West Bay, Grand Cayman Island, BWI – There comes a moment in events such as the Performance Freediving Sink Faze when it undergoes a phase shift, and acquires a whole new degree of realism and immediacy. For me, that moment comes when the competition line is measured, stretched and certified by the judges.
That’s what went down this morning, on the tarmac back road by the Cayman Islands Yacht Club. The Yacht Club parking lot, for some years now the traditional freedivers’ choice for this ritual, isn’t big enough anymore. The line is just too long now.
AIDA International Judges Demetrius Vassilakis (Greece) and Cedric Palerme(France) presided as the comp line, which had soaked in water all night, was run through a pulley secured to a palm tree, counterweighted and tugged by a van until stretched to its limit. The judges then carefully measured and marked the line, documented by plantetary videographerwho’d flown in from Dubai for the Sink Faze event.
There were two media organizations represented: ABC, the top-line US broadcast TV and radio network, and Deeper Blue. "How cool is that ?" somebody said to me. My interpreter translated this to " Isn’t that marvelous ?" and indeed it is. The ABC film is destined for the TV network’s premiere morning program Good Morning America – as soon as the broadcast date(s) is/are known to me, I shall report them to you.
So it’s all very real now. In less than 24 hours, we may be looking at new world and US National records. The support crew and two of the athletes are headed out to sea for rescue and evacuation drills this afternoon which carry through to simulated intervention by the onboard EMT and evacuation to a shore medical facility. Safety first, brothers and sisters, safety first.
NBC’s camera crew and producer were cooling their heels back at base camp when we returned from line stretching. Competition ! Imagine that – two (at least ) major US television networks competing for access to a…freediving event. My, my.
Big press conference this evening at the Ritz Carlton Hotel (!) so more later. I have to start bringing a suit and a necktie to freediving events.