Monday 10th December 2012; — Mike Board has officially claimed his place as Britain’s deepest man; at the Vertical Blue competition last month he pushed the men’s Constant Weight record of 91m to 92m, 94m and finally 96m. He attempted 100m to become the first Brit to officially cross the line, but despite being conscious on the surface was disqualified for forgetting to remove his noseclip.
Mike had already made his mark on British freediving with two National Records in the discipline of Free Immersion (pulling himself down and up a submerged, weighted rope) to a maximum depth of 83m. These records, and his closest of misses at the 100m, really solidify Mike’s reputation as an outstanding freediver.
The competition got off to a wobbly start as nerves got the better of Mike in this, his first, attempt at the lauded CWT title. On 20th November Mike turned early at 88m on his first attempt at 92m, however two days later managed to pull the record out of the bag with a dive to 92m in two minutes and 50 seconds.
With the record secured, the pressure was off, and things began to get very exciting for the British freediving instructor and owner of freediving school, Freedive Gili in Indonesia. On 26th November, Mike did a far more comfortable dive to 94m one second faster than his previous record, and on 28th he hit an incredible 96m the same depth as fellow Briton Sara Campbell’s former World Record in two minutes 51 seconds.
Buoyed by his success Mike decided to take a risk on his final dive and attempt the magic 100m. To all intents and purposes it was a clean, successful dive, however the protocol of competition requires that a diver removes all facial equipment before giving the ‘OK’ sign to the judges. Mike forgot to remove his noseclip, thereby disqualifying this attempt as an official British record.
Mike said: After having narrowly missed the National Record at the Worlds in Kalamata last year I set my sights on Vertical Blue to really test my ‘depth legs’. Equalisation looked like being my main barrier to achieving it, but with a few tweaks, which clearly worked, any by increasing the speed of my dives to reduce my hypoxia at the end of the dives, I not only stole the record from Dave King, but I broke my own record twice over! The Worlds are being held again in Kalamata next year and you can put money on me attempting the 100m once more officially then! For now it’s back to work in Gili, and training whenever I can find the time and depth.
Liv Philip, one of the UK’s top female divers, was also at Vertical Blue, and came third in the No Fins category with a dive to 50m, and an excellent fourth place overall after a very tough and tight battle with Japan’s Tomoko Fukuda.