Suunto Vertical Blue is the world’s ‘premier’ annual freediving event, and this year it is also the final stop on the AIDA World Cup. 56 athletes, representing 21 countries that span every continent of the world, will compete over nine days of diving between November 20-30 to determine who is the world’s deepest man and woman, and for a chance to bring home some of the $20,000 prize pool – the biggest ever in this sport.
The three freediving depth disciplines contested are:
1. No Fins (CNF)
2. With Fins (CWT)
3. Free Immersion (FIM)
Each discipline is given equal weighting (points are awarded as a percentage of the top score in that discipline). The freediver who scores the most total points from their best dives in the three disciplines will be crowned the Suunto Vertical Blue Champion.
The top three male freedivers in the world, Guillaume Nery, William Trubridge and Alexey Molchanov, will all be there, ready to go head-to-head in Dean’s Blue Hole’s mysterious light-absorbing waters. Between them, Nery and Trubridge are the current world champions in all the depth disciplines. Trubridge has held world records in CNF and FIM for most of the recent years, while Alexey Molchanov recently broke the world record in CWT with a dive to 125m – the deepest self-powered freedive in history, and was also recently the top-performing male athlete at the 2012 AIDA Team’s World Champs.
Close behind them is Japanese champion Ryuzo Shinomiya, who has reached 115m in Constant Weight. Croatian Goran Colak, who is the current world record holder in pool freediving with an incredible 273m dynamic apnea, will be looking to dive to 100 meters and beyond. Alfredo Roën and Miguel Lozano, both capable of more than 100m in Constant Weight, will drive each other deeper in an attempt to leave the event with the Spanish record. The same goes for Nick Mevoli and Rob King, USA freedivers who have been swapping national records recently as they work their way through the 90’s and towards those magical three digit numbers.
The depth doesn’t stop there, with Antero Joki, Ant Williams and Morgan Bourc’his all capable of 90m+ and many other divers with latent talent waiting to be applied to depth.
What makes VB a special event is that it gives the athletes free reign to mine their aquatic potential. None of the concerns of boat rides, fickle weather conditions, cold water or irate taxi drivers affect the venue of Dean’s Blue Hole – essentially the competitors are like chemists in a spotless laboratory, free to conduct controlled experiments on what their body can tolerate in an airless world.
And the results continue to astound. 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 will last in excess of 4 minutes, but that’s not 4 minutes of holding your breath in your bathtub: it’s 4 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 4-minutes that takes place in another dimension, where time is drawn out into an eternity – an eternity that lasts but a single breath.
We’ll be introducing the female athletes soon – stay tuned!