International Surfing Day. It might not be the biggest day on your calendar, but it’s definitely a day; a day designated to the celebration of all things surf-based. Of course, for obvious reasons, some places are more into International Surfing Day than others.
Huntington Beach (a.k.a. Surf City) in South California, is one place that by virtue of its nickname and location feels duty-bound to go all-out in its honouring of ISD. This year, the year 2015, they really decided to take things up a notch or two. Aiming to break not one but two Guinness World Records, in the categories of ‘World’s Largest Surfboard’ and ‘Most People Riding a Surfboard at Once.’
Did they achieve what they set out to achieve?…Yes.
The previous record, which involved a measly 47 people surfing on the same board, was set by Australia in 2005. The initial hope at Huntington Beach, for this record-breaking attempt, was that the specially-built surfboard would hold anywhere up to 60 surfers.
Incredibly, it ended up holding 66 (breaking the decade-old record, as a result, by almost 20). Professional surfers, and US Open winners, Brett Simpson and Lakey Peterson were just two of the people who helped to turn this incredible dream into a reality.
A whopping 5,000 people gathered on the beach and pier to watch as the 1,300-pound, 42-foot board, was towed out into the Pacific. And despite fears that the waves were not big enough to provide the force needed to carry the board for the required 10 seconds of surfing, the attempt was ultimately successful.
Rules stated that if a rider fell off the board, or crouched down to touch it with their hands, the record could be jeopardised. To the relief of everyone involved, all of the 66 surfers held their nerve and, more importantly, their balance. In the end, the wave that came in carried the board for 12 seconds (beating the required time by 2 seconds).
The Big Board will make an appearance in the city’s Fourth of July parade, before ending up as permanent attraction at the International Surfing Museum in Downtown Huntington Beach. We’re not exactly experts on this tourist attraction’s layout, but we imagine the surfboard will be taking pride of place in one of the museum’s larger rooms.