Freediving Is Crazy

via OutsideOnline.com Adventure Lab

Earlier this week, 35-year-old German freediver Tom Sietas reportedly broke the world record for breathholding when he stayed underwater for 22 minutes and 22 seconds. That’s just a bit longer—and probably a bit more exciting to watch—than the average television sitcom without commercials. Sietas has a lung capacity 20 percent larger than the average person his size and is a trained freediver. He doesn’t eat for five hours before “going for it.” The feat was impressive, but what be more impressive, and definitely more entertaining to watch, is the dive above by William Trubridge.

Trubridge dove to a depth of 120 meters, or 393 feet, in a discipline known as constant weight with monofin. (He can push himself down and up with a flipper.) The power of the clip comes from the little nuggets of text Trubridge adds. At 100 feet he becomes negatively bouyant and sinks. At 328 feet he is in complete darkness, but the rope measuring his descent glows in the dark. It takes two minutes to fall 393 feet in water. You get the idea.

I spent four years as a kid living in rural Pennsylvania, surrounded by endless cornfields and graveyards. One of our favorite games was to hold our breath as we drove by cornfields and graveyards, and through covered bridges and tunnels. My sister and I got pretty good at it, but I remember never being able to hold our breaths past a certain strip of road past the town cemetery bookended by two massive cornfields.

Any skill I acquired during those four years never really translated to future holding-your–breath-under-water-the-longest contests. I think my fear of drowning, which, aside from heights, is probably my biggest fear today, is most likely to blame. That, and the allergy-induced asthma I had in high school.

Long story short, I don’t really follow Freediving very closely, but this seems pretty impressive. I bet these guys could hold their breath all the way across town on Doe Run Road, Route 82, Route 142 or whatever it was called.