Exploration

1,000 Feet Down: Man Sets New Deep-Dive Record

An Egyptian man recently dove more than 1,000 feet below the surface of the Red Sea.

An Egyptian man recently took the ultimate plunge for the sake of science. Setting a new Guinness World Record for the deepest scuba dive, the man dove more than 1,000 feet (305 meters) below the surface of the Red Sea.

When asked why he decided to dive deeper than any person had before, Ahmed Gabr, 41, told the media that he was hoping to prove that humans could survive the conditions of deep-sea immersion, according to Guinness World Records.

Diving off the coast of Dahab, Egypt, Gabr reached a depth of 1,090 feet 4 inches (332.35 meters). The previous record holder for the deepest scuba dive, Nuno Gomes of South Africa, also dove off the coast of Dahab, in 2005, reaching a depth of 1,044 feet (318.21 m). [7 Amazing Superhuman Feats]

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To put these depths into perspective, three American football fields laid end to end would measure 900 feet (274.32 m) long - less than the distance these divers reached underwater. Most recreational scuba divers only dive as deep as 130 feet (40 meters), according to the Professional Association of Diving Instructors.

It took Gabr only about 12 minutes to reach the record depth, which he achieved with the help of a specially tagged rope that he pulled along with him from the surface, Guinness World Records officials said in a statement. However, the trip back up to the surface took much longer - about 15 hours. Returning too quickly from such depths is associated with a number of health risks, such as decompression sickness (also known as the bends) and nitrogen narcosis from excess nitrogen in the brain, which Gabr luckily avoided.

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Gabr has been training for his world record attempt for four years, according to Guinness World Records. In addition to serving as a special forces officer in the Egyptian army, Gabr has also taught as a diving instructor for 17 years.

Original article on Live Science.

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Ahmed Gabr dove over 1,000 feet below the Red Sea to earn his Guinness World Record title.

The sixth year of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series stops in the United States this weekend at a new site: Divers will launch from a platform on the precipice of Hell's Gate (above) in Possum Kingdom Lake, Texas. Men will dive from 27 meters, or the height of an eight-story building, and women will jump from 20 meters. At the first stop of the series in Cuba, participants performed five new dives.

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Orlando Duque, who once scored a perfect 10 on a cliff dive, won the first world series in 2009. The format for the competition includes four dives: two simple and two more difficult. The dive pictured here is a simple dive. Like all cliff dives, he'll enter the water feet-first. "Once you get above 20 meters, you can feel the impact get greater and greater with every meter," said American competitor David Colturi. Some have compared the landing to hitting concrete. "If you hit concrete, you wouldn't go through it, but it's just like a really hard force on all your muscles. If you're off line at all, it feels like someone smacked you with a 2 by 4." Entering feet-first is an adjustment for the divers, the mast majority of whom learned how to competed in pools. Duque, of Colombia, is probably the best at entering the water, said Red Bull Cliff Diving’s Sports Director Niki Stajkovic. "He's kind of like a magician when he goes in the water." 

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This series of frames shows Gary Hunt of the U.K., who won the World Series three years in a row, completing a front double somersault with a half twist in the pike position.  
"There are obviously top dogs, but there are a lot of new guys now and you never know who's going to come up next year," Colturi said. "We don't score country points; it's totally individual, so we're all very friendly and coaching and helping each other."

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This is Russian Artem Silchenko's signature dive, a flying inward somersault pike. 

Although he's the only one to do this dive, he doesn't get to practice it that often. The divers usually train in pools from 10-meter platforms. A dream facility, Colturi said, would have boards of varying heights between 1 and 28 meters. But even if a training facility had a 28-meter platform, the body could only handle a limited number of jumps.

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Duque is starting a flying reverse somersault tuck in this photo. 

Scoring in cliff diving uses the same criteria as Olympic diving. 
"We've created a pool of judges, most of whom have had high-diving backgrounds,' Stajkovic said, including legend Greg Louganis in the Texas competition.

 As the dives progress, scores rise. The degree of difficulty has risen from 5.4 in the first year to 6.4 now -- that can be a 25-point difference in a dive. 

"The required dives haven't changed much," Stajkovic said. "The big difference is the optional dives, where a lot of the competition is won or lost."


"This was my last and winning dive," Colturi said. "It's a reverse twister. It's currently my favorite dive. I didn't learn it until I had finished normal diving, and I haven't been doing it that long. When you're doing a reverse you're standing forward and flipping backward, and then you're flipping and twisting at the same time. You can see all the boats in the picture. That atmosphere was just incredible, with 20,000 Italians watching. There was so much energy and it was such a beautiful day." The whole dive involves a reverse double somersault and four twists. 

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This marks the first year women are competing in the event. Anna Bader of Germany, pictured here, won last year's only female competition in Italy. Three Americans are hoping to challenge her, including Ginger Huber, who scored the highest on a single dive in Italy last year.

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Blake Aldridge, from the U.K, won the first stop of this year's series in Havana. "That's his flying gainor flip," Colturi said. "He's laying out a big reverse flip. He did it well -- he was consistent there, never getting below about 8.5."

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