Forget about growing the biggest potato or having the largest collection of limited edition drink cans – these days world records need to combine a hefty dose of action, creativity and risk to be truly worthy of the name. Think Felix Baumgartner free-falling 127,852 feet from outer space-type of crazy. While the following examples didn’t require an astronaut’s suit and helmet, they are all equally eye-opening.
Highest bungee dunk
Sorry America, this is the strictly British interpretation of the dunk – the classic biscuit into a hot cup of tea. Of course, we are talking about a Guinness World Record here too, so on November 17, 2016, 24-year-old Brit Simon Berry launched himself off a 73.41-metre high platform and dunked his chocolate hobnob into a mug of tea as the bungee rope wrapped around his ankles reached its full extension. To rub salt into the USA’s wound, he bested the previous highest dunk – set three years earlier by American Ron Jones – by over 10 metres.
Biggest mountain bike backflip
At the 2014 World of X Games in California, pro-mountain biker Cam Zink hit a speed of 46 mph and launched himself off a 15-foot high ramp before soaring over an 80-foot dirt-to-dirt gap jump to smash the bicycle backflip distance jump world record. Guinness World Records verified the backflip at 100 feet, 3 inches. A year earlier, Zink set an unofficial backflip distance record of 78 feet for his step-down flip on the FMB World Tour Course at Red Bull Rampage 2013.
Largest wave in the world
Remember the end of Point Break, where Patrick Swayze surfs off to meet his fate at the hands of a giant wave? Well, if it had been Hawaiian surfer Garrett McNamara out there instead, he’d probably have lived to tell the incredible tale.
The proof: in 2011, McNamara was towed out amongst the giant waves of Praia do Norte off the coast of Nazare, Portugal, when a monstrous wall of water appeared. Without a moment’s hesitation, he dropped in and rode it all the way, despite being hit by the “ton of bricks” force of the wave’s spray. Afterwards, experts measured that wave to be around 90-feet high – 25-feet taller than Egypt’s Sphinx and a shade taller than the US Capitol building in Washington DC.
First skydive without a parachute
After completing over 18,000 jumps with a parachute, American skydiver Luke Aikins decided the only logical way to top the thrill was to take one more jump, but this time minus the parachute. When a friend had proposed the frankly insane idea two years previously, Aikins had refused, not unreasonably citing the fact that he had a wife and child to provide for. However, by July 30, 2016, a change of heart saw him leap out of a plane in the hope of landing in a 30-metre by 30-metre net 25,000-feet below. Fortunately Aikins’ aim was on target that day, but with the guarantee of certain death for even the nearest of misses, his is a record that few are likely to try and best.
If you thought slacklining was just something you see hippie-looking types doing between two trees in your local park, think again. On April 18, 2016, a group of the sport’s most ardent enthusiasts completed the not-inconsiderable task of stringing a 1,020-metre-long highline between the Paroi Dérobée and Créte de Mont Mal peaks in Aiglun, France. The next day, with the line standing 600-metres – almost twice the height of London’s Shard – off the ground at its highest point, balance athlete Nathan Paulin stepped out in an attempt to beat his previous record of 493 metres for the longest highline walk in the world. An hour and fifteen minutes later he’d done it, only to see colleague Danny Menšík make the same crossing in just 40 minutes. The two remain friends.
Impossible basketball shot
If there’s one thing you can guarantee Australians will be competitive at, it’s sport. So when Aussie YouTube stars How Ridiculous lost their world record for the greatest height from which a basketball is shot to American YouTubers Dude Perfect in May 2016, there was no way they weren’t going to go all out to win it back. Go all out they did: the following November, How Ridiculous trio Brett Stanford, Derek Herron and Scott Gaunson travelled all the way to Switzerland’s Mauvoisin Dam, where Herron nailed the shot from a staggering height of 594 feet on only his third attempt. There’s third time lucky, and then there’s this once in a lifetime throw.