Regardless of how much time we may spend cruising on our superyachts, playing with water toys or riding around on jet skis, for most the underwater realm remains a mystery accessible only to those with the best wetsuits and high tech equipment. Unless, of course, you happen to be a world champion free diver.
A sport that sounds like most people’s idea of a nightmare, free diving involves simply swimming as far underwater as possible without flippers or oxygen. The only equipment allowed is your bare feet and one breath. The reigning champion of free diving is William Trubridge, who holds a world record of an incredible 101 metres.
The attempt was caught on camera and the footage is, needless to say, quite amazing. Filmed in the Bahamas at Dean’s Blue Hole, the deepest salt water blue hole in the world, Trubridge held his breath for an unbelievable 4 minutes and 8 seconds to complete the challenge. As he descends the sun light and sparkling blue sea changes into a dense, dark abyss where Trubridge is only visible thanks to the small light on the camera filming him.
Although Trubridge is a professional free diver, his attempt at the hectorate (100 metres) was actually undertaken as part of Project Hector, a charity campaign aimed at raising awareness of the plight of New Zealand’s endangered Hector’s and Maui’s dolphin species. Of course, to even attempt such a feat requires an incredible amount of both physical and mental conditioning and one of the most amazing things about the video is just how calm Trubridge remains throughout. He both descends and rises at a steady, almost leisurely pace, and does not even appear to speed up as he reaches the finish line (when he must be seriously out of breath).
"It was one of the hardest dives I've done, in less than perfect conditions, but the hectometer has officially fallen,” said Trubridge. “It has been a long road to this magical depth, and I could not have done it without the support of an incredible team.”