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American Freediving Records Fall at Caribbean Cup 2016





Kurt Chambers and Ashley Chapman have been whipping up a storm at this year’s Caribbean Cup, an annual freediving competition based on the island of Roatan off of the coast of Honduras. They have collectively set four new nation records, two each, over the course of the seven day event. They both did so in Constant Weight (CWT) and Free Immersion (FIM).

Ashley, who hails from Wilmington, NC, broke her own USA Freediving National Records with a CWT dive on May 28 diving to eighty-three meters / 272 feet surpassing her previous record by one meter / three feet set in 2012. She bettered her FIM record June 1 with a depth of eight-three meters / 272 feet bettering her previous record by two meters / seven feet set at the same event in 2012 in the Bahamas. Ashley’s dives took two minutes forty-one seconds and three minutes twenty-seven seconds respectively.

Kurt, who lives in Kona on the big island of Hawaii, reset his own record in FIM with a dive to ninety-four meters / 308 feet bettering the old record by two meters / one foot set last year at this event. He became the second American to enter the sport’s figurative 100 meter club with a CWT dive of 101 meters / 331 feet on May 31. This dive betters the previous record set by Nick Mevoli by one meter / three feet set in 2013 at this event. Nick’s untimely death later the same year remains the sport’s only fatality in competition. Adam Skolnick’s book One Breath, telling the story of Nick’s life and the incident, has taken Nick’s story well beyond the usual reach of freediving. Kurt’s dives took two minutes fifty-nine seconds and two minutes fifty seconds respectfully.

Ashley won the overall gold for the event tying with Sofia Gomez Uribe of Columbia, winning gold medals in CNF and FIM and a bronze in CWT in the individual events. Kurt won the overall silver medal with a silver medal in CWT and a bronze medal in FIM.

Kurt said, “I was never acquainted with Nick Mevoli, who held the CWT record for the last three years and was the first American to reach 100 meters.  But his accomplishments, though I was envious of them at the time, did provide motivation, as he demonstrated that USA freedivers could still be competitive internationally.  I regret that he and I won’t be able to compete against one another, as we would have enjoyed a close-matched and hopefully friendly rivalry.  Perhaps we could also have been teammates on a strong USA Freediving Team at world championships.”

He stated further, “This record (CWT) means more to me than my previous in FIM because it was harder to earn, the culmination of more work on different skills both in the ocean and pool.  It also remained out of reach for so long that it feels like it took me years of pursuit to accomplish.  To have earned it before the end of the comp, along with hopefully placing well in the overall standing, makes me feel like I got a bit lucky here.  It’s a testament to how favorable the circumstances are at the Caribbean Cup.”

Ashley said, “This training season has been a humbling one…and I’m grateful for that!  I’ve been struggling with depth and my no fins dives have felt hard, but I have used the set back to work on dropping any pride that I’m carrying around. After failing yesterday’s record attempt and letting my pride creep in and make me sour, it felt great to let it all go and just focus on relaxing and being grateful for my dives and my beautiful family.”

Kurt is a long time waterman who has been creating captivating freediving images and teaching freediving through his company Hawaii Freediving. He has been freediving for many years and has been on a record run for the past two years. His breathtaking images can be found on Instagram @chambersbelow .

Ashley is a three-time freediving world record holder having held over ten national records. She teaches freediving with her husband Ren with their company Evolve Freediving. She has been away from competitive freediving for a couple of years having given birth to their daughter Ani in 2014. This competition certainly establishes that she is back in form and picking up where she left off.

Americans Daniel Koval, Ty Rothschild, and Kerry Hollowell are also participating in this event.

The Caribbean Cup is an annual event that is hosted by Esteban Darhanpe of Roatan Freediving in the sheltered waters of West Bay on the island of Roatan. The event headquarters are based at the Mayan Princess Beach and Dive Resort, and The Beach Club San Simon. The event includes all three freediving depth disciplines (Constant Weight CWT, Constant No Fins CNF, Free Immersion FIM) crowning the best of depth; awarding the overall winner with the most points from all three performances. This year’s event featured athletes from thirteen different countries. For more information visit

Constant No Fins (CNF) is one of the most difficult of competitive freediving disciplines, as it requires the athlete to swim to depth and back under their own power with no swimming aids while holding their breath. The athlete may only use arm and leg strokes to perform. The motion is a modified breaststroke style.

Constant Weight (CWT) challenges the athlete to swim to depth and back with the use of fins or a mono fin under their own power while holding their breath.  The athlete is not allowed to contact the competition line other than to recover their tag at depth while turning.  Upon reaching the surface the athlete must perform a surface protocol within fifteen seconds of their return to the surface.  Constant Weight is one of the most respected and contested disciplines in freediving.

Free Immersion (FIM) is the freediving discipline that requires the athlete to pull their way to depth and back using their hands to pull down and up the competition line while holding their breath. It is one of three recognized self-powered disciplines in the diving to depth arena. The other two are constant weight and constant weight without fins.  Both require the athlete to swim to depth and return under their own power.

