Australian surfs 40 hours to break world record
SYDNEY — Australia’s Blake Johnston on Friday shredded the world record for longest surfing session by dodging schools of jellyfish to ride hundreds of waves over 40 grueling hours.
The 40-year-old former surf pro broke down in tears after beating South Africa’s Josh Enslin’s previous record of 30 hours and 11 minutes.
Johnston surfed back to shore in the evening to thunderous applause from the hundreds of supporters who had gathered on Sydney’s Cronulla Beach to watch.
Wearing a black cowboy hat and thermal blanket, he was carried off the beach on his friends’ shoulders after finally hanging up his surfboard.
Raising more than A$200,000 (US$133,000) for mental health, Johnston took up the record to celebrate 10 years after his father’s death by suicide.
He rode more than 700 waves to set the record and braved pitch-black seas that are home to many species of sharks.
“I still have a job to do. I said 40 (hours) so I’ll go and try,” he told reporters earlier in the day after beating the previous 30-hour record.
“I’m pretty cooked, yes, but we’re going to see it through.”
Johnston ended up surfing for more than 40 hours – starting at 1am on Thursday and using large spotlights to illuminate the water – but his official record time wasn’t immediately known.
Under the rules of the trial, he was allowed to sporadically leave the ocean so he could soothe his eyes with eyedrops, stock up on snacks, and lather up with sunscreen.
Medics would check his heart rate and blood pressure before he plummeted back into the swell.
As Sydney is hit by a small heatwave, the water temperature will fluctuate by a balmy 24 degrees Celsius (75°F), which reduces the risk of hypothermia.
– ‘Only 30 hours’ –
Johnston originally planned to raise money by tackling a 1,000-kilometer (620-mile) run, but decided to surf after seeing the previous record was “only” 30 hours.
“I thought I might just do it,” he said before the attempt.
“I push myself to the limit with my adventures and to prove to myself that I’m worth it and that I can get through tough times, and I take my lessons from that.”
He figured sore ears, dehydration, and sleep deprivation would push his body to its limits.
Johnston’s brother Ben said they had also prepared for the possibility of a shark attack, but it was nothing that worried them.
“I surfed with him at 2 a.m. and the lights actually went out, so it was pitch black,” he told national broadcaster ABC.
“There was a fair amount of jellyfish out there so it was interesting to say the least.”
It’s not the first time Johnston has competed in a marathon test of human endurance.
In 2020, he ran 100km along the rugged coastline south of Sydney – covering most of the distance barefoot.
Source: Crypto News Deutsch