Bill and Leigh Baker
Leigh and Bill Baker will be attending Vertical Blue for the first time, as part of the medical component of VB Safety 2016. They live in Western Washington state, on an island located in the Puget Sound. They enjoy camping and kayaking on shorelines, surf waves, and rivers. When they are home, they juggle their attention amongst 3 dogs and an ancient, yet demanding cat.
Bill is a Paramedic Firefighter with a large fire department in Washington. He has been a paramedic for over 15 years, and an Emergency Medical Technician since 1988. Having worked in the field of emergency medical services for over 25 years, he is well versed in Advanced Cardiac Life Support, is a Paramedic Advanced Airway Instructor, and is accustomed to performing in remote and dynamic environments. Bill has also worked as a Federal Wildland Firefighter, and is well prepared to provide support for VB 2016.
Leigh has been a Respiratory Therapist for ten years, and before that was a Paramedic for 12 years. She has been trained in and performed in a variety of environments, and is accustomed to the unique challenges that will be potentially presented during the competition. Her curiosity and understanding of the physiologic processes involved with free diving will be a tremendous asset to the competitors and the safety divers.
Leigh and Bill are comfortable in managing airway emergencies, to include using CPAP, positive pressure and a variety of different airways. Although neither are divers, they bring to the team both knowledge and skills to assist the competitors and enhance the margin of safety.
Roberto Berto returns for his second edition as a VB safety diver. He is a passionate waterman from the tropics of Australia. He uses the Great Barrier Reef not only as his workplace, but also his training ground where he continues on his personal advances in freediving. During his relatively short freediving career he has completed dives in free immersion to 71 meters, and constant weight to 62 meters. The challenge and freedom of bi fins is what drives the little man (just like Stephen Keenan) to personal advances of 150 meters dyn. From the days of Scuba instructing on the reef he has been involved in many different facets of the marine industry from skippering vessels, to commercial diving and guiding spearfishing adventures. He now enjoys his time away from being the manager of Diversworld playing in the lush rainforest and abundant waters of the Barrier Reef.
Steve returns to Vertical Blue for a second time as Chief of Safety, making it his third edition in total, having worked at the competition in 2014 as platform coordinator. He also previously worked as a safety diver in Kalamata at the world Depth Championships in 2013. Steve has been active in freediving since 2009 when he discovered the sport in Dahab, where he still lives, and now runs a freedive school, Dahabfreedivers. Stephen is an AIDA Instructor trainer and has taught and coached hundreds of divers both in Dahab and the Philippines. He is also a competitive diver and the holder of all his national depth records. He is from Dublin and returns every summer to watch his beloved Dubs compete in, his other passion, the All-Ireland GAA Championships.
Louisa Collyns is a British freediver, AIDA instructor and AIDA Competition Safety Freediver. She returns for a second time as a member of the Vertical Blue safety team, having been a member in 2013. She has represented the UK at the 2013 World Depth Championships and has performed competition dives in excess of 55m. She has performed safety at various other international competitions in Egypt and the UK, training with and acting as safety regularly for some of the worlds elite. Louisa is an Emergency First Response Instructor and worked for many years as a PADI IDCS Scuba instructor. She has taught Pilates in London (UK) for the last eight years, specializing in rehabilitation. She has also pioneered a 'Pilates for freediving' program and is now based in Ibiza where she organizes retreats and teaches pilates and free diving.
Marco Cosentino is an Italian freediver. This is his 7th participation to the Vertical Blue safety team having been a member for the first time in 2009 edition. Vastly experienced as both an instructor and safety diver, Marco has been teaching under AIDA International and Apnea Academy since 2004. He is a Basic Life Support Instructor and Apnea Rescue Trainer. Marco lives a life on the water. He trains year round freediving and has personal bests below 60m in all disciplines. He is also an experienced sailor and passionate spearfisher. Marco is based in Rome where he teaches freediving.
His promise, "I'll be competing in the VB when I turn 40” with that not too far around the corner, we look forward to seeing if Marco stays true to his word!
Regan is a Kiwi freediver who trains with the Auckland Freediving Club. He is one of the AFC's five AIDA Instructors and an active member of the committee that has helped see the club through a massive growth phase over the past two years, making it the biggest club in New Zealand.
He is also a passionate and experienced sailor, boatie, spearo and fisherman, which means he’s either in or on the water whenever he gets the chance.
Over the years he has competed in many different sports, including kart racing from the age of 8 (with a North Island title at 17), Zen Do Kai martial arts (with a black belt) and several years as a competitive road cyclist.
His professional life involves owning/operating a successful marketing agency and he is also on the board of directors of two not-for-profit organisations in Auckland, New Zealand.
Phil Clayton aka Philnofins has been a competitive Freediver since 2006. Originally from England, Phil set a number of UK national records in DNF including possibly the only national record set on exhale. Phil now competes as a Kiwi and is the current national depth champion (a title contested annually in Lake Taupo and more testament to ability diving in cold dark water than outright depth).
Current PB’s are 200m DYN (exhale), 150m DNF (exhale), 6min STA, 50m CNF, 60m CWT&FIM.
Phil lives in Auckland NZ and has been heavily involved in developing the freediving scene in NZ, having been President of AIDA NZ (now Freeediving NZ) since 2009.Phil ‘s life involves balancing being a director in a large engineering consultancy, training for freediving competition, his role at Freediving NZ, being an AIDA freediving instructor, hunting and gathering underwater and surfski paddling.