Photos, Videos: Huntington Beach Epic Big Board Ride Breaks Two Guinness World Records
Huntington Beach once again earned its official title of "Surf City USA" today when it set out to break two Guinness World Records—and succeeded. Aussies, move aside. Huntington Beach now owns the bragging rights to the "World's Largest Surfboard" and "Most People Riding A Surfboard At Once." Months in the making, the Epic Big Board Ride on the custom-built, 42-foot-long, 1,300-plus-pound board was nothing shy of epic at 66 surfers and 12 seconds.
Thousands of people crowded the Huntington Beach Pier and south side of the iconic structure to witness the successful feat, orchestrated by Visit Huntington Beach, the City of Huntington Beach, and Hurley. Early morning hours saw tips from big board rider Peter "PT" Townend, who advised riders, "If you don't feel comfortable on the rail, don't be on the rail." The first IPS/ASP World Surfing Champion added, "We're not coming back to get you."
Riders—including homegrown Brett Simpson, Lakey Peterson, Bud Llamas, Jericho Poppler, Ian Cairns, Lindsay Steinriede, Rick "Rockin' Fig" Fignetti, Tim Stamps, Kim "Danger Woman" Hamrock, Scott Farnsworth, Bob "The Greek" Bolen, Janice Aragon, Paul Strauch, Rocky McKinnon, and many other pros, legends, and local heroes—apparently heeded PT's fair warnings, as after numerous photo ops, an intense "all hands on deck" waxing of the board using 72 bars of Huevos Wax, a traditional blessing by Sumo Sato, the bunch managed to pull off the stunt in one try. Not a single rider fell off the board.
Here are videos of the ride, reactions from Simpson and Peterson, plus the official Guinness World Records ruling.
Huntington Beach artist and Epic Wave Contest winner Sam Bernal described the "tow out" as challenging, adding that once the group "sort of haphazardly scrambled on the board" and got their groove, there was no room for failure. A surprise set, fishing line dangling from the Huntington Beach Pier, and a rising tide were all causes for concern, but the determined gaggle stood steady and rode the board unassisted for the record breaker.
Stealing the title from Australia, Huntington Beach crushed the existing records, which totaled 47 surfers riding unassisted for 10 seconds on a board measuring 39' 4" long, 9' 10" wide, and 11.8" thick. Big Board HB measures in at a whopping 42' 1/4" long, 11' 1" wide, 16" thick, and with four 3-foot-long fins. Snapper Rocks, Queensland, Australia, set the record on March 5, 2005, during the Quicksilver Pro Gold Contest, and Huntington Beach broke it soon after with the same board and 60 riders during US Open of Surfing festivities in July of 2005. The ride was never registered, thus, deemed unofficial.
Modeled after one of Simpson's famous short boards, the record-breaking board's scaled up design is based on Australian surfboard shaper Nev Hyman's schematics. Rhode Island's mouldCAM, Santa Ana boat builder Westerly Marine, and local surf industry shapers collaborated to craft the plank, which uses the same materials as Simpson's board.
Following its historic ride, Big Board HB will star in the 111th Huntington Beach 4th of July Celebration, the largest Independence Day parade west of the Mississippi. From there it will be featured at the Vans US Open of Surfing (July 25-August 2), then proudly displayed at the International Surfing Museum in town. A short documentary film and a series of film vignettes following the making of the board, the many minds and hands behind its creation, its winning attempt, and its place in Huntington Beach's renowned surf culture is in the works. Follow Visit Huntington Beach on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for updates.
Congratulations, Huntington Beach, on breaking two Guinness World Records and doing your official nickname proud. What a perfect way to celebrate the 11th Annual International Surfing Day.
Check out more of the action by searching the #BigBoardHB hashtag.