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Two New Recreational Scuba World Records

Two new Guinness World Records were established September 13 2003 on the Sunshine Coast Australia 1 hour north of Brisbane. The team from Sunreef Scuba Diving Services of Mooloolaba stayed submerged in a 2m by 2m by 2m tank for 7 hours 40 minutes and 14 seconds at Sunshine Plaza Maroochydore.

The Sunshine Coast seems to have what it takes to produce champions, recognized as a world class sporting, entertainment and lifestyle destination with warm weather. New World Records were established by two local divers Greg Riddell and Gary Cobb, the longest scuba submergence on a 12 litre tank and the longest scuba submergence in a controlled environment

In January 2003 Greg Riddell 55 of Sunreef Scuba Diving Services Mooloolaba and Gary Cobb 53 of Cobb Creative Advertising & Design Buderim took up the challenge to achieve these two World Records. Their first action was to analyse the existing records. With only 200 bar in a steel 12 litre tank they established that they would have to breathe no more than 6.66 bar per 15 minute interval. For psychological reasons they decided to spend their time attempting this feat as if it where a series of 15 minute dives. Once the current 15 minutes session was completed, the next would be attempted with the goal to use 6.66 bar per quarter hour or less.

An invitiation was extended to many divers to participate but it was Greg and Gary who achieved the required breathing rate. In total Greg and Gary did five pool practice dives, starting with a one hour dive to see if it WAS POSSIBLE to breathe no more than 6.66 bar per 15 minutes or 26.6 bar per hour. At the end of the hour dive they both used 26 bar and knew it was possible to break the existing World Records. The last practice dive of five hours, saw Gary with 19 bar over the minimum 133 bar required.

It was now time to publicly request sponsor support and confirm where the record attempt event would be held. The event was confirmed for September 13 2003 at Sunshine Plaza Maroochydore.

To create additional interest and promote crowd participation while the divers were submerged, viewers were given the task of guessing how much air Greg and Gary would have left in their tanks each hour. The closest amount was given a prize, ranging from stubbie coolers, hats, bags, dive courses and t-shirts.

Entry for the major prize draw – a 5 night holiday at Bokissa Island Vanuatu, required viewers to write their details on a docket from any store in Sunshine Plaza and provide a gold coin donation to the Sunshine Coast Branch of Cerebral Palsy Association.

Tanks were triple checked to ensure their air fill was 200 bar, the duo geared up and a Padi clock was set in front of the dive tank. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 GO! They submerged and settled quickly to conserve as much air as possible.

Their trance like state continued through out the day. Viewers looked on and thought they were asleep, occasionally tapping the glass to ‘wake them up’. Garys’ mascot was ‘Nemo’ and Gregs was ‘Eyore’.

Greg wore an Apollo dry suit and Gary a Cressi Ice 7mm semi-dry suit with vest. Gary got chilled after a couple hours and thought he might have to surface if the shivers got too bad. He pulled himself together and relaxed his body and mind as much as he could thinking, "I can’t quit". Three hours into the attempt the sun finally shone into the dive tank and the water began to warm up AHHHHH relief!

The interest and enthusiasm of the crowd grew as the record drew near. Tracey, the announcer who did a fabulous job coached the crowd with a countdown of, "5, 4, 3, 2, 1 we have two new Guinness World Records" and the crowd went wild! Gary and Greg shook hands and danced (scuba like) in the tank. The duo stayed 15 minutes longer then surfaced. With 20 bar remaining Gary could have stayed longer but per their plan the team surfaced together.

Elated with their achievement the two hung onto the dive tank edge while being interviewed by the TV crew and acknowledging the crowd.

The confirmed time spent in the tank was 7 hours 40 minutes and 14 seconds, over 15 minutes longer than the previous record and to make it a little more difficult for future contenders trying to break the new records.

It is always refreshing to see dive shops promote diving feats and accomplish goals. Sunreef Scuba Diving Services is a one stop dive shop located in Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast and has what it takes to get the

job done. Congratulations to the Dive Team, the Dive Support Team and the Sponsors on a great day out.

The sponsors are and we thank them ever so much…Bokissa Island Resort Vanuatu – holiday, Oceanic – donating the dive tank, drysuits and lots of goodies, Scuba Pro Uwatec – goodies to give away, LePrint – team Tshirts,

Cobb Creative – Advertising & Design, Signmaker – signs around the dive tank and posters, Apollo – drysuit, Sunshine Plaza Lend Lease – the venue, media releases and tank water, Padi – contribution to getting the dive tank to the venue.

Congratulations to Joshua Liddle of North Queensland who won the Bokissa Dive Holiday and was wrapped! "It made my day and helped me get through my exams!"

For more photos of the World Record please go to our website:

Cliff Etzel
Cliff Etzel
Cliff is the former Freediving editor of He is now a freelance journalist and film-maker.