William Winram, at the age of 57, Sets Two CMAS Variable-Weight Freediving Records

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William Winram
Photo Credit: Felix Renaud, Reproduced from Facebook

William Winram dove in the Red Sea with a weighted sled, as in Luc Besson’s movie Le Grand Bleu. But unlike in the movie he swam back to the surface with a pair of fins on a single breath of air, without the use of an airlift bag or the use of the rope for traction on the ascent.

On October 21, 2021 Winram dove to 393 feet (120 meters) and then to 426ft (130 meters) three days later at age 57.

William Winram grew up on Canada’s west coast, where he began free diving and spearfishing at a young age. Surfing, free diving, spearfishing, and sailing were just a few of his favourite activities. My father taught me how to free dive and how to respect the ocean. ‘It is your job to protect the sea if you are going to spend time in it,’ he said. Winram’s passion for the water has moved, inspired, and driven him for more than 40 years. Despite his best efforts to have a good impact on the environment, William began to see significant changes in the ecosystems he was diving in as the years passed.

By the end of 2006, William had risen to second place in a number of disciplines and was top-ranked at global championships. Now, he thought sponsorship money will start flowing in – how incorrect I was! As my competition diving skills improved, I realized that I might be able to use my free-diver position to make a difference. In 2008, the Malpelo Foundation invited him to use my breath-hold diving talents to tag sharks for the Malpelo Foundation in Colombia. It needed the data from tags to better safeguard the scalloped hammerhead shark, which is a highly migratory species. From there, Winram began to consider how he could be of even more assistance. William and his wife and began to look for funding as numerous research missions were being cancelled owing to a lack of funds — in some cases, there was not even enough money to buy tags. They finally found a foundation in Geneva, Switzerland, that was willing to fund us on a small basis in exchange for us becoming a non-profit. The Watermen Project was born out of this.

The Waterman Project

The Watermen Project has been sponsoring research around the world since 2008, by purchasing tags, receivers, and other equipment, as well as tagging sharks for researchers. William’s, as project leader, job entails a variety of tasks, including finding financing, analyzing study papers, determining the best tagging procedures, photographing and filming sharks, organizing expedition boats, and, of course, tagging sharks. Every shark species has its own set of difficulties. Some, like the scalloped hammerhead, are quite shy and pose little threat to our safety, whilst others, like the great white shark, can bite you if you aren’t careful. Since 2009, they have been working on a project at Guadalupe Island that involves putting acoustic tags on great white sharks.

Learn more at: https://saveourseas.com/project-leader/william-winram/

Follow William @ Facebook

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About Author

Kathy is the owner of Kirk Scuba Gear, a passionate Scuba Diver, Ocean Advocate and Managing Editor of The Scuba News Canada

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