Alexey Molchanov poses after setting a new CWT freediving world record at Suunto Blue Dive at Dean's Blue Hole, Long Island Bahamas (Click Image To Enlarge)
It is the world's deepest blue hole of its kind. Plunging to 203m (666ft) just a few metres from the shore, Dean's Blue Hole in the Bahamas is an awe-inspiring natural wonder. It's also the perfect venue for the sport of freediving. Last month it was home to the Suunto Vertical Blue, the largest freediving event of its kind. It saw 56 athletes from 21 countries battling to reach incredible depths on a single breath of air.
Over ten days, two world records and 65 national records were broken in the course of 252 individual dives. On the first day of the competition on November 21, Ashley Futral Chapman (USA). broke the Constant No-Fins (CNF) women's world record with a dive to 67m in 3'15. The North Carolina native dived without fins and used a modified breastsroke technique to achieve her third world record.
The Russian freediver Alexey Molchanov raised the bar to a new level with a world record dive to 126m in Constant Weight (CWT), in a time of 3'46. This is the discipline of diving with just a monofin for assistance.
Mid-competition the Suunto Vertical Blue looked set to turn into a clash of the titans as just minutes after Molchanov's dive, organizer and Suunto ambassador William Trubridge sought to recapture the record.
On this occasion, the multiple record-breaker made a technical mistake and turned back too early. Two days later Trubridge made another attempt but in the end the fates were not on his side.
However, by diving to 121m on the penultimate day of the competition he achieved a new national record for New Zealand.
Each freediver accrued points for each dive during the competition and Trubridge also finished top of the overall rankings.
Afterwards he said:
"I'm a bit disappointed with my own performances but given the enormity of Suunto Vertical Blue I can't be too disgruntled. The results speak for themselves. We had the most performances of any depth competition ever and I have had more athletes tell me that this was the best comp they've ever attended!"
"Alexey, Ashley and many other athletes all gave outstanding performances."
"I will take a break at Christmas and get back into training in January. One of the surprises of the competition was the Japanese freediver Tomoka Fukuda who achieved a national record of 65m in Free Immersion (ascending and pulling on a rope) as well as an 80m dive in CWT despite the fact she's only been competing for a year. "
Other national records fell to France, Britain, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, the Czech Republic, Spain, Mexico, Israel, Tunisia, Finland and Venezuela.
The Suunto Vertical Blue champions for 2012, Men - William Trubridge (gold), Alexey Molchanov (silver) and Robert King (bronze), Women - Alena Zabloudlova (gold), Ashley Futral Chapman (silver) and Tomoka Fukuda (bronze) - Click Image To Enlarge
Overall Winners Men and Women
- Gold: Alena Zabloudilova (Czech Republic)
- Silver: Ashley Futral Chapman (USA)
- Bronze: Tomoka Fukuda (Japan)
- Gold: William Trubridge (NZ)
- Silver: Alexey Molchanov
- Bronze: Robert King (USA)
The overall winners each received a Suunto D6is and a wetsuit from Orca. Suunto, the world's leading dive computer brand, is the official depth gauge used at all AIDA World Record freedive attempts. Mika Holappa, Dive Business Unit Director at Suunto, says:
"With so many of the world's top athletes taking part and so many fantastic World and National Records, Suunto Vertical Blue has been an amazing festival of freediving and we are proud to have been involved. William Trubridge should be congratulated not only for his inspiring dives but for organizing such a successful event."
William Trubridge, organizer, added:
"What makes Vertical Blue so special is that it gives the athletes free reign to mine their aquatic potential. If you left your diamonds in the basement of a 40-story skyscraper that flooded up to its roof then these guys could freedive down the lift shaft and collect them for you. The deepest dives last in excess of four minutes, but that's not four minutes of holding your breath in your bathtub — it's four minutes of propelling yourself through the water column, while combatting pressures that would crush a soccer ball to the size of a tennis ball and which exert mind-numbing narcosis on neural circuitry. It's four-minutes that takes place in another dimension, where time is drawn out into an eternity — an eternity that lasts but a single breath."
Suunto Vertical Blue 2012 - Women's Final Ranking
Click Image To Enlarge
Suunto Vertical Blue 2012 - Women's Final Ranking
IMAGES AND VIDEO
A selection of high res images from the Suunto Vertical Blue can be downloaded at the following link: media.z3om.net/Suunto/press_suuntoVB.zip
All images are free for editorial use in connection with the Suunto Vertical Blue. We only ask that you send us a copy or link to any published article. Shots beginning SV should be credited ©zooom.at/samovidic.com, otherwise underwater shots as ©IgorLiberti as per filename.
