimited has since become the world’s first to offer a PADI specialisation qualification on white sharks.

When asked exactly what it was he was trying to prove with his research and his shark cage diving business, Mike said: “I would like to get people out there and teach them a little bit about this animal if possible. Try to let them go away with a little bit of positive knowledge and respect for the sharks. If we can achieve that little thing, these animals will be here for a long time. Because all the animals on earth that died out, nobody knew about until they got into a book that says ‘extinct’, and these Sharks that have survived all these millions of years, they deserve to be here.”

He has appeared in his own television show for the Discovery Channel – called Sharkman. In the program he toured the world diving with different species of sharks and demonstrated their tonic immobility reflex (DiscoveryNetworks ).

He has dedicated his life to the study of sharks and the Great White in particular. The Great White is unanimously considered the most dangerous and fierce shark on the planet. Although there is proof that the Great White is dangerous and capable of deadly attacks on humans there isn’t a lot of evidence that they are man eaters as shown in the movie “Jaws”.

Michael has been working to dispel this ideology about the Great White.

He is, however, under no illusions that it is a dangerous and unpredictable creature and he takes no unneccessary risks. “There is only one proven fact about White Sharks, most probably all sharks but White Sharks in particular, and that is that they are highly unpredictable. You can get methods of doing something that usually works one way and then you get Sharks that prove you totally wrong, and that’s in every interaction you do with the animals. That’s the odds you take. Sometimes it works to your advantage and sometimes it’s very much to your disadvantage, like I have found out a few times when I was cut,” he says.

He is quick to caution anyone who thinks they can hop into the ocean to have a closer look at this great fish. He is a highly trained professional and doesn’t want anyone to get hurt trying to do what he does unless they have been trained and educated for years and know how to free dive properly with sharks. He does NOT recommend freediving with sharks for tourists or thrill seekers as “we cannot train our tourists fast enough to learn all there is to know.”

Please bear that in mind!


William Trubridge’s record breaking 88m dive

May 8, 2009

You may well remember that I did several articles on the Vertical Blue Invitational Freediving Competition in Dean’s Blue Hole, Long Island, Bahamas last month….

I thought I’d round the series off with this video from W.T. (williamtrubridge) of his unassisted record breaking Freedive of 88m (288ft) in 3 minutes 30 seconds.

Spectacular, isn’t it.


Kiwi Freediver breaks freediving world record

April 13, 2009

At 11:20am in Dean’s Blue Hole, Bahamas New Zealand freediver William Trubridge broke the world record in unassisted freediving, descending 88 meters (288 feet) and returning to the surface on a single breath of air and without the use of any weight or propulsive assistance.

William Trubridge

The dive took place as part of Vertical Blue 2009, an invitational freediving event where the world’s elite freedivers compete over nine days of diving.  Already in the competition three world records had been broken by British Sara Campbell and Austrian Herbert Nitsch, but this was the first to be set by a New Zealander in the event.

William Trubridge has been training as a freediver for the last 6 years, and in April of 2007 he set his first world record in this discipline, with 82m.  The same year the record was broken with 83m by Herbert Nitsch, widely considered the world’s greatest freediver, but William bettered it again in 2008, with 86m.  Herbert attempted the record on the sixth day of this event, but turned early at 71m.  William also attempted 88m on the 4th day of the event, and although he made the depth and returned to the surface he blacked out as he took his first breath, and was thus disqualified.

William admits that there was a lot of anticipation and anxiety when he entered the water for another attempt at the record this morning, but he managed to remain calm and finished the dive in 3 minutes and 30 seconds, returning to the surface completely lucid.

He said that this result is the product of years of intensive training, and the support of his sponsors Suunto, Extreme Drinks and Orca and a generous scholarship from AMP.

News and photos from Vertical Blue 2009 can be found at

If you want to see or find out more about William Trubridge, please go to:


How to get your head around FREEDIVING

April 8, 2009

Kerian Hibbs, who is right at this moment attempting to break a record or two at Dean’s Blue Hole in the Bahama’s has been trying to break down the mystic of freediving for me – and I could have had no better instructor. At this rate I might just have to take up the sport myself…

As you know, the divers arrived several days, if not weeks, before the competition began, to acclimatise to the new environment.

The whole idea of diving to unknown depths without the aid of scuba equipment will seem very strange and extremely dangerous to many people. But these guys know what they’re doing, and I am going to give you a breakdown of a dive, as told to me by Kerian.

This 60m dive took place in the run-up to the competition at Dean’s Blue Hole.


You will see from the graph that the descent is pretty steep (1.25m /second) which is way, way too fast and meant that he had problems equalizing.

The  ascent was, in comparison, way way too slow (around 0.8m/second).

However, this was are not a reflection of carrying too many weights, but more of laziness and no sense of urgency to reach the surface on shallow dives….

… it might amuse you to know that he now considers anything less than 60 m a shallow dive!

You can see by the curve  at the bottom that he had to put in a few good kicks to get going, then at around -40 m he started to cruise – going a lot slower, conserving energy and just enjoying the sensation of the weight falling off.

