Freediver backs dolphins on epic crossing


Freediver backs dolphins on epic crossing

Picture: Paolo Valenti.

New Zealand freediver William Trubridge has carried out a “dolphin-style” underwater swim across the 14-mile-wide Cook Strait that separates the country’s North and South Islands, coming up for air between each of 930 breath-hold dives along the way.

The nine-and-a-quarter-hour crossing, carried out to raise awareness of endangered dolphins, took place in challenging currents on 15 February, with Trubridge using a monofin to propel him west from the capital Wellington on North Island.

His plan was to cover a distance of about 25m on each dive, followed by an air-break of around 10 seconds.

Trubridge is calling on New Zealand’s government to revise fishing regulations that he says fail to protect critically endangered Hector’s and Maui dolphins, and hopes his feat will draw attention to their plight.

17 February 2019

Hector’s are among the world’s smallest dolphins and found only in New Zealand's waters, while only around 50 breeding Maui adults now remain there. Trubridge described their protection as “a matter of now or never, or they will go past the brink and won’t be able to recover”.

The 38-year-old freediver said he had never swum in the Cook Strait before, or carried out any similar endeavour.

“The whole time I was swimming, I was getting pushed in different directions, north and south and then north again, but in the last stretch I was getting pushed sideways and almost missed the headland,” he told Radio New Zealand.

“If I’d missed that one there was another current from the other side of the headland that could have pushed me straight out to sea, so I was lucky on so many levels.”

He said he had enjoyed the first few hours of the challenge but grown fatigued in the later stages as the water got colder and the currents strengthened.

Trubridge holds the AIDA world record of 102m, set in the Bahamas in 2016, in the Constant Weight Without Fins freediving category.

In the disciplines most relevant to his Cook Strait crossing he has set a personal best in competition of 237m in Dynamic Apnea, as well as 187m in Dynamic Apnea Without Fins.



Get a weekly roundup of all Divernet news and articles 🤿

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Related Divernet Posts

Diver Magazine Relaunch

Diver magazine needs YOU!

Are you still lamenting the demise of Diver magazine? Well now you can help resurrect an icon as we seek to bring back the magazine

manta ray and diver over reef in Komodo

Divers pitch into Komodo manta probe

Manta rays choose to stick around Indonesia’s Komodo National Park in unusually large numbers – and, according to a new diver-led study, this community could

female diver holding pair of Fourth Element Tech fins

Tech fins inspired by humpback whales

Whales provided the inspiration for optimising efficiency in Fourth Element’s latest fins, according to the Cornwall-based manufacturer. The “turbulence disruptors” on top of the blades

Last Breath portrait of Woody Harrelson

Woody dives into Last Breath remake

A new version of the British documentary-thriller that captured the imaginations of divers in 2019 is about to be previewed at the Cannes Film Festival.

Viagra tablet

Viagra and diving: Risk reduction

Awareness is everything in diving, and BOB COLE has advice for divers who, for whatever reason, take PDE5 inhibitors I recently met an old friend

Reefs of Raja Ampat

Reefs of Raja Ampat

Local Guide to Raja Ampat Reefs, #4 Neu Reef While Raja Ampat is home to an incredible number of dive sites, one area, in particular,

Follow Divernet on Social Media