AIDA Spotlight - Meet William Trubridge: An AIDA Athlete, World Record Holder, and Instructor Trainer
How long have you been Freediving?
I was brought up on a boat. I was brought onto the boat when I was only a year and a half, so I learned how to swim very soon after I learned to walk. My earliest memories from childhood were spending most of the day in the water, in the Caribbean, then the Pacific Ocean as we lived on the boat and traveled from island to island.
You couldn’t really call that freediving, but as we got older, around eight years old, my brother and I had a rivalry to see who could go the deepest. We would snorkel down progressively deeper and deeper. We got to 15m with the primitive freediving equipment that we had in the 1980s, huge fishbowl masks, and plastic fins.
It wasn’t until I was 22, that I actually found out about the sport of freediving and decided to give it a go. So that’s kind of where I started freediving properly. Very soon I became impassioned by it and fell in love with the sport, and I decided to dedicate my life to it as much as possible.
What is your favorite thing about freediving?
This is a question I get asked a lot as well. There are so many different directions that I can take it because there isn’t one favorite thing.
In the physical experience sense, the feeling of being under the water and being an aquatic sea creature and being integrated into that underwater world. To be able to play with dolphins in their own games, to be able to explore underwater caves and encounter all kinds of different marine life, to be able to swim alongside whales, all those experiences are incredible.
But then there is also the experience it gives us of ourselves, the internal experience that is possible through freediving, and I don’t know if that is possible in any other sport. The ability to really experience what you are in essence, which at the end of the day is pure consciousness because everything, our bodies, our feelings, our senses, and even our own thoughts themselves are just information that is just getting communicated to that awareness.
Freediving, in many cases, allows you to strip away everything so you can experience that pure spec of consciousness. We get it in deep dives, and we get it in deep hangs. You feel like you have no thought, no body. There are many reasons why freediving has that effect -- the lack of gravity, the reduced stimuli to your senses, there is no light, no sounds. But I think the water just has a calming effect to it. Even if you are just at the beach playing in the water, it has that effect. It is very difficult to think of past worries or future concerns when you are in the water, and it seems that the deeper you go, the more that happens, the more that it just concentrates you to what you are now, which is just consciousness and awareness.
So those two parts, physically and mentally, but also spiritually and existentially - it creates a more meaningful experience of our true nature.
I have been actively competing in competition and world record attempts since 2006, so 16 years now. During that time, AIDA has always been the archetype of performance and the standard for world records in the sport. I am also an AIDA Instructor Trainer; I teach AIDA courses in the Bahamas and elsewhere. I feel like AIDA has the right balance of democracy and representation globally, without corporate interests.
For our little sport, AIDA has always tried its hardest and has done a good job.