On Sunday, May 13, 2018, Shelby Eisenberg made history.

At the ninth annual DejaBlue freediving competition hosted by Performance Freediving International, in the crystal clear blue waters off of Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman, Shelby “Shell” Eisenberg set her very own AIDA depth record and personal best.

Completing a beautiful dive to 85m under constant weight, the California native realized a hard-fought personal goal and cemented her place in the United States Freediving history books.

Shell's coach Mandy-Rae Krack knows it's in the bag, and now we wait for the judges white cards...
Shell’s coach Mandy-Rae Krack knows it’s in the bag, and now we wait for the judges’ white cards…

I am simply thrilled for Shell Eisenberg,” said John Hullverson, President of USA Freediving. “Shell is a world class athlete and has re-written the record books with her super clean constant weight dive to 85 meters, to better Ashley Futral Chapman’s previous record of 84m. You can be sure we will see more from these amazing women!

The 27-year-old from Santa Cruz, CA, who now calls Hawaii home, was also thrilled with her achievement. “No more pool for me!” joked Eisenberg who already had two pool freediving national records under her belt but had been yearning for the more exclusive depth title.

I have been steadily, albeit quietly, training every week — 3x a week — back in Kona and it has been tough. While I set my mind on this goal in January I was not really sure it could happen until I arrived in Cayman. There’s something about Cayman that just works for me. Call it a magical combo of the competition pressure to focus, and the gorgeous blue water, but once I started doing target training dives here I knew I would do it.”

A very happy Shell Eisenberg (photo by Nathan Hayes)
A very happy Shell Eisenberg (photo by Nathan Hayes)

In addition to her disciplined spirit for training, Shell was quite resourceful in garnering the funds needed to travel all the way from Hawaii to the Caribbean, and to cover her competition fees.

I was able to compete at #DejaBlue9 because of the wonderful support I receive from my friends, family, and co-workers. People bought my artwork, co-workers from Kona Honu Divers hosted a brisket bbq, and the community rallied around me literally and figuratively to buoy me up and make this all possible. A world of thanks to Omer for being my biggest sponsor — your belief in me makes all the difference and I really appreciate it.

Known for her adept illustrations of marine life, Shell helped finance some of her trips by auctioning off a one-of-a-kind pair of hand-painted Omer fins, with the lucky final bid being offered by the creative director at Prawno, Lia Barrett. In addition to being a Prawno ambassador, Shell is starting to collaborate with Zeal Optics as well.

I am so grateful to everyone who helped me along the way,” said Shell. “It’s going to take a while for this accomplishment to sink in, so I am going to just relax and reflect for the next couple of weeks. But who knows? Maybe I will try for something even deeper at the end of the summer! Maybe I will become the first American to reach 300 feet unassisted.

You can watch her record-breaking dive below or via YouTube here.

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