Dean’s Blue Hole

Dean's Blue Hole, a view from just below the water surface - © Fred Buyle

Winram in the descent of his record-breaking dive - © Fred Buyle

Winram enjoying a beer sitting on the shelf in Dean's Blue Hole - © Fred Buyle

Introducing Dean's Blue Hole resident mermaid Linden Wolbert - © Fred Buyle

Vertical Blue is Back in the North Atlantic Ocean

Long Island, Bahamas | March 11 – April 14, 2009

William arrived in the Bahamas after a combined trip of 72 hours back from Cape Town, South Africa where he had spent seven 10-hour days in the water during a Great White Shark expedition, a short stop-over in Geneva and the onward westward journey back to the Bahamian Island.

William says “The great thing about Dean’s Blue Hole is that you can walk in from the beach, take a few steps around the sandy edge in the knee-deep to waist-deep water and then (depending on the tide) sit down in the tidal current and arrive at the dive platform with no effort whatsoever”.

Being quite tired from his expedition in the southern hemisphere and the air journey, he eased his way back into the water and back to depth. During the training period preceding the competition, Dean’s Blue Hole was so dark that some freedivers had to tape underwater flashlights to their neck weights ! Thankfully, the weather turned just as the competition started and visibility held its promise afterall. See for yourself with the photos on this page !

Vertical Blue is an invitational-only competition which gathers the cream of the crop of freedivers from around the world. It took place over 9 days spread between April 1 and 11. This year’s sensations amongst the women were (in alphabetical order): Sara Campbell (UK), Megumi Matsumoto (Japan), Kathryn McPhee (NZL), Georgina Miller(UK), Ilaria Molinari (ITA), Jana Strain (CAN) and Tomoko Yamanouchi (JAP). In the men: Walid Boudhiaf (FRA), Davide Carrera (ITA), Eric Fattah (CAN), Kerian Hibbs (NZL), Mads Jørgensen (DEN), Robert King (USA), Leo Muraoka (USA), Herbert Nitsch (AUS), Frank Pernett (COL), Ryuzo Shinomiya (JAP), Walter Steyn (AUS) and last but not least William Trubridge (NZL), also the organizer of this event.

Over the course of the competition William Winram broke one of his oldest national records in the discipline of Free Immersion (FIM) where he pulled himself down and up the competition line 85 meters (279 feet) and back.

This is eleven more meters than his last record of 74 meters (243 feet) set in this discipline in June 2006. At the time, this depth was also a North-American record. A year ago, at the 2008 edition of Vertical Blue, Leo Muraoka (USA) reclaimed the title with 78 meters. This year, on April 1st, it is fellow freediver Robert King (USA) who took the North-American Free Immersion record to a new depth of 80 meters.

The very next day, on April 2, William surpassed King’s record by adding 5 meters to the North-American record during a dive he described as “a very nice and easy dive, good sensations and very fast back from the plate. Extremely clean on the surface.” The record-making dive took a total of 2:54, 1:36 down 85 meters to the plate and 1:18 back to the surface.

On April 11, 2009, William Winram announced and realized a clean 90-meter dive in Free Immersion (FIM). Winram pulled down and up the dive line to the set depth of 90 meters (294 feet), realized in 3:04, 1:41 down to 90 meters to the plate and 1:23 back to the surface. This was Winram’s 19th national record claimed over a span of less than four years since the beginning of his participation in this sport.

The new depth he achieved on April 11 opens a new era in the sport of freediving in the West, as he is the first individual to reach that depth on his own power in North America.

Discovery Channel Canada picked up the story of Winram’s latest record. To watch the Daily Planet show in which the segment appears, click here.
To watch the segment click here.

William Winram is not only an accomplished competitive freediver who has medaled at the world championships, he is also involved in ocean conservation projects, particularly shark preservation. Winram also provides breath-hold diving education with an environmental focus through Ocean Encounters.

Next on Winram’s calendar is to attend the Canadian Indoor National Championships which will be held in Montreal, Quebec on April 25 – 26.

These Championships are organized by CASM (Club d’Apnée Sportive de Montréal) a freediving club affiliated to AIDA Canada. AIDA Canada is a not-for-profit sportive association founded on the democratic international representation of Canadian freedivers in the country and abroad.