Record-breaking freediver William Trubridge celebrated at Wellington's Performance Arcade festival

'Swimmers' is part of this year's Performance Arcade festival in Wellington.
'Swimmers' is part of this year's Performance Arcade festival in Wellington. Photo credit: Trustpower

The brother of freediver William Trubridge has honoured his world record-breaking sibling with a spectacular light show on Wellington's waterfront. 

Sam Trubridge launched his brand new projection piece 'Swimmers' on February 12 as part of this year's Performance Arcade festival.

It follows the success of last year's 'Swans' light projection featuring Royal New Zealand Ballet dancers performing Swan Lake's The Dying Swan. 

Displayed at The Carter Fountain, visitors can have a front-row seat to the spectacular showcase from around Oriental Bay. 

Images of William, who's broken 18 freediving world records, and his partner, Sachiko Fukumoto, a fellow freediver, model and actress, are projected onto the fountain.

It was a natural decision for Sam and William to work together but it's even more special the pair are able to use the water as part of their art.

"We were raised living on a boat as our family sailed around the world. From these formative years to the present day, the two of us have always played and worked together, returning to the sea every time as a source for inspiration and unity," Sam told Newshub.

"As children, we dived, adventured, and made up stories. At university we worked on theatre productions together - the first one was Shakespeare's The Tempest in a swimming pool. I travel every year to the Bahamas to help William run his Vertical Blue freediving competition. This work comes from that shared creativity and love for the ocean."

Record-breaking freediver William Trubridge celebrated at Wellington's Performance Arcade festival
Photo credit: Trustpower

Seeing William succeed on the world-stage makes Sam feel "proud" but he's been a supporter since the beginning.

"In our family, we all do what we do with love and commitment… Seeing my brother achieve greatness is a natural result of his very personal and dedicated journey to explore his own potential."

While the brothers have worked together on William's freediving World Series events before, it's the first time William has contributed to The Performance Arcade - which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year.

It's been a lengthy process planning the Swimmers display with testing and preparing launching in November.

"It seems like a very simple thing when it is playing on the harbour, but a lot of time is spent achieving that image and making it look that simple."

There's also the added element of Wellington's famous blustery winds, which has held up the planning process to a degree.

"If it is above 10 knots (18 km/h) then we can't use the fountain because it blows saltwater onto the houses and cars in Oriental Bay. So sometimes we are waiting up to 1am for the wind to drop so we can test the work," Sam says.

Record-breaking freediver William Trubridge celebrated at Wellington's Performance Arcade festival
Photo credit: Trustpower

But the unique location is also exciting because of the challenges it presents.

"It's about more than just showing a film, which we can do anywhere. I consider the scale of the environment, and how to make a simple and bold gesture that can capture the imagination."

Swimmers was made in partnership with Trustpower, with support from the Royal New Zealand Ballet and Wellington City Council.

Sam says the project wouldn't have been possible without Japanese champion freediver Ryuzo Shinomiya, who shot the footage of William and Sachiko in Okinawa, and video artist Amber Strain who prepared and projects the footage onto the fountain.

The display can be seen every night in Oriental Bay from 9pm to midnight until March 2.

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