Monday, December 5, 2022

Vertical Blue 2022: Everything You Need to Know

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In only a few days, the world’s best freedivers will descend on Vertical Blue in the Bahamas for one of the most highly anticipated events on the competitive freediving calendar: Vertical Blue 2022. The New York Times called the competition the “Wimbledon of Freediving” as it’s the most prestigious invitational freediving competition on the planet.

This year’s competition is shaping up to be bigger and better than ever before, with athletes from all over the world competing in a range of disciplines, including Constant Weight (CWT), Constant Weight No-Fins (CNF), and Free Immersion (FIM).

If you’re wondering what all the fuss is about and want to know everything you need to know about Vertical Blue 2022, read on!

When is Vertical Blue this year?

The competition will take place from the 1st of August 2022 to the 11th of August 2022.

Where is the competition held?

The competition is held at Dean’s Blue Hole, a world-famous freediving destination in the Bahamas. The hole is 202 meters / 663 ft deep and is one of the deepest underwater caves in the world. It’s also home to some of the world’s best freedivers, including 18x World Record holding champion William Trubdridge, who will be competing in a range of disciplines throughout the week-long event.

Dean Blue Hole - home of the Vertical Blue Freediving Competition
Dean Blue Hole – home of the Vertical Blue Freediving Competition

Who organizes Vertical Blue?

The competition is organized by world-renowned freediver William Trubridge and his team. They have been running freediving competitions at Dean’s Blue Hole since 2008. The world-class organizing and safety team has overseen some of the most impressive freediving world records ever set.

William Trubridge at Vertical Blue 2016
William Trubridge at Vertical Blue 2016

Who is competing this year?

Some of the biggest names in freediving normally compete and this year is no exception. On the roster of 42 athletes this year we have William Trubridge (New Zealand), Mateusz “Matt” Malina (Poland), Alena Artnik (Slovenia), Jessea Lu (China), Arnauld Jerald (France), Sofia Gomez (Colombia), Alice Modolo (France), Pepe Salcedo (Mexico) and Hanako Hirose (Japan) to name just a few.

With so many talented athletes participating, it’s sure to be an exciting competition!

Alenka Artnik - OriginECN Vertical Blue 2018 - Day 1. Photo by Daan Verhoeven
Alenka Artnik – OriginECN Vertical Blue 2018 – Day 1. Photo by Daan Verhoeven

What Freediving disciplines do athletes compete in?

The main freediving disciplines contested at Vertical Blue 2022 are Constant Weight (CWT), Constant Weight No-Fins (CNF), and Free Immersion (FIM).

  • Constant Weight (CWT) – Probably the most common depth version of Freediving. The diver descends on a using either bi-fins or a monofin and typically a wetsuit and a small amount of weight. The diver cannot pull on any guide ropes or change the weight used.
  • Constant Weight Without Fins (CNF) – In this discipline, the diver wears a wetsuit and a small amount of weight without needing any type of fin. The diver uses only muscle strength to propel them downwards and back up again is generally regarded as the most difficult and pure discipline from a sporting perspective.
  • Free Immersion (FIM) – This discipline is similar to Constant Weight No Fins in that the diver uses only a wetsuit and a small amount of weight; however, in this case, the diver can only use the guide rope for propulsion. You see divers doing this discipline both in a “head down” and “head up” position.

You can read more about the different freediving disciplines in our handy guide.

2021 Vertical Blue (Image credit: Daan Verhoeven)
2021 Vertical Blue (Image credit: Daan Verhoeven)

Will there be freediving world records set?

If history is to go by… most definitely. Vertical Blue is one of the best freediving competitions to watch in terms of pure human achievement. An incredible number of records are typically set – with 12 World Records and 52 National Records in 2021 and 10 World Records and 42 National Records at the 2018 competition. (Vertical Blue was not held in 2019 or 2020)

Who judges the competition?

Vertical Blue is a freediving competition that follows AIDA rules.  AIDA is one of the two main federations that govern freediving competitions, the other being CMAS.  Onsite judges, both in water and out of the water, dressed in their distinctive yellow rash vests, judge each dive and clean surface protocol.

The competitors are kept safe by some of the best safety divers in the world who often cover hundreds of dives a day to keep every athlete safe.

Safety Team and Judges #FacesOfFreediving Photo © Tim Calver/DeeperBlue.com
Safety Team and Judges #FacesOfFreediving Photo © Tim Calver/DeeperBlue.com

How can I watch the competition?

If you can’t make it out to Dean’s Blue Hole, not to worry! Vertical Blue’s organizers have partnered with Diveye to Livestream every competition day. One ticket — US$39.95/~€39.47 — gives viewers access to all the competition days, plus video on demand if you miss the live feed.

That’s fantastic good value, given that visibility at the site is near-perfect (52m/171ft at last measurement) and being able to have a ringside seat to all the action at Deans Blue Hole.

Sign up here for the Diveye video service

Diveye Camera System
Diveye Camera System

How can I find out the results from Vertical Blue?

If you want to find out the highlights and details from every day of the competition, then check back with DeeperBlue.com as our team provides daily updates and wrap up’s throughout the competition. You should also keep an eye out on our socials for highlights from the competition.

We’ve covered every year of the competition since 2008, and you can also browse through our coverage archive while waiting for the competition to start.

Vertical Blue is always an exciting event to watch, so stay tuned to DeeperBlue.com and our social media feeds for updates, and join in the live feed from Diveye to watch in real time.

Feature Photo by Daan Verhoeven

Stephan Whelan
Stephan Whelanhttps://www.deeperblue.com
Stephan is the Founder of DeeperBlue.com. His passion for the underwater world started at 8 years old with a try-dive in a hotel pool on holiday that soon formulated into a lifelong love affair with the oceans. In 1996 he set up DeeperBlue.com and has grown the site to be the most popular diving website and community in the world.

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