It was anything but a leisurely paddle for 41-year-old Brandon Nelson, the new world record holder for longest distance paddled in 24 hours.
Over the span of 24 hours on Aug. 21 and 22, Nelson paddled 151.87 miles on a course roped off on Lake Padden near Seattle. It was the farthest anyone had ever paddled in 24 hours, edging out the previous record of 150.34 miles, set by Carter Johnson in 2006.
Nelson almost didn’t complete the 24-hour paddle, as delirium and excruciating muscle cramps set in on the water. Each time, however, he pulled himself back up in his Epic Surfski kayak, determined to accomplish what he set out to do – break the record that he previously attempted in 2006. The effort almost sunk again as Nelson neared the final stretch when Nelson fell into the water for a third time.
“I thought, ‘Oh no, if I can’t get back into the boat, I’m toast,’” Nelson told Canoe & Kayak. “Struggling back into the boat and carrying on became the brightest moment.”
In early September, Nelson’s paddle was confirmed by Guinness World Records as the longest ever 24-hour kayak paddle.