FREE diver William Trubridge continues to hold his breath for the most sought-after world record in his sport after he blacked out during a recent attempt in the Bahamas.
Trubridge dived 126 metres in the constant weight category, and made his way back but blacked out five seconds after he surfaced and was disqualified.
He held his breath for three minutes and 42 seconds during the attempt at the 2012 Suunto Vertical Blue Freediving competition at Long Island last month.
Free diving rules state competitors must take their masks off, give a thumbs up and stay conscious for 15 seconds after surfacing to avoid disqualification.
But the New Zealander, 32, won the overall competition and broke a national record when he dived 121 metres under constant weight at Dean's Blue Hole, the deepest seawater blue hole known.
Freediving - diving without scuba gear or breathing devices - relies on divers' ability to hold their breath.
Sydney free diver Ant Williams, a friend of Trubridge, said the seasoned diver would continue to live on Long Island and train to break the world record.
''He's been living there for five years and he is very dedicated … he will definitely go for it again, he came so close,'' said Williams.
He said the sports' popularity was limited to about 70 divers in Australia because of a dearth of deep-water holes.
''The sport hasn't grown terribly well here and, because of the continental shelf, you have to travel a long way offshore to train.''
The best spot for divers to train at was only 30 metres near the Spit Bridge in Sydney.
"But it is a spawning ground for bull sharks so none of us likes training there at all."
Williams said there were only about 50 competitive divers in New Zealand but it was the only country to have four people who had dived deeper than 100 metres.
He said training involved spending lots of time at depth to acclimatise the body to water pressure.
''You have to spend a lot of time doing yoga and stretching [because] it is a sport where you need a lot of flexibility in your diaphragm.''
No one has ever died in a competition but Williams said sticking to the rules was a matter of life and death.
Trubridge is the world record holder in both free immersion and the constant no-fins category and was the first person to break the 100-metre barrier unassisted.
He is an Apnea Academy instructor and also operates a free diving school at Long Island.
A Russian free diver, Alexey Molchanov, holds the 126-metre record for the constant weight dive.
Athletes completed 252 individual performances during the nine-day world championship and 65 national and two world records were broken.
The story Switch from deep blue to blackout no bar to pursuit of world diving record first appeared on WA Today.