Records tumble at freediving event

blue element title

Safety divers keeping a close watch as a competitor surfaces (Photo: Daan Verhoeven)

Twenty national freediver records were broken during the Blue Element competition in Dominica last month. 

The event, organised by Jonathan Sunnex (AKA 'Johnny Deep') and Sofía Gómez Uribe, two of the deepest freedivers in the world with a number of world records between them, was postponed last year as the island was 'ravaged' by the passage of Hurricane Maria.

This year, the conditions were perfect - as is normal for Soufriere Bay - with no current or waves, 20-30m visibility and water temperature that never dropped to less than 26°C. Twenty-two athletes from 13 different countries around the world took part, and a total of 20 national records were broken.

blue element sayurI 1000

Sayuri Kinoshita surfacing after one of her winning dives (Photo: Daan Verhoeven)

Four freediving disciplines were involved in the competition. Constant weight apnea (CWT), in which freedivers follow a guide rope to their maximum depth without using it aid ascent and descent, while wearing either monofins or bi-fins; CWT Bi-Fin, which is the same but with monofins not permitted; CNF, as per CWT but with no fins or other swimming aids; and Free Immersion Apnea (FIM), in which the diver may use the line to pull themselves down to their maximum depth and back to the surface, but without the use of ballast of fins.

The overall winners of the competition were Sayuri Kinoshita of Japan and Stig Pryds of Denmark. Sayuri’s top dives were 83m CWT bi-fins, 98m CWT, 88m FIM, 62m CNF and Stig’s were 101m CWT, 95m FIM, 68m CNF. Sayuri is the current FIM world record holder (97m) and former CNF world record holder (72m). Stig Pryds holds all Danish depth national records at present (75m CNF, 102m FIM, 105m CWT). Stig suffers from psoriatic arthritis (a chronic inflammatory joint disease, causing intense pain and extreme fatigue), making his diving results all the more impressive and inspirational.

In between organising the event, Sofia and Johnny managed to make some of their own dives, securing themselves podium positions as a result. Sofia came second overall (80m CWT, 85m FIM, 52m CNF) and Johnny third (82m CWT, 80m FIM and 52m CNF).

blue element stig 1000

Gold medallist Stig Pryds of Denmark (Photo: Daan Verhoeven)

Four freedivers representing the UK also placed highly in the competition. Nancy Gibson was fourth overall with dives to 60m CWT (bi-fins), 60m FIM and 40m CNF and Georgina Miller came sixth (56m CWT, 47m FIM and 36m CNF). Paul Sutton came fifth out of the men (61m CWT, 56m FIM, 51m CNF) and Jon Fane sixth despite only competing in two out of three disciplines (77m for both CWT (bi-fins) and FIM).

Three British freedivers also made up part of the safety team, of paramount importance to freediving, selected for their experience and capabilities. British freediver Louisa Collyns, a former GB freediving athlete and instructor, led the team as chief of safety. Also on the team were Gary McGrath, a team GB competitor and instructor, and Scottish freediver and yoga Instructor Lynne Padden.

Conservation is also a priority for the Blue Element crew. During one of the rest days, with the support of the Maaji Earth Warriors - who do beach cleanups all over Colombia - Sofia and other athletes collected more than 200kg of trash in just half an hour. This is a tradition that will continue with each Blue Element edition.

For more about British Freediving, including competition news and where to learn in the UK, visit



Love diving? You'll love these. Sign up today to immediately download our unique FREE gifts -

AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 WRECKS - DIVE's 70-page, beautifully illustrated, colour guide to the world’s best wrecks

SCUBA STORIES - DIVE's collection f real life stories where divers, who have got themselves into perilous situations, describe how they reacted and what actions they took to ensure they lived to tell the tale

PACIFICHighlights of the Pacific - Dancing mantas in Hawaii • The Best Diving in the World, Galápagos, Cocos, Malpelo & Socorro • Mass Spawning Events in Palau

New Upright Gift Banners 300 x 600 px

Sidebar SUBSCRIBE spring 21 large2

Destinations Spotlight

Need inspiration for your next dive trip? Try one of our featured destinations from DIVE's travel partners.

sidebar philippines sidebar bahamas sidebar mexico sidebar fiji sidebar st helena 2020 Sidebar Egypt sidebar banner sabah sidebar banner belize sidebar banner south africa

DIVE Partners

sidebar banner egypt new ceningan divers ad 300x100 LH 300 min giphy subex Wakatobi Siladen Aggressor Fisheye Dive Worldwide gozo banner Arenui

Read DIVE magazine

DIVE magazine is available to read on many devices. Simply click one one of the options below

PCMac final
Apple finalAndroid final

Like what you see?

Join us on social and keep updated daily...