Day 25 – Line Stretching

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In association with Performance FreeDiving International

The judges, Bill Stromberg (Sweden) and Nicolas Laporte (Switzerland) arrived yesterday and today their official duties begin.

Today our task list includes: weighing the official ballast, stretching the official line, and painting the counter ballast arm so that the sponsor logos will show up. We have two official ballast blocks that need to be weighed as we will be running two official lines. Although we have two ballasts and two lines, it is only one line that will feed through the counterbalance and each end will have its unique ‘zero’ mark at the bottom. One side will take the free immersion and constant ballast no-fins attempts, while the other side will hold the sled. Of course, only one discipline will occur at a time, but we may switch back and forth during a morning training session.

The stretching crew consists of myself, Peter Satitpunwaycha, Bill Stromberg, Nicolas Laporte and Tony Marcuccino. Mandy, Martin and Doc stay at the condo in relative comfort and out of the sun. Tom Lightfoot is working feverishly to update our website with a new look, and the rest of the safety crew are chilling out until our 5 p.m. event meeting at Cobalt Coast.

The ballast checks out at 57kg / 138lb each and the 183m / 600ft line is marked out from zero at both ends. It’s a trying job for Bill and Nicolas as this is the first time they’ve been presented with a double ‘zero’ ended rope configuration. So we develop a coding system to know what’s what. We also have them mark approximately 25 official depth marks. The stretching of the rope entails soaking the rope for a couple hours, tying a pulley to a tree, running the rope through the pulley to the bottom ballast with the other end tied to a car. Then we drive slowly away from the tree until the ballast is lifted off the ground. Once the stretched rope rises off the ground, we start to make measurements markings.

After stretching and marking the line, we return to Cobalt Coast with 30 minutes left to prepare for our most comprehensive safety and organizational meeting. During this meeting we organize the athlete and evacuation boats, safety rebreather divers, videographers, photographers, emergency personnel (two paramedics and one doctor), safety freedivers, athletes, schedules, gas blends, run times, emergency protocols … Everthing, in fact, to ensure a safe and successful record day.

With the evening coming to a close, we settle in for a good night’s rest. Tomorrow, Mandy will be attempting 50m / 164ft constant ballast no-fins, and Doc will be attempting 50m / 164ft variable ballast. Martin will sit out and give his back time to recover.

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