Famous US magician and illusionist David Blaine spent a few days under the waters of Grand Cayman recently doing a film shoot for an underwater TV magic show and in training for a new underwater stunt.
Mr. Blaine joined his dive trainer here for a few days at the end of March.
Trainer and Coach of the Performance Freediving Team Kirk Krack is also Mr. Blaine’s dive trainer and is working with him on a forthcoming submersion stunt.
The Performance International Freediving Team was in Grand Cayman training for the month of March and stayed to break world records into the first week of April for Sink Faze Cayman 2006.
Team Performance Freediving International six-time World Record Champion Mandy-Rae Cruickshank and nine-time World Record Champion Martin Stepanek will work alongside Mr. Krack as the primary safeties and coaches during the submersion stunt.
Mr. Blaine’s underwater stunt will involve him spending seven days submerged in a water-filled container in New York. The culmination of this will be that before climbing out of the tank, to be located at the Lincoln Centre for the Performing Arts, Mr. Blaine will remove his air supply and try to break the record for holding breath, currently set at eight minutes 58 seconds.
The finale of his latest stunt will air live in a two hour ABC special on 8 May. An inside look at his training will be shown on the ABC special ‘David Blaine: Drowned Alive’. This will also possibly include the footage of magic stunts filmed underwater in Grand Cayman.
He will float in a specially built eight-foot acrylic sphere during the submersion stunt. Media reports say he will receive liquid nutrition through a tube and the water will be kept at a balanced temperature to help keep his core temperature close to 98.6 degrees F.
Nancy Easterbrook of Divetech confirmed that her dive company organised a charter service for Mr. Blaine and the dive group.
She explained that a diver has to be very accomplished at freediving to pull off the stunts Mr. Blaine achieves in the shoot they filmed underwater here.
When asked if he enjoyed the Cayman Islands as a destination, Mrs. Easterbrook said, ‘He certainly seemed to’. Mr. Blaine stayed at a condo complex in West Bay.
He also accomplished his goals, and the visibility under water while he was here was unbelievably good, she said.
The team spent a long time each day at work shooting TV footage and practising.
Mrs. Easterbrook knows the magician’s trainer Mr. Krack very well, as he worked for her and Divetech years ago, and between them they introduced the concept of free diving to the Cayman Islands, she said. Indeed, she added, the regulations that they had approved for it are now the basis of those used in world free diving.
‘Kirk knows the island, us, the dive sites and the water conditions here, so it was very comfortable and conducive to what they needed to come here for,’ she commented.
Mrs. Easterbrook explained that Grand Cayman is the perfect destination also because if conditions are not great for diving on one side of the island, there will be places that it is.
When asked if the Cayman Islands will be mentioned on the TV show, Mrs. Easterbrook said she hoped so.
Freediving or breath-hold diving is a sport where athletes compete in disciplines involving time, depth and distance with different sub categories in each.
Also, recent coverage of the Cayman Islands because of the Free Diving event came from ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s The Today Show.
The magician and illusionist previously spent 44 days in a glass box for a starvation stunt in London in 2003.
Other previous acts of endurance include balancing on a small platform for thirty-five hours and surviving inside a massive block of ice for sixty-one hours, both of which were performed in New York.