It is hard to imagine diving to great depths without any artificial aids. Yesterday we did an article on Nuno Gomez who went down to 318 m+ – but with a serious rack of gas tanks on his back. Seriously extreme…

However, to do this with no aid except the confidence to rely on your lungs, your training, your overall fitness, is an extroadinary achievement. As Kerian says:  “I guess at the end of the day, everyone knows that when it comes to FreeDiving, the competition is not with others, but within yourself, testing the limits of your own body, exploring the limits of the mind and trusting in the people around you. Thats what makes FreeDiving such a special sport.”

The competition began on 1st April. It ends on the 11th. So far Kerian has had a personal best of a 78m dive.


Cut-off date extended for the Tour de Wakatipu in New Zealand

March 31, 2009

Due to popular demand, the deadline to enter the New World Tour de Wakatipu mountain bike event has been extended to the 5th April, 5pm. This is the inaugural 2009 Easter event. Ignore the previous deadline and spread the word!

$65 per person
$45 Junior (19 years and under)

For all entries $5 go to Cure Kids.

We first told you all about this event a few weeks ago… 7th March to be exact, and it seems as though so much attention has been drawn to the event that the response has been fantastic – 500 confirmed entrants so far and expected to climb to 700 or so.

Remember that the 45km event takes place in previously inaccessible parts of the district, traversing a course from Millbrook Resort to Chard Farm. The entries for the event now close on Sunday 5th April. The race is on Easter Saturday, 11th April.

The event, which caters for elite, sport and recreational mountain bikers, “has caught the imagination of people from all over the region and other parts of the South Island,” says Geoff Hunt, director of Southern Traverse and organisers of the event.

“This is an event which offers people exclusive access to the right
bank of the Kawarau River. The chance to go to places which are
usually off limits has created a huge response with over half the
field entered in the recreational division. This indicates clearly
the demand from ‘social athletes’ for events of this nature and we
are pleased to be able to provide a course which suits all levels.”

So, if you’re in the vicinity, and looking for something different to do – go to the official website and sign up quickly on the online entry form…

And while we’re reminding you about forthcoming events, if freediving is what you’re interested in, don’t forget that the Dean’s Blue Hole Competition  starts tomorrow, 1st April and will go on until the 11th.

Dean’s Blue Hole is the world’s deepest blue hole (underwater sinkhole), which plunges 202 meters (663ft) to the ocean floor, in a bay on Long Island, Bahamas.

Good luck everyone…


Freediving – how many minutes does an extreme depth dive take?

March 24, 2009

I was asked how long it took Herbert Nitsch to descend to 214m (extreme by anyone’s standard) and return to the surface, and I couldn’t find that information anywhere. Static time underwater is timed, but with depth dives it’s the depth that’s more important – not the time it takes although that is of course interesting … or so it seems.

I did find that on 17th March, whilst training for the competition at Dean’s Blue Hole, Herbert made a training dive to 92 meters. To reach the depth it took him 1min 38sec, and the total divetime was 3min 51sec.

If you are wondering how freedivers manage to achieve these record-breaking dives, Kerian Hibbs, who is also out there training at Dean’s Blue Hole, kindly took the time to explain it to me yesterday – so, from the horse’s mouth, here goes:

“The dives to depth in time do not relate to pool at all, and this description will concentrate on inhale dives only.

Lung Capacity:

When you inhale ready to dive on the surface, you then pack to maximum capacity. Of course this means that your chest cavity is bloated and ribs stretched. As you go deep the pressure makes the air in the lungs compress, so the pressure you feel on the surface (being stretched) reduces pretty quickly, say 3m and its comfortable again, but of course in doing so the pressure inside your lungs actually increases as the depth increases. So really, capacity does not change at all, its just volume changes.


Obviously as the depth increases, so does the time of the dive. The dive profile that most people get on the descent is around 1m/s, therefore a 90m dive (in theory) should reach the bottom at around 1 min 30 seconds. This is highly dependent on streamline, efficiency, kick strength, kick amplitude / frequency and buoyancy (at the surface – as this needs to be overcome before freefall can occur).

The ascent is different for all athletes and of course disciplines. You would expect that “constant weight no fins” will be slower ascent rate than with a wacking great monofin strapped to your feet” – however it depends on each individuals particular style and strengths.

To illustrate this, Kerian’s dive to 71m was 2 min’s 20 seconds. The descent was 1 min 18 seconds (slightly slow) but his ascent was pretty quick as he is efficient through the water due to his ‘Dynamic Style’ being pretty good.

Kerian tells me that there is a trend emerging where it looks like a lot of the divers are trying to come off the bottom faster than has been typical in the past. He attributes this to trying to avoid (CO2) Narcosis which bites pretty bad as the dives get longer.

This is an amazing video of Willaim Trubridge (williamtrubridge ) setting a new world record in 2007 – it gives an idea of the simplicity, achievement and extroadinary elegance of this silent and extreme sport. As Kerian says: “one dips slowly beneath the surface, opens ones eyes and finds oneself in another dimension…the pleasure is immediate”.