Stab Magazine | A 30 hr, 11 min surf sesh is the new (unofficial) world record

A 30 hr, 11 min surf sesh is the new (unofficial) world record

Words by Craig Jarvis |  Photos by Kody McGregor Reckon you’ve ever had a long session? One of those sessions where you just can’t go in because the waves are too good, or because you’re on a mission? I reckon a crazy long session at a place like JBay, for example, where you don’t want […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Words by Craig Jarvis |  Photos by Kody McGregor

Reckon you’ve ever had a long session? One of those sessions where you just can’t go in because the waves are too good, or because you’re on a mission? I reckon a crazy long session at a place like JBay, for example, where you don’t want to go in because it’s just too good, is about five hours absolute max. Any more than that and you’re of your game. Your feet get cold, your body gets stiff, and you actually start surfing like a bit of a cunt. You blow a few take-offs, your timing is out when you’re going off the top, and it all just becomes a bit of a chore. You get chafed, burnt and sore. Even if you plan to surf for a long session and conserve energy, you still get a bit worn out by the elements – the sun, the wind, the water temperature, all sapping your energy.

The longest surf session is actually recognized by the Guinness Book Of World Records, and up until really recently, the record was held by an American surfer and teacher named Ben Shaw, who managed a superhuman effort of 29 hours and 27 minutes. It’s a long session, and it’s under strict Guinness guidelines – which include only short breaks every couple of hours to eat, to go to the gents, and to maybe have a smoke or some crystal meth or something.**

A 30-year-old South African surfer by the name of Josh Enslin reckoned he could easily beat this time, and in the city known as Port Elizabeth, the place where you land when heading down to JBay, he put a plan into action. Josh chased down a few sponsors, set up a few beneficiary charities, and got the support of the city in his attempt to break the world record.


Josh smiling through the early part of the session.

Josh is a pretty good young surfer, and he decided to surf the entire session on a 5’10, garnering much respect from the surf community. The mainstream media obviously didn’t know what he meant when he said that, “I really wanted to stay clear of a longboard as I wanted to surf and do turns – traditional high performance surfing,” but it was good for the surfing community to hear.

Which is exactly what he did during his 30 hours and 11 minutes. He took off and surfed 455 waves. One every four minutes! For 30 hours. Think about that.

Some of them he surfed badly, some of them he surfed really terribly, but some of them, mainly in the beginning of the session, he ripped, as best you can in the three-foot offshore conditions.


Still slicing as dusk approaches.

So what happens when you surf for that long? “Well, my one eye went blind on the 25th hour,” said Josh. “I had arc eyes and couldn’t see a thing out of it.”

That’s 5 hours of surfing with one eye. Derek Hynd would have been proud.

“My shoulders felt like a ton of bricks,” Josh continued about his discomfort. “The salt water and the glare literally ate my eyes, my entire body was cramping and stuff, and pain was an every second reality.”

Regardless of the pain, Josh soldiered on. The only thing that kept him going through the long dark teatime of the soul, the 2am to 4am Sunday morning session, was the mantra that he kept on repeating to himself, ‘Push forward, Monday morning who will look back at you in the mirror?”


Chances are this isn’t a make, but the fact that Josh is still going for turns at this hour is medal worthy.

Then it came. With one eye closed and in a world of pain, Josh realized that he had it. “On the 27th hour I said to myself, ‘I have got this, just stay alive at all costs.”

Three hours and a few minutes later, with a mom, a dad, a step-dad and a bunch of close friends supporting him to the end, Josh was chaired off the beach like he had just won the Triple Crown.

“I was so glad it was over,” said a smiling Josh.

**While meth is freely available in South Africa, Josh is quite a healthy and determined athlete who represents his sponsors with integrity and wouldn’t get involved in gutter drugs like that.


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