A crowd of San Diego surfers have been hitting the waves for a different reason than most. The current Guinness World Record for the number of surfers riding a wave simultaneously is 110 (in Cape Town, Africa), and according to official results, that’s where it remains.
If you’re going by what the entertainment industry tells us about surfing, you probably believe that it was something everybody was doing in the 80s and 90s. Everything from syndicated cartoons and sitcoms to videogames featured a popular character surfing and it looked far too easy. Skateboards had been created as a way to prepare newcomers for the unforgiving waves, but instead they branched off as another sport entirely. Nothing prepares you for surfing like actually attempting to catch a wave like 150 San Diego surfers did on Saturday.
Surfers from several places participated in the event, a fundraiser called One Wave Challenge. It was set up for San Diego surfers to raise awareness for Boys to Men Mentoring, a program in which boys without fathers receive the help they need face to face. The organization claims that many boys without fathers end up incarcerated, getting involved with drugs, and dropping out of school.
No, Boys to Men Mentoring has nothing to do with the “East Coast family” music group associated with Bell Biv Devoe.
O’Naje Jones, 16, has been in the program for a year and has seen the difference. “It’s been a really life-changing experience. It’s really opened my eyes to know there’s actually good people in the world.”
According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, 150 surfers took on 18 different waves for two hours in their attempt to shatter the Guinness World Record. They fell short, though, with officials counting only 97 people on the 13th attempt. The participants didn’t come away without something priceless despite the $50 entry fee; many agreed that the experience alone was amazing.
Carlsbad surfer Garek Hurt told the press, “We knew it was going to be tough, and it was even tougher than that.” Synchronized surfing proved difficult, and the number of San Diego surfers involved with the challenge only increased the difficulty.
— Cynthia (@surfergrrrl) January 24, 2016
Boys to Men Mentoring is no stranger to a good challenge. This attempt to break the Guinness World Record was actually inspired by another challenge where San Diego surfers attempted to ride 100 waves in 12 hours and raise $1,000.
Attila Tota, a six year mentor with the Boys to Men program, wouldn’t trade his involvement or experience for the world.
“Boys need help. There’s a lot of groups and efforts for girls — I think for boys, when they support each other, the results are phenomenal. We see the changes and turnarounds in these young men. … I want to be involved in these kinds of events all the time. People coming together with their hearts wide [open] and all working together for one cause is what a lot of us all live for.”
Even though the event involving 150 San Diego surfers didn’t achieve its goal of breaking the Guinness World Record, this won’t be the last attempt. Times of San Diego says Official Judge Eric “Bird” Huffman hopes to do it all again next year.
[Photo by Darryl Oumi / Getty Images for TAG Heuer]