The 2017 5th annual Caribbean Cup in Roatan has wrapped up.

The competition boasted no less than fifteen current world and national record holders, over sixty competitors and with an event of this magnitude, it was no surprise that the pre-World Championships ‘warm up’ occurred during the cosmic coincidence of the solar eclipse.

The 5th Annual Caribbean Cup
The 5th Annual Caribbean Cup

The opening day of the event alone was action packed, with nine national records broken, a fantastic competition set up along with six warm up lines, sixteen safety divers and two official lines all with 29 degrees of warm water vibes throughout. With the greatest gravitational pull on earth happening above and below us, it bared a few marks on the deep blue – a very unusual current and a little bit of tropical thunder!

Of the weather pattern event organizer, Esteban Darhanpe notes,

“We had a bit of temperamental rain. Not that bad. More water never hurt anyone – the ocean remained calm. The ocean was like a mirror.”

With minor start time weather suspensions, all OT’s (official tops) were on time and the epic logistics and safety team quickly brought confidence to the overall outcome of the competition’s  flow.  Everything was good – black outs had quick recoveries, OT times ran in accordance with the schedule and chief of logistics and safety, Ren Chapman had his eye on everyone and everything all at the same time, for the entire time. Not kidding.

Team Argentina representing.
Team Argentina representing.

Of the notable national records broken, Ricardo Montans deserves a mention.  After a ten year (breath) holding period, the Argentinian National no fins record was smashed by him and boy did we hear about it! The water exploded with a roar of applause as Montanas climbed the rope to fist punch the air as fast as he completed his three minutes no fins dive, grasping that ever so known black tag with a smile as bright as the sun lined solar eclipse – the Argentinian now holds all depth records for his country.

Amerigo Moran set the standard for Guatemala.
Amerigo Moran set the standard for Guatemala.

Central America also showed up, not to be bested by its South American brethren.  Setting the standard on one day for one discipline wasn’t cricket, Amerigo Moran Giracca of Guatemala decided that he would outdo himself consecutively over the three day competition period bringing home the free immersion national record ultimately at 68 meters.  Amerigo’s dives were clean and honored the perfect surface protocol. Himself and Frank Gutierrez were the first freedivers ever to be competing for Guatemala.

Thirty killer strokes to the surface from bottom plate at 68 meters by the fiercely determined Amber Bourke not only confirmed that she is in fact, a fish but added an additional ten meters to the previous Australian no fins record. What she felt was a ‘terrible’ dive with the currents respectful dragging lanyard annoyance, the athlete said that she was ‘stoked mate’.  White card performances such as this helped secure her second place finish at Caribbean Cup.

First place female winner, Jessea Lu impressed as usual.  Overall this is Jessea’s 4th international win.  She comments that it’s one of the best competitions that she has ever been to especially in regards to overcoming the weather challenges and the sheer number of competitors.

Of the conditions and safety, Jessea says,

“Things have improved from the training week to the competitions. I feel 100% confident and safe going into the World Championships.  I know Ren is great and appreciate that.  The vibe and the people here – the vibe of the Latino people- is unique.  They are so welcoming and positive. They welcome you like a family.”

Jessea is thankful for the dedication and commitment from her Instructor John Hullverson from PFI who flew in from California to coach her on two of her dives (he had to leave for work on the 3rd day).

William Trubridge headed up a breathold tribute to the late Stephan Keenan.
William Trubridge headed up a breathhold tribute to the late Stephan Keenan.

As the first day of World Champs kicked off, keep a close eye on the top three competitors from Caribbean Cup 2017.  The race is on and the competition is extremely tight!

The overall standings.
The overall standings.

Read all the action from the 2017 Caribbean Cup & AIDA Individual World Championships in Roatan.

Photos Courtesy of Alex St Jean

Additional reporting by Ashley Futural Chapman

Julia Wheeler
Julia's natural curiosity and compassion has lead her to explore the world, its people and amazing wildlife. As a highly experience photo journalist, she believes “that if you really want to tell a story about someone, you have to be willing to step into their shoes on an intimate level. You must be open to embracing and experiencing everything in front of you' Julia is driven to meet people from all over the globe and document their life stories.

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