(MENAFN) Australian surfer Kurt Johnston has set a new record for the longest continuous surf session, riding over 700 waves in more than 40 hours. He braved pitch-black seas, which are home to many species of shark, to raise over Aus$330,000 (USD221,000) for mental health. Johnston took on the challenge to mark 10 years since losing his father to suicide. He donned a black cowboy hat and draped himself in a thermal blanket as he was carried off the beach on his friends' shoulders after finally hanging up his surfboard.
"I've still got a job to do. I said 40 (hours) so I'll go and give it a crack," Johnston told reporters earlier in the day after passing the previous 30-hour record. "I'm pretty cooked, yeah, but we'll push through." The official record time was not immediately known, but it is believed that he surfed for more than 40 hours, having started at 1:00 am on Thursday, using large spotlights to illuminate the water.
Under the rules of the attempt, Johnston was allowed to take sporadic breaks from the ocean to soothe his eyes with eyedrops, refuel with snacks, and lather himself up in sunscreen. Medics checked his heart rate and blood pressure before he dashed back into the swell. With Sydney in the grip of a minor heatwave, the water temperature was hovering around a balmy 24 degrees Celsius (75 degrees Fahrenheit), lessening the risk of hypothermia.
Johnston had originally planned to raise money by tackling a 1,000-kilometer run but settled on surfing when he saw that the previous record was "only" 30 hours. His efforts have raised awareness and funds for mental health, a cause that is close to his heart after losing his father to suicide. He hopes to inspire others to speak out about their mental health struggles and seek help when they need it. Johnston's achievement is a testament to his grit and determination, and his commitment to making a positive impact on the world.
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