Vertical Blue World Free Diving Record Set – Sail+Leisure
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Vertical Blue World Free Diving Record Set

by Simone Balman

On Day 4 of Vertical Blue, Frenchman Arnaud Jerald dived 119m in Dean’s Blue Hole in the Bahamas to set the World Free Diving Record for 2022.

This is a new AIDA world record, and a world record in the Constant Weight Bi-Fins division.

The previous record of the discipline was held by Alexey Molchanov with 118m on the CMAS circuit 2021. Watch last year’s world-breaking dive here.

What is Vertical Blue?

The New York Times called the competition the “Wimbledon of free diving” as it’s the most prestigious invitational free diving competition on the planet.

This year’s competition included athletes from all over the world, competing in a range of disciplines, including Constant Weight (CWT), Constant Weight No-Fins (CNF), and Free Immersion (FIM).

The competition took place from 1st to the 11th of August 2022.

Where was Vertical Blue held?

The competition is held at Dean’s Blue Hole, a world-famous free diving destination in the Bahamas. The hole is 202 meters / 663 ft deep and is one of the deepest underwater caves in the world. It’s also home to some of the world’s best free divers, including 18x World Record holding champion William Trubdridge.

The competition is organised by William and his team, and have been running free diving competitions at Dean’s Blue Hole since 2008.

Which free diving disciplines do athletes compete in?

The main free diving disciplines contested at Vertical Blue 2022 were Constant Weight (CWT), Constant Weight No-Fins (CNF), and Free Immersion (FIM).

Constant Weight (CWT) – Probably the most common depth version of free diving. The diver descends using either bi-fins or a mono-fin, and typically a wetsuit and a small amount of weight. The diver cannot pull on any guide ropes or change the weight used.

Constant Weight Without Fins (CNF) – In this discipline, the diver wears a wetsuit and a small amount of weight without needing any type of fin. The divers use only muscle strength to propel themselves downwards and back up again. It’s generally regarded as the most difficult, and most pure discipline from a sporting perspective.

Free Immersion (FIM) – This discipline is similar to Constant Weight No Fins in that the diver uses only a wetsuit and a small amount of weight. However, in this case, the diver can only use the guide rope for propulsion. You see divers doing this discipline both in a “head down” and “head up” position.

Who judges the competition?

Vertical Blue follows AIDA rules.  AIDA is one of the two main federations that govern free diving competitions, the other is CMAS.  Onsite judges, both in water and out of the water, dressed in their distinctive yellow rash vests, judge each dive and clean surface protocol.

The competitors are kept safe by safety divers who often cover hundreds of dives a day.



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