Maldives welcomes world champion freediver William Trubridge for world-record attempt

Maldives has welcomed world champion freediver William Trubridge, as the island nation attempts to break the record for most people freediving simultaneously.

Trubridge, who arrived in the Maldives Thursday morning, will participate in the world record attempt on October 1. The “Neyvaa” freediving event, organised as part of the World Tourism Day 2019 celebrations, will witness at least 500 people freediving off Baros Maldives.

The Maldives is attempting to break the record held by ‘La Scuola del Mare 2’ (Verona), in Torri del Benaco, Verona. Verona set the record for the most people freediving simultaneously on October 11, 2009 with 280 people.

Trubridge is a world champion and double world record holding freediver from New Zealand. He was born in the UK but moved to New Zealand when he was 18 months old.

As of 2013, Trubridge holds the world record in the free immersion and the constant weight without fins disciplines, and was the first to break the 100m barrier unassisted.

Trubridge mainly competes in the depth disciplines. He additionally scored the highest number of points for an individual at Team’s World Championships, 313.3, which he achieved at the 2010 Freediving Team’s World Championships held in Okinawa, Japan.

On 18 January 2011, Trubridge won the World’s Absolute Freediver Award (WAFA) naming him best all around freediver, with the highest combined score in six freediving disciplines: static apnea, dynamic apnea with fins, dynamic apnea without fins (pool disciplines), constant weight apnea with fins, constant weight without fins, and free immersion (depth disciplines).

Trubridge is an Apnea Academy instructor and as of 2013 operates a freediving school and annual competition, both called Vertical Blue, at Dean’s Blue Hole in Long Island, Bahamas from September to May. During the summer he teaches courses in Europe and trained at Tenerife Top Training Centre.

Trubridge was the main subject of a documentary entitled “Breathe” directed by Martin Khodabakhshian, which documents Trubridge’s pursuits in 2010 to become the first free diver ever to reach 300 feet with a single breath in the discipline of constant weight no fins.

On February 15, 2019 Trubridge became the first man to complete an ‘underwater crossing’ of one of the major channels, swimming across the Cook Strait as a series of 934 breath hold dives. He wore fins and swam with a dolphin kick horizontally underwater at a depth between three-five metres, surfacing only for short recoveries during which he remained immobile.

The crossing took nine hours 15 minutes, and was done to raise awareness of the plight of New Zealand’s Hector’s dolphin and Maui’s Dolphins, which are both threatened with imminent extinction due predominantly to fishing bycatch in their territory.

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