Hectometer Free Drive Breaks the Record, Answers a Question

One hundred meters isn’t a great distance by terrestrial standards. It’s the length of a football pitch, less ground than Armstrong and Aldrin covered on the Moon. Of course, on the Moon, distance means something else altogether. Likewise when you measure one hundred meters straight down from the surface of Dean’s Blue Hole in the Bahamas, the little disk on the end of the rope might as well be on another planet.

Look past the über-heroic music and the ratched drama of this short video to take in the uncanny splendor of William Trubridge’s dive—the symmetry and economy of his strokes, the patience with which he falls into the darkness. Those little gulps he takes before starting his dive? He’s swallowing air, which he will release from his stomach mid-dive to extend his ability to remain conscious at depth.

The dive was undertaken not only to set a record for free diving without fins, but also (with its nonce-word of a measurement) to draw attention to the plight of the Hector’s dolphin—a tiny, jewel-like cetacean native to the waters around New Zealand’s north island, where they live in shallow waters down to William Trubridge’s neighborhood at one hundred meters’ depth. Decimated by gill nets, the population of Hector’s dolphins now stands at one hundred individuals.

The HECTOMETER freedive from william trubridge on Vimeo.

2 comments

  1. Thank you for also mentioning the cause for which the dive was made (other than Will’s place in history). You just might want to do a bit more research before explaining breathing techniques to your readers, though. At no stage of his dive is Will “swallowing air” nor releasing it from his stomach. That’s a bit of nonsense there, whereas “hectometer” has been the correct term to describe one hundred metres for hundreds of years. 🙂

  2. Good of you to weigh in, Richard—and there’s no need to thank me for mentioning the cause; I’d be remiss not to. I appreciate the correction on the swallowing of air—and maybe you can tell me if what he’s doing is the technique referred to as “packing” the lungs with air, or if he’s purging carbon dioxide, or if something else altogether is going on. As for hectometer, of course it’s a recognizable term, but hardly a common one—no one talks about the hectometer dash, after all—and I was only noting its relative rarity, not calling it into question.

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