USA Freediving is a non-profit association founded on a democratic representation of freediving within the United States and internationally. Founded in 2003, USA Freediving brought together a diverse group of 21 founding members, all interested in the development and growth of freediving. In just six months, this highly dedicated group was able to create an association recognized as the voice of freediving in the United States by the international community. The association has grown to over one hundred members with continued growth expected. For more information visit

The International Association for the Development of Freediving, AIDA, is the international sanctioning body for freediving, individual and team competition, and freediving world record attempts. For more information about AIDA visit

Photo: Lia Barrett


Book Release: Diving the Thistlegorm – The Ultimate Guide to a World War II Shipwreck



Diving the Thistlegorm is a unique in-depth look at one of the world’s best-loved shipwrecks. In this highly visual guide, cutting edge photographic methods enable views of the wreck and its fascinating cargo which were previously impossible.

This book is the culmination of decades of experience, archaeological and photographic expertise, many hours underwater, months of computer processing time, and days spent researching and verifying the history of the ship and its cargo. For the first time, Diving the Thistlegorm brings the rich and complex contents of the wreck together, identifying individual items and illustrating where they can be found. As the expert team behind the underwater photography, reconstructions and explanations take you through the wreck in incredible detail, you will discover not only what has been learned but also what mysteries are still to be solved.

Find out more about:

  • One of the world’s greatest dives.
  • Incredible ‘photogrammetry’ shows the wreck and cargo in a whole new light.
  • Meticulous detail presented in a readable style by experts in their respective fields.

About the authors:

Simon Brown is an underwater photographer and photogrammetry/3D expert who has documented underwater subjects for a wide range of clients including Historic England, Wessex Archaeology and television companies such as National Geographic Channel and Discovery Canada. Jon Henderson is Reader in Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh where he is the Director of the Underwater Archaeology Research Centre. With specific research interests in submerged prehistoric settlements and developing underwater survey techniques, he has directed underwater projects in the UK, Poland, Greece, Italy, Egypt, Jamaica and Malaysia. Alex Mustard is a former marine biologist and award-winning underwater photographer. In 2018 he was made an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for “Services to underwater photography”. Mike Postons pioneered the use of digital 3D modelling to visualise shipwrecks, as well as the processes of reconstructing original ships from historic plans. He has worked with a number of organisations including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Historic England and the Nautical Archaeological Society.

About the book:

  • Release date 25 November 2020
  • Limited run of Hardbacks
  • RRP £35
  • ISBN 978-1-909455-37-5
  • 240 photo-packed pages
  • 240 x 160 mm

Available to pre-order now from, Amazon, online, and from retailers.

Check back on for a review of the book coming soon!

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Deptherapy’s Dr Richard Cullen becomes a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society



Dr Richard Cullen, Chairman of Scuba Diving Rehabilitation Charity Deptherapy and Deptherapy Education, has been recognised as a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

Fellowship of the Royal Geographical Society is a prestigious Fellowship that is open to those who demonstrate a sufficient involvement in geography or an allied subject through publications, research or professional experience.

Paul Rose, Deptherapy’s Vice Chair, and a world renowned explorer, author, broadcaster, who is a former Vice Chair of the RGS said: 

“This is a huge achievement by Richard. His Fellowship is richly deserved, and a direct result of his steadfast commitment to preserving our oceans through Deptherapy’s very powerful ‘Protecting Our Oceans’ Programme.  I know the top team at the RGS are looking forward to welcoming Richard into the Society.”

The RGS was founded in 1830 to advance geographical research, education, fieldwork and expeditions, as well as by advocating on behalf of the discipline and promoting geography to public audiences.

Paul Toomer, President of RAID, said:

“I have been close friends with Richard for many years and his passion for our seas, even at 70 years of age, is undiminished.  Deptherapy are the world leaders in adaptive scuba diving teaching and are our much valued partners.  Taking UK Armed Forces Veterans who have suffered life changing mental and/or physical challenges and engaging them in major marine biology expeditions, is to most of us beyond the realms of possibility.  The skills these guys have to develop is just awesome.  This is a great honour for Richard, a great honour for Deptherapy, and also for us as their partners.  The diving world must come together to celebrate and acknowledge Richard’s achievement.”

Richard joins some distinguished Fellows of the RGS.  Former Fellows include Ernest Shackleton and many other notable explorers and geographers.

Richard said:

“I am both honoured and humbled to become a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. When I was invited to apply for a Fellowship, I was, which is very unusual for me, lost for words.  I hope it will allow me to take our message of Protecting Our Oceans to a larger audience and to further develop our programmes.  The Fellowship is a recognition of the charity’s work to raise awareness of the plight of our oceans.  The credit belongs to a group of individuals who have overcome massive challenges to let alone qualify as divers but now to progress to marine biology expedition diving”.

For more information about the work of Deptherapy and Deptherapy Education visit

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Sharks Bay Umbi Diving Village is a Bedouin-owned resort with stunning views and a lovely private beach. It is ideal for divers as everything is onsite including the resort's jetty, dive centre and house reef. The warm hospitality makes for a diving holiday like no other. There is an excellent seafood restaurent and beach bar onsite, and with the enormous diversity of the Sharm El Sheikh dive sites and the surrounding areas of the South Sinai, there really is something for every level of diver to enjoy.

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