A selection of the record dives are available on YouTube:
Breathe, a documentary by nine-time Emmy award-winning producer Martin Khodabakhshian, follows Trubridge as he explorers his physical limits. A limited number of preview DVDs are available upon request.
More results and reports can be found on www.facebook.com/verticalblue and www.deeperblue.com.
For more information, contact:
Tarquin Cooper (zooom productions)
firstname.lastname@example.org, cell: +436645449241
About William Trubridge
Freediving is in Trubridge's blood. Born in Britain, the first few years of his life were a nomadic existance sailing around the world on his parents' yacht before the family settled in New Zealand. He learnt to swim at the age of 18 months, and was freediving to 15m by the age of eight, competing with his older brother to see who could bring back a stone from the deepest depth. But it was not until he was 22 that he discovered competition. Since then the 32-year-old has broken numerous freediving records. He was the first man to break the 100m depth barrier completely unassissted — without the use of fins, rope or weights in 2010. He also holds the record for ‘Free Immersion’ — 121m — where divers descend and ascend by pulling on a rope. In 2011 and 2012 he received the World's Absolute Freediving Award (WAFA), which ranked him as the world's top freediver.
In April 2010, William Trubridge broke a free-diving world record in a blue hole reaching a depth of 92 metres (302 ft) without the use of fins (Constant Weight Without Fins). I learned about the dangerous sport of freediving and New Zealander William Trubridge's amazing world record he had set in this sport and instantly became a fan. In a blog post dated October 18, 2011, I recounted the story of how William Trubridge on December 14, 2010, set a new CWT freediving world record of 101 metres at Dean's Blue Hole on a single breath using only his hands and feet for propulsion.
Russian Alexey Molchanov Sets A New CW Freediving World Record
Russian freediver Alexey Molchanov has done it again. On the last occurring Saturday in November, Alexey improved upon his own World Record in Constant Weight (CWT) by one meter to set the plate a little deeper to 126m at Suunto Vertical Blue 2012.
In a clash of the “Neptunes”, extraordinary depth announcements made by both William Trubridge and Alexey Molchanov stunned the freediving community as both athletes announced they would dive to an unimaginable 126m in CWT on the very same day. A coin toss ensued, which Molchanov won and down the line first he did go. Freedivers and fans around the world could almost be heard audibly gasping in unison as they wondered to themselves: Who will take the world title? Which champion will successfully hit the mark nearly 420 feet into the abyss of Dean’s Blue Hole? Might one of these competitors black out?
Anticipation also ran high amongst the spectators on the shore and at the surface at the event in the Bahamas as the gazed upon the two aquatic gladiators warming up simultaneously on opposite sides of a smaller platform.
In the end a a failed alarm foiled Trubridge’s dive and the formidable but humble host of the last stop on the AIDA world cup acknowledged Molchanov’s incredible performance,
“Alexey Molchanov set an amazing world record of 126m this morning, but I couldn’t join him today.”
Alexey was very calm on the main dive platform as he collected his thoughts and composed himself for an epic descent. As he gently slipped into the water and moved over to the line, everyone watching knew that either way history was about to be made.
Wearing no dive weights, a golden wet-suit, a simple nose clip and no protective eye equipment Alexey successfully complete his dive to 126m in 3 minutes and :46 seconds. Capable of a breath-hold in excess of 8 minutes and :31 seconds, barring any equalization issues Molchanov has the capacity to go even deeper.
About Dean's Blue Hole
Dean's Blue Hole is the world's deepest known blue hole with seawater. It plunges 202 metres (663 ft) in a bay west of Clarence Town on Long Island Bahamas.
Blue hole is a term which often is given to sinkholes filled with water, with the entrance below the water level. They can be formed in different karst processes, for example, by the rainwater soaking through fractures of limestone bedrock onto the watertable. Sea level here has changed: for example, during the glacial age during the Pleistocene epoch (ice age), some 15,000 years ago, sea level was considerably lower. The maximum depth of most other known blue holes and sinkholes is 110 metres (360 ft), which makes the 202 metres (663 ft) depth of Dean's Blue Hole quite exceptional.
Dean's Blue Hole is roughly circular at the surface, with a diameter ranging from 25 to 35 metres (82–115 ft). After descending 20 metres (66 ft), the hole widens considerably into a cavern with a diameter of 100 metres (330 ft).
Some water-filled sinkholes are deeper than Dean's Blue Hole, Zacatón in Mexico (335 metres (1,099 ft)) and Pozzo del Merro in Italy (392 metres (1,286 ft)) among them. Dean's Blue Hole though is the deepest known sinkhole with entrance below the sea level.
Courtesy of a press release dated December 7, 2012 issued by Tarquin Cooper for Zoom Productions for Suunto Vertical Blue, an article dated May 10, 2011 appearing in Droompleken, and an article appearing in Vertical Blue News