Kiwi freediver sets new national record

Last updated 19:04 09/12/2012

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Kiwi world champion freediver William Trubridge has achieved a new national record after diving to 121m unassisted.

The feat was achieved at the Suunto Vertical Blue, the world's largest freediving event which saw 56 athletes from 21 countries dive to extreme depths on one breath of air.

The 32-year-old had two failed attempts at the constant weight record before hitting the new depth on Thursday, breaking the record he set in May by 1m.

Freedivers accrued points for each dive and Trubridge finished top of the overall rankings in the competition.

The event was held in the Bahamas over 10 days from November 21, and during that time two world records and 65 national records were broken in the course of 252 individual dives.

Trubridge was born in Britain but grew up in the Hawke's Bay. He started freediving at the age of eight, and and started competing at 22.

In 2010 he was the first man to break the 100m depth barrier unassisted and holds the record for 'free immersion', where divers descend and ascend by pulling on a rope, reaching 121m.

In 2011 and 2012 he was ranked the world's top freediver after receiving the World's Absolute Freediving Award.

Trubridge said the divers were descending the equivalent height of a skyscraper down into the ocean.

''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 combating 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.''

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- Fairfax Media

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