South African Surfer Josh Enslin Sets Guinness World Record For Longest Surf Session

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At twelve 0’clock in the afternoon on Saturday, November 14th, Josh Enslin entered the water with his surfboard in hand at Pollock Beach, South Africa. He wouldn’t emerge from the waves until Sunday evening at eleven minutes past six o’clock, setting the world record for the longest surf session with a total of 30 hours and 11 minutes in the water. The previous record holder, American surfer Ben Shaw, surfed for 29 hours and 27 minutes at Kure Beach, North Carolina, in 2014.

The event, which was documented by a team of four cameramen and eight judges, adhered to Guinness World Record guidelines. Judges were required to count every wave Enslin surfed, and time him during 10 minute breaks which were allotted every two hours. His final wave count of 455 - about one wave every four minutes - reveals the astounding nature of Enslin’s surfing feat.

(Photo: Kody McGregor)

Leading up to his record breaking surf, Enslin applied a rigorous training regiment to prepare himself physically. “In the past two months I increased the amount of days I surf per week. I also practiced MMA and BJJ to strengthen my inner core,” Enslin told Tower. “On days with no swell, swimming at the gym has helped my cardio.”

He was prepared as he’d ever be physically, but what Enslin couldn’t prepare for was the mental strains of tormentous wind and cold. In an interview after the event, he described the experience of being in the ocean for more than thirty hours as “four seasons in two days.”

"The toughest part for me was the 2:00am to 4:00am stretch. Conditions were freezing, fatigue had set in, and my body was freezing. The waves had picked up as well, so I was duck diving all the time."

But the cold wasn’t the only tribulation Enslin would have to face. Near the end of the session, he described his shoulders feeling as if they were “going to snap off of [his] body,” and during the 25th hour, he developed arc eye - that is, his right eye went temporarily blind due to intense wind and water damage. During the night, Enslin used three precautionary shark POD’s - also known as “Protective Oceanic Devices" - to repel sharp-toothed stalkers. Still, Josh Enslin surfed on.

(Photo: Kody McGregor)

“It was every bit as hard for me as my friends and family said it would be. I wouldn’t have had it any other way looking back on it now,” Enslin explained. “The harder it was, the bigger the reward.”

Enslin's successful attempt at breaking a Guinness World Record was not only a personal victory, but also a communal one. The South African surfer partnered up with CYOH Surf Club for the publicized event, where they were able to raise 30,000 ZAR ($2,000+ USD) for the CYOH Charity Drive. The money and donations they earned, Enslin explained, would be used to provide underprivileged surfers and street children in and around Port Elizabeth with surf equipment, blankets, clothing, and canned foods.

His record breaking surf session speaks to the 30 year old South African’s resilience when it comes to making his dreams a reality. Not many are able to shatter the world record for longest surf session while simultaneously aiding the state of the community at large, but Josh Enslin made it look easy. As he confidently ran out of the water after his 30 hour and 11 minute surf, seemingly unfazed, he was lifted onto his teammates shoulders and doused with champagne.

“I really want to thank my fiancé, [my] mom and dad, my stepdad, and all my family and friends for the support,” said Enslin. “Nothing can describe the feeling. Just pure bliss.”

Josh Enslin and CYOH Surf Club would like to thank the many sponsors that made the event possible: Billabong, Ivor Smith Electrical, Trauma Net, Green Secure, Chevrolet, Surge Point, Innerview, Cape Courts, Lifestyle Contractors, DPI, The Boardroom, Chingadas Mexican Cantina, Red Bull, VonZipper, X-Tra Foam, NutriTech, Nixon, Cuyler Butchery, PEFSA, Coffee's Up, Millers Local, The Boardtalk, and Nelson Mandela Boardriders.

(Photo: Kody McGregor)


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Stephan Aarstol is an American internet entrepreneur and author of the book The Five Hour Workday, which is based on Tower Paddle Boards' invention of the 5-hour workday in 2015 that would eventually spread the idea to over 10 million people worldwide. Since founding Tower in 2010, it has gone on to become one of America's fastest growing companies and Mark Cuban's best investment in the history of Shark Tank. Tower has diversified into a direct to consumer electric bike company called Tower Electric Bikes, a beachfront event venue called Tower Beach Club, and NoMiddleman.com, where consumers can shop all the world's finest direct to consumer brands from one easy place.