Name: Kim Inge
Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Occupation: RN, pistol shooting competitor, technical diver, second woman ever to complete a 650 foot rebreather
Kim Inge gets down…650 feet down! She’s the second woman to ever complete a 650 foot dive on a rebreather, a dive that, to many less passionate, less determined divers, would be impossible.
Only eight years ago, Kim was a novice, but she was so in love with the sport that she took 100 dives in her first six months alone. “When you first get certified you’re certified to dive to depth of 60 feet,” she says. “From there I pursued advanced training, what’s referred to as technical training, that eventually took me to depths beyond 600 feet.”
This type of technical training allows divers to transition from open circuit scuba diving to what’s known as “rebreather” diving, which is an underwater arena whose risks and rewards transcend normal scuba by far.
“In the simplest sense, rebreathers are a device that allow you to recirculate the gas you’re breathing, thus allowing longer, deeper dives to be completed while carrying a lot less gas than traditional scuba,” Kim explains.
In 2012, Kim was a part of the Add Helium Dive Team which made it to a whopping depth of 652 feet below. On May 30th, with a group of support divers, photographers, and two deep divers, with a medical team on the surface, the Add Helium team went under.
“The dive took six hours to complete,” Kim says. “We descended down the wall of the Grand Cayman trench. The light began to fade as we made our way deeper and deeper. In seventeen minutes we had reached our target depth and began our long, slow ascent to the surface. When you dive beyond recreational depths in scuba, you can no longer ascend directly to the surface, doing so would cause decompression illness, or “the bends.” We spent the next 5.5 hours doing decompression stops from 400 feet to the surface.”
This kind of molasses-like ascent is extremely challenging to a diver’s body and mind, so Kim trained hard to prepare, spending an average of four hours a week on cardio and implementing a high-protein, low-fat diet.
“I pushed harder in those training sessions than I ever had before, because my life was going to depend on it,” Kim says. “With luck, and all our training, we made it through without any complications. That dive made me the second woman to ever go to 650 feet on a rebreather.”
Kim’s cave diving experiences are physical feats, and they’re life-changing as well. “On a cave dive, you’ve got to be ready to handle any emergency that can arise, you have to keep a level head and deal with it to ensure your survival. The reward is some of the most beautiful geological formations and works of art from mother nature you’ll ever see, and a peace and serenity. Engulfed in darkness, enclosed in what could be a watery tomb, there’s this calmness and beauty that washes over you. No matter what is going on in your life topside, it all goes away in a cave,” she says.
In February Kim and her boyfriend are competing in a 12-13 mile obstacle course called the Tough Mudder. Designed by British Special Forces, it tests competitors’ strength, determination, and mental fortitude. With all the courage and ferocity that Kim’s proven she has in spades under the sea, there’s no doubt that she’ll make it in the mudder!
Kim’s advice for other ladies who are thinking of taking on an untraditional hobby? She says go for it! “My greatest personal growth comes from those times when I’m willing to step outside my comfort zone and push myself to try something new or scary. From each success I gain strength to face the next challenge. It’s only our thinking that limits us.”
For her determination to go deep and her sea-to-surface strength, we think Kim Inge is a very Cool Girl!
So cool Kim. Long way away from DB California and when I saw you last! You are an inspiration.
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