Monday, May 27, 2024

Vertical Blue 2023 Day 1: Arnaud Jerald Sets New Freediving World Record


France’s Arnaud Jerald set a new World Record in the Constant Weight Bi-Fins (CWTB) freediving discipline with a dive to 122m/400ft during Day 1 of the Vertical Blue competition at Dean’s Blue Hole in the Bahamas.

Jerald said about his dive:

“I was feeling really comfortable because of the amazing VB safeties around me and because this competition that William Trubridge has organized is amazing. I am very happy to have made this dive as it is an accomplishment in recognition of all of the training I did this winter in Marseille with my partners.”

According to Vertical Blue’s chief of safety Marco Cosentino:

“Today at Vertical Blue 2023 by Garmin we witnessed an incredible dive by Arnaud Jerald – one of the most impressive freedivers of his generation. Arnaud’s surface protocol was clean and strong, and I can imagine he will reach even greater depths at this competition.”

Arnaud Jerald (Image credit - Daan Verhoeven)
Arnaud Jerald (Image credit – Daan Verhoeven)

Two New National Records

A pair of women’s national records also fell on Day 1.

South Africa’s Talya Davidoff set a new national women’s record in the Free Immersion (FIM) discipline with her dive to 78m/256ft.

Talya Davidoff (Image credit - Daan Verhoeven)
Talya Davidoff (Image credit – Daan Verhoeven)

Uruguay’s Vanessa Estol set a national record in the Constant Weight (CWT) discipline with her 53m/174ft dive.

Vanessa Estol (Image credit - Daan Verhoeven)
Vanessa Estol (Image credit – Daan Verhoeven)

Not So Smooth Sailing

It wasn’t smooth sailing for everyone, though: 11 competitors saw red cards on Day 1.

The USA’s Enchante Gallardo was gunning for a 100m/328ft CWT dive, but suffered a blackout. Taiwan’s Yum Chieh Ku had targeted a FIM national record dive of 110m/361ft but also blacked out. His countrymen Wen Hsiang Huang and Yi Xian Zhang didn’t fare much better: Huang on his Constant Weight No Fins (CNF) dive got to his target depth of 70m/230ft but blacked out on the way back up, as did Zhang with his 64m/210ft attempt.

Mexico’s Pepe Salcedo was going for a 103m/338ft national record dive, but blacked out on the way up.

Another five red cards were earned due to failed surface protocols:

* Turkey’s Sahika Ercumen (95m/312ft national CWT record attempt)
* Italy’s Davide Carrera (130m/427ft national CWT record attempt)
* Taiwan’s Hua Yang Huang (117m/384ft national CWT record attempt)
* Tunisia’s Walid Boudhiaf (117m national CWT record attempt)
* Chile’s Simon Bennett (74m/243ft CWTB attempt)

(NOTE: If you’re new to competitive freediving, one of the strong points of this competition is the world-class safety and medical team that helps keep the competitors safe and healthy.)

Check out the full results and a replay of Day 1’s action below.

Vertical Blue 2023 by Garmin - Day 1, Session 1
Vertical Blue 2023 by Garmin - Day 1, Session 2
Vertical Blue 2023 by Garmin - Day 1, Session 3

Photos Courtesy of Daan Verhoeven.  Additional Reporting by Francesca Koe in the Bahamas

John Liang
John Liang
John Liang is the News Editor at He first got the diving bug while in High School in Cairo, Egypt, where he earned his PADI Open Water Diver certification in the Red Sea off the Sinai Peninsula. Since then, John has dived in a volcanic lake in Guatemala, among white-tipped sharks off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, and other places including a pool in Las Vegas helping to break the world record for the largest underwater press conference.