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Into the abyss: records shattered in Deja Blue finals

Several national freediving records were shattered at Deja Blue 9 and the Cayman Open National Championships.

You don’t have to venture far from Cayman’s shores to find virtually limitless depths. That’s why many in the free diving community say Cayman is one of the most ideal places for a competition of this sort.

This Sunday, Cayman 27’s cameras joined a few dozen spectators on a 47 foot catamaran – best seats in the house – to watch these incredible athletes take on the record books.

Viewed from the surface, the action comes in small bursts. Freedivers disappear into the abyss, descending to depths of more than 100 meters, all on a single breath.

Its a flurry of activity as divers re-emerge for surface protocol.

“Once you break the surface, you have to remove any facial equipment that you were wearing, and then you have to give the OK symbol with your hand and say ‘I’m ok’ or ‘I am ok’ in English within 15 seconds of breaking the surface,” said Shelby Eisenberg.

She broke the surface after a dive to 85 meters, completing surface protocol to the applause of those in attendance. With the white card earned, she seals a new women’s US national record.

“I usually just take it second by second, kick by kick,” she said of her approach to the dive. “There is a lot of thinking that goes on, but it is thinking about exactly what you were doing in that second, and when that second is gone, you are on to the next part of the dive.”

“Today, I was diving to 101 meters and then I felt so good on the way down,” said Tomoka Fukuda.

Her world record attempt was off to a good start, but she ultimately failed the surface protocol, blacking out shortly after surfacing.

“I was trying to get the world record here, but I couldn’t make it,” she told Cayman 27. “Next time I will try again.”

“The highlight for me really was being the first,” said Richard Collette.

Mr. Collette set four national records on his way to a first in the Cayman open, and a third in Deja Blue. He’s also the first Caymanian to break the 200 foot barrier.

“Everybody wants to hit the next marker, so 200 feet is one of those, it’s a right of passage I guess,” he said.

Deja Blue 9 – women’s results:

  • 1st – Adriana Brandao – Brazil
  • 2nd – Britney Ouellette – Canada
  • 3rd – MandyRae Krack – Canada

Deja Blue 9 – men’s results:

  • 1st – Kurt Randolph – USA
  • 2nd – Nathaniel Leazer – USA
  • 3rd – Richard Collette – Cayman Islands

Cayman Open National Championships – women’s results:

  • 1st – Tayla Davidoff
  • 2nd – Britney Ouellette
  • 3rd – Kristiina Unukuri

Cayman Open National Championships – men’s results:

  • 1st – Richard Collette
  • 2nd – Guy Rogers
  • 3rd – Bartek Jeske

About the author

Joe Avary

Joe Avary

Joe Avary has been with Cayman 27 since 2014. He brings 20 years in television experience to the job, working hard every day to bring the people of Cayman stories that inform the public and make a difference in the community. Joe hopes his love for the Cayman Islands shines through in his informative and entertaining weather reports. If you have a story idea for Joe or just want to say hello, call him at 324-2141 or send an email to

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