Best friends and sisters Ashleigh Shaddix and Samantha Morton were determined to set a record for the longest continuous wake surfing by a female. On Monday, Ashleigh set the mark to beat.
Ashleigh surfed for 2 hours, 22 minutes and 53 seconds behind a specially modified boat on Lake Weir. The current men’s record for continuous wake surfing is 3 hours, 55 minutes.
Unfortunately for Samantha, the boat ran out of gas during her run, which had already exceeded an hour.
Wake surfers ride the boat’s wake. The rider is towed by a rope to start; once they are on the wake the rope is dropped and the riders are on their own.
“I didn’t realized how much stamina you really need. My legs hurt, my back hurt. My feet got really numb and I couldn’t tell how much pressure I was putting on the board and I leaned too far forward and the nose went into the water and I went down,” said Ashleigh, describing how her run ended.
For Samantha, the fuel problem was a letdown, but she wasn’t too upset.
“We went to a pole vault clinic over the weekend and I hurt my neck. My neck was hurting so bad that I wanted to stop anyway,” she said.
The 16-year-old stepsisters both pole vault for Forest High School.
While there was not an established female record on the books, that didn’t mean a lackluster attempt would qualify.
“Guinness said, ‘Don’t even send it in if it’s not over an hour.’ I just kept thinking about that. When I made it to an hour, I thought, ‘Now try for 15 more minutes.’ I kept setting a new goal,” Ashleigh said.
While Samantha had her heart set on setting the record, she will now focus on breaking Ashleigh’s mark.
“I’ll let her have it for 2013, but I want it for 2014,” Samantha said.
The girls hope to make another attempt in January.
Monday’s attempt also served as a fundraiser for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. All money collected through the girls’ effort will be donated to the Women’s Cancer Research Fund at the University of Florida.
Ashleigh’s aunt battled the disease, and cancer runs in Samantha’s family.
“I thought what they did was awesome. I am just proud of both of them. The University of Florida has invited them to tour Shands and see the kind of research they do,” said Darcy Shaddix, Samantha’s mother and Ashleigh’s stepmother.
The record-setting attempts were recorded in full, and two witnesses were present. All documentation about the attempt will be sent to Guinness for its official recognition.