SPORT Sunny Boy: Plunging into the Depths with Arthur Guérin-Boëri and Morgan Le Faucheur

3 min

Join Arthur Guérin-Boëri and Morgan Le Faucheur as they delve into the making of an extraordinary sporting achievement and the documentary it inspired: Sunny Boy.

Over two and a half years, TAG Heuer and the ALMO Film team followed the journey of Nice’s freediving sensation, Arthur Guérin-Boëri. They captured his rigorous physical and mental preparation as he aimed to shatter not just one, but two under-ice freediving records.

The result? A captivating 55-minute documentary that takes us beneath the icy surfaces of Canadian and Finnish lakes, as well as the familiar waters of Nice and Paris. “This was uncharted territory for us,” admits director Morgan Le Faucheur, who spent months chronicling the extraordinary feats of France’s most accomplished freediver.

The story of Sunny Boy begins with the encounter between Morgan Le Faucheur and Arthur Guérin-Boëri, orchestrated by another freediving champion and Arthur’s friend, Guillaume Néry.

“I had previously collaborated with Guillaume and stumbled upon Arthur’s social media. I was intrigued,” shares Le Faucheur. “Arthur was determined to break two under-ice dynamic apnea records—a discipline where one strives to cover the greatest possible distance on a single breath. ALMO Film, known for winter sports films, had never explored the under-ice realm. We were thrilled to embark on this new venture.” With substantial backing, including from TAG Heuer, the project came to fruition months later.

No Records Without Challenges

In 2021, following rigorous training, Arthur set a new benchmark in Finland, swimming 120 meters beneath the ice in 2-degree Celsius water at Lake Sonnanen, without fins or suit. The next year, he conquered the frigid waters of Canada’s Morrison’s Quarry Lake, establishing a new absolute record: 105 meters under the ice, without fins or a suit, in 0.7-degree water.

Why these locations? “They were chosen because the records needed to be set under a sea-level frozen lake, and such places are rare,” explains Arthur Guérin-Boëri.

Needless to say, overcoming the chilling water temperatures was a formidable challenge. “The icy water temperature was the worst part to manage,” admits Arthur Guérin-Boëri.

“For us, the goal was to translate that intense cold to the viewers,” adds Le Faucheur. “While the achievements of a motocross rider making a 25-meter jump, a snowboarder descending a huge mountain, or a surfer catching a wave in Hawaii, are visually striking, conveying the sheer brutality of submerging oneself in near-freezing water is a different challenge.”

A Discipline Intimately Tied to Time

For a freediver, navigating near-freezing waters while deprived of oxygen distorts the perception of time. “It’s all about experiencing time, whether it’s dragging or flying by,” he says. “This intrinsic connection to time makes watchmaking profoundly relevant to freediving.” He describes the phases of his apnea performances: an initial comfortable phase where time seems to accelerate, a prolonged and arduous middle phase, and a final phase where time quickens once more.

“Time is essential, serving as a film’s backbone,” Le Faucheur notes. “This theme recurs, particularly through a timer and in Arthur’s preparatory exercises.”

Will Arthur pursue new records? “I see no compelling reason to,” he reveals. “We must remember, these endeavors are life-risking.” While the future remains uncertain, one thing is undeniable: the pride in creating Sunny Boy. “Among the dozen documentaries I’ve made with ALMO Film, this stands out as one of our most cinematically sophisticated.” To experience it, tune into streaming platforms on March 28 in France or pre-order on Apple TV.