After 638 waves, the surfer calls it a day, a night, another day | Florida News
By MATT SOERGEL, The Florida Times-Union
JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. (AP) – After his surf session at Jacksonville Beach ended, Kurtis Loftus was feeling himself every day of his 60 years on earth. He was wrinkled and sunburnt. His skin was scratched by his wetsuit. And a big toe was shredded after being dragged across his board over and over again as he stood up.
The waves were abating and he was exhausted. So he called him one day – actually a day, a night, and a good chunk of another day – and decided to go home.
He did not last the 40 hours he hoped to do. But this surfing marathon, he believes, would still have broken the world record for the longest surfing session if Guinness World Records still recognized that record. Just weeks before paddling, he learned that a surf marathon is no longer a category they consider.
But it still paddled at 7 a.m. Monday, and by the time the sun was setting, it had caught some 300 waves – small and short walks in Duval County, but rides nonetheless.
After a few hours of dark night, the moon and stars broke out and he caught another 200 waves before sunrise.