Insiders insight into Vertical Blue 2016 Final Part 3
After months of anticipation, preparation and training on the part of both the athletes and the crew, Vertical Blue 2016 has come to an end following nine exciting day’s of competition. We witnessed an impressive three World Records and a total of 34 National Records. This elite competition is considered to be the highest-level freediving tournament on the circuit, both in terms of the world-class athletes that attend, and also for the safety and medical teams, media crew and outstanding event coordination.
Deans Blue Hole is a special location, not only for its natural beauty, but also for its extraordinary depth and near-perfect conditions for freediving, so close to shore. The only drawback we have had was poor visibility on the training days prior to the start and the initial days of the comp. But gradually it shifted from vertical-blur to vertical-green, allowing the VB media team and three external documentary crews to get footage of the hole in all its impressive beauty.
The final act of the competition began with a second and unexpected World Record, this time from William Trubridge with a Free Immersion dive to 122m, taking 4.24 seconds. Will was breaking his own record that he had set in 2012. We also saw four more National records on that day. Day eight was a quieter day, with only 15 announced dives, but another four National records broken. And just as we thought it was nearly over, we saw the announcements for the final day. Not only were there a massive 27 announced dives, but we also had a third World Record attempt from William Trubridge. By now you’ll know that this was a successful dive, adding two metres and taking 10 seconds longer than his dive two days earlier. Another four more National records were set on this final day.
The awards ceremony and after-party were held in the popular Rowdy Boys bar and restaurant. The prizes were given out just before sunset, with a beautiful backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean behind. Overall winners were, for men: William Trubridge (NZL) with gold, Stig Pryds (DEN) with silver and Dean Chaouche (GBR) with bronze; and for the women: Sofia Gomez (COL) won gold, Jessea Lu (CHN) got silver and Kate Middleton (NZL) with bronze… And then it was party time! It was a chance for athletes and crew to finally let their hair down after an exceptional competition.
Goodbyes are always sad as our wonderful freediving family disperses to their various corners of the globe, and we are left with a little emptiness now that the excitement of the competition is over. But the safety team has been enjoying the calm of the Blue Hole for fun-dives, and we have been diving with sharks and eagle rays in the crystalline waters close by. Vertical Blue 2016 may be over, but stay tuned for more World Record attempts from William in the coming months!
Film: co. VB2016