1st day of VB14 competition
Terry's Tips for the Top
A Fish-Eye View of the Best of VB2014
With less than 24 hours to go before the start of Suunto Vertical Blue 2014, the temperature's rising here on Long Island. The flags are out, the competition line is in the water, and someone somewhere is making a whole entire shit-load of conch salad to feed the hordes. But who are the movers and shakers? Who's going to come out on top? As usual your very own undercover fish-on-the-wall sees everything:
First up, the Men
Let's not beat around the bush, the home favourite, Kiwi William Trubridge is in outstanding form. Not only is he looking strong in CNF but today he cracked out a FIM dive at or close to 120m as well and looked good on the surface. No-one's quite sure what he's got with the monofin this year, but it's likely to be something more than 115m at least. It's quite likely he'll stick in a big No-Fins dive early on to take some of the pressure of his live televised world record attempt on Tuesday. Hard on his heels is the World Champion, Russian Alexey Molchanov. He undoubtedly has the deepest CWT dive in his back pocket, and will probably give himself at least 2 attempts to get some sort of monster on the board. Will he go for the world record? He might! Despite that, he seems to be focussing his attention more on No-Fins and has been put in a series of dives around the 95m mark. Knowing him, he'll be pushing William as hard as he can. Where he might struggle to make up ground, however, is in FIM.
The Russian's best is a mere 112m (personally I do that before breakfast), whereas Trubridge is the World record holder with a best of 123m. You'd be a fool-fish to discount former world record holder, freediving legend and veteran of the sport, Carlos Coste. Arriving towards the end of his training period from his base in the Dutch Antilles, he's done less diving than he has done standing on the beach, but his personal bests of 116m CWT and 100m+ FIM speak for themselves. Definitely one to watch. He's holding his cards pretty close to his chest but unless he's been training CNF in secret, he might, just might struggle to make 3rd place. The reason for that, and the great hope for Slovenia is relative newcomer Samo Jeranko. He's been in awesome form so far this year, joining the 100 club in training and still looking like he's got more in the tank. He'll probably stick in a 100m CWT early on along and add a deep FIM to keep him in contention. His real strength in the competition, however is his personal best in CNF of 75m which he's rolled out here during the training period too. One of the most consistent divers out here, he's going to be a tough one to beat. Miguel Lozano is uncertain whether he'll compete after a tough training period and a difficult journey here (his diving gear is still in France). A sage decision, perhaps from the Spaniard when the stakes are so high. Tunisian Walid Boudhiaf, has also been a scarce figure at training and seems to be struggling with some mystery ailment, watch this space to see what happens there.
So, (Drumroll please) without Further Ado, Terry's Tips for the Top - VB Men Predicted Winners 2014:
World Records: 2
And Now, for the Women
The Japanese women have been playing it very cool this year. Lots of dives on the smaller platform, away from the main focus of attention... But there's not much hiding from Terry Tarpon. Tamoka Fukuda looks like their best hope for a medal - she's done at least 80m CWT and has a strong No-Fins too. She'll be pushed hard, however, by Russian late-addition Marianna Krupnitskaya who's done 86m CWT in training and has also done 55m in CNF.
Misusu Okamoto will probably clock the deepest CWT of the Women's competition, she's done 90m+ before now, but is unlikely to feature strongly in the other events as she tends to concentrate on monofin. It might be that FIM decides the competition.
Tamoka has done 65m in competition, but little in training here and Marianna has a listed career best of just 50m... surely she can do more than that. It's going to be tough to split them, Marianna looks to be enjoying herself the most of the two, but perhaps Tamoka's greater experience of depth will pay off in the end. It's going to be a nail-biter. Serbian Lena Jovanovic is another lady pushing 80m CWT with a solid 75m in training. She has a decent no-fins too and would probably only have to do something in the high 60s to make third place.
And another Japanese, Sayuri Kinoshita, relatively unknown has some impressive dives over 70m CWT in training and a best of around 50m CNF. Seems like that might not be enough to unseat the Serbian, however. Kate Middleton, too, could well top the table in FIM, and has a decent CWT. She's also a serious contender in the mix.
And so, Obscure though it is, Terry's Tips for the Top Women at VB 2014 are:
1. Tamoka Fukuda (JPN) 2. Marianna Krupnitskaya (RUS) 3. Lena Jovanovic (SRB) World Records: 0 Here is the schedule:
Good luck to all the divers. Stay safe and stay tuned for more updates and predictions from the gills with the skills as the competition unfolds.