More than 40 surfers cruised into the world record books by riding a single giant surfboard off an Australian beach, newspapers reported yesterday.
A crowd of more than 5,000 gathered Saturday to watch the riders crowd onto the 12.2-meter-long board at the Queensland state tourist city Gold Coast, where the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro surf competitions were held, newspapers said.
The three-meter-wide board, nicknamed "Nev" after its creator, Gold Coast board shaper Nev Hyman, arrived on a trailer truck and needed more than 20 people to carry it to the surf.
Another 100 people, each armed with a bucket of wax, then spent the morning preparing the 50,000 Australian dollar (US$39,535) foam and fiberglass super board for the event.
The riders included pro surfers Chris Ward of California and Australian champion Danny Wills, whose own board was the model for the oversized replica.
Newspaper reports of how many riders took part varied between 44 and 47.
But the ride clearly smashed the existing world record of 14 achieved by an English team in Cornwall on an 11-meter Malibu in 2003.
Hyman said the four-minute ride to shore was worth the monthlong effort to build the board.
"It was the best four minutes of my surfing life. It went in strong and straight," Hyman told Queensland's the Sunday Mail newspaper.
"To be out there with those guys -- they're my best friends and pro surfers whom I've known for a long time -- to be just laughing our heads off without a worry in the world, it's what surfing is all about," he said.
"I don't think anyone has had more fun on a wave like that since the dawn of time," he added.
The surfboard, which lost two of its one-meter-long fins in shallow water on the way to the beach, will next be taken to the US as part of a global fundraising tour to raise A$200 million (US$158 million) in aid for victims of the Dec. 26 Asian tsunami.
The surfboard required 300 liters of resin, half a ton of foam and 220 meters of fiberglass.