707 waves in 40 hours: Blake Johnston sets a new record
Blake Johnston has set a new Guinness World Record for the longest-ever surf session.
On Thursday, March 16, 2023, the Australian surfer paddled out at Cronulla Beach, New South Wales, at 1 am.
Blake, who lost his father to suicide in 2013, wanted to raise awareness and funds for mental health through the Chumpy Pullin Foundation.
His goal was to beat the previous record in the hands of Josh Enslin. In 2017, the South African surfed for 30 hours and 11 minutes.
Johnston stayed in the water, catching waves and having fun, night and day, for 40 hours, thus beating the Guinness World Record by a large margin.
Thirty-two hours later, on Friday, March 17, 2023, at 5:07 pm, the former Qualifying Series (QS) surfer had already ridden 533 waves.
Consequently, he also broke a record he aimed at, i.e., surfing 500 waves.
"It is way harder than I anticipated," Blake expressed during his session.
"It's been an emotional rollercoaster. The hardest part physically has been the strain on your body - everything hurts."
Blake Johnston's inspiring surf run ended at around 5 pm.
The Australian rode a total of 707 waves for 40 hours and 7 minutes and raised over $415,000 for the Chumpy Pullin Foundation.
Salt, Sweat, and Tears
He was never alone.
The new Guinness World Record holder had friends and family around him all the time and more than 20,000 people on the beach cheering for him.
The former professional surfer, 40, spent one year preparing for the stunt.
Initially, he was planning to do a 600-mile (965 kilometers) run, but when he learned about the longest surf session record, Blake decided to embrace it.
"I can't put into words what just happened," expressed an exhausted Johnston a couple of days after the historical feat.
"The interest expressed stretching across the globe solidifies that what I'm setting out to achieve is so relevant and needed for so many people."
"My eyes were on fire; I could not even see; my stomach and throat were burning, and from head to toe, I was hurting, but I embraced the discomfort, and I could feel energy and love from everyone in the water and on the beach."
"I now know that any horrible stress or self-doubt I had ever felt during my life especially leading into this event, was just a part of the journey to get me right where I'm meant to be."
"I can't wait to keep riding the waves of life with you, to lead by example through integrity and kindness by influencing by action so we can teach the next generation of kids not only how to survive life's waves of emotion but show we're all capable."
"We can grind to thrive."
The Chumpy Pullin Foundation honors the life of Alex Pullin, an Australian Olympic snowboarder who died in a spearfishing accident off Palm Beach on the Gold Coast.
He was 32.