Croatian Diver Budimir Šobat Featured in Guinness World Records for Longest-Ever Breath Hold!

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Nikola Cutuk / PIXSELL
Nikola Cutuk / PIXSELL

A new world record for static apnea free-diving has been set in a pool in Sisak, Croatia, on the 27th of March, 2021. Ranked as one of the best divers in the world, according to the International Association for the Development of Apnea (AIDA), Budimir Šobat, better known as Buda, held his breath for a total time of 24 minutes and 33 seconds superseding his last successful attempt 3 years ago by an impressive 22 seconds.

Featured in the Guinness World Record published by Connie Suggitt on May 12, 2021, the celebrated Croatian diver proudly declared that the inspiration behind this feat was once again his daughter – who has been battling cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and autism throughout her life. When asked how he overcame the difficulties and dangers that come along with attempting a record like this, Buda answered: “The greatest motivation of all is my 21-year-old daughter, Saša, who has autism. My results are giving me the media space, and then I can speak about autism awareness”. And even though the earthquake damage made it “almost impossible” for him to train during the beginning of this year, the 56-year-old diver persevered through his rigorous training and managed to perfect his breathing technique just a few weeks after resuming – making the impossible, possible.

He also mentioned that focusing on his heartbeat was the key to win in this mental sport – as how he views static apnea diving to be. After hyperventilating himself with pure oxygen for 30 minutes (the maximum amount of time allowed as per guidelines to ventilate before an attempt), he managed to stay underwater for 22 seconds more than the record he had set 3 years ago. “While I am doing my maximum static apnea, I have my eyes closed and all I am focused on is to try to hear my heartbeat. Once I heard it I became calm and ready to fight the time.”, he revealed.


Nikola Cutuk / PIXSELL

What makes this man even more remarkable is that he creates a platform through these events to raise awareness for people with disabilities. Last February 24, 2018, Buda dove as part of the “I’m Not Breathing” campaign in Zagreb which supported the autism centre his daughter goes to, and where he also successfully obtained the Guinness World Record for longest breath held voluntarily (male division) with a record of 24 minutes and 11 seconds. However, this year, the event was created to bring awareness and to raise funds for his hometown, Sisak, which was heavily affected by the recent major earthquake in Croatia that happened last December 2020. “We hope to raise some money for people in need because earthquakes destroyed the whole city of Petrinja,” Buda said in an interview for Net.Hr. The funds collected will be used for the reconstruction of the Room of Miracles (Soba Čuda) of the Association of Persons with Disabilities of the Sisak-Moslavina County, whose premises were severely damaged by the recent earthquake.

Proving to all of us that the only person one should try to be better than is oneself, Buda claims his age does not hold him back at all. Quite the contrary, he believes it helps him persevere through the hardships so he could achieve even better results.

“I am addicted to training of any kind so I have no problem with motivation and I never stop dreaming about achieving the top results despite my age. Now I have proved that everything is possible if you are strong and dedicated. In fact, my age gave me a benefit of experience to stay calm at the critical moments.”

Guinness World Record reports that the previous record was 24 min 3.45 secs, held by Aleix Segura Vendrell in Barcelona, Spain, on 28 February 2016.

The first documented attempt was by Robert Foster (USA), who voluntarily held his breath for 13 min 42.5 sec under 3.05 m on 15 March 1959.

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