Okinawa Freedive Invitational

On the way to dive site – © Walter Steyn

Okinawa Freedive Invitational

Okinawa, Japan, August 26-27, 2006

The Okinawa Freedive Invitational ended on a dramatic note for the Vancouver-born freediving champion who won 1st place overall in the two-day competition held in tropical Japan. After winning yesterday’s event diving to 80 meters in Constant Weight, today’s dive earned him another National and Continental record in the discipline of Constant Weight without Fin. This type of dive is the most difficult discipline in thissport because the athlete descends and ascends under water, on a single breath, using his own muscle strength only, without the use of propulsion equipment and without pulling on the rope. William Winram had already swooped that record in Dahab, Egypt last June at 60 meters, and hence broke his own record today by diving to 66 meters (217 feet). It is also the third deepest depth achieved in this discipline in the history of this sport

The conditions were especially unfavourable due to ongoing tropical storms in proximity; with choppy seas and currents so strong freedivers had to perform in far less than ideal conditions. For today’s event, William swam all the way down to 66 meters and all the way up, having to fight a current that would have otherwise kept him in a position perpendicular to the dive line. While he dove against the odds, it was not without safety protocols being met, an unconditional rule no matter what the weather conditions.