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Australian former pro breaks world’s longest surf record

  • March 18, 2023

40-year-old surfer Blake Johnston on Friday set a record of 40 hours on the water in a single surfing session, breaking the existing record of 30 hours and 11 minutes held by South African Josh Enslin.

He rode hundreds of waves and dodged swarms of jellyfish in his quest to set the 40-hour record in Australia.

Crowds applauding Johnston for shattering the existing record
Blake Johnston was raising money for a youth mental health charityImage: Jane Dempster/AAP/dpa/picture alliance

How did he do it?

Blake Johnston started the surfing session at Cronulla Beach in Sydney at 1 a.m. on Thursday. Large spotlights were used to illuminate the water to help guide him at night. He could take short breaks to eat and drink.

He continued surfing into Friday evening. Johnston rode more than 600 waves in the process.

“I’ve still got a job to do. I said 40 [hours] so I’ll go and give it a crack,” he said to reporters during one of his breaks after passing the previous 30-hour record.

“I’m pretty cooked, yeah, but we’ll push through.”

The rules of the attempt allowed sporadic breaks from the ocean to soothe his eyes with eyedrops, replenish with snacks and water, and apply sunscreen on himself.

“I push myself to the limits with my adventures and to and to prove to myself that I’m worthy and can get through hard times, and that’s when my lessons are learnt.”

Stand-by medics checked his heart rate and blood pressure before allowing him to return to the water.

Blake Johnston surfing as he watches a huge crowd of supporters and friends cheering him on.
A sizeable crowd showed up in Sydney to cheer on JohnstonImage: Jane Dempster/AAP/dpa/picture alliance

The risk of hypothermia was low with water temperature around 24 degrees Celsius (75 degrees Fahrenheit) with March among the warmest periods of the year for oceans in the southern hemisphere and following warm autumnal temperatures in Sydney of late.

Why was he doing this?

Johnston undertook this feat to raise money for youth mental health initiatives in conjunction with the Chumpy Pullin Foundation.

He raised more than AUS$330,000 (roughly $220,000 or €210,000), and timed the attempt to mark 10 years since his father had taken his own life. 

This was not Johnston’s first participation in a marathon test of human endurance.

In 2020, he ran 100 kilometers along the rugged coastline south of Sydney, covering the majority of the trek bare footed.

dmn/msh (Reuters, AFP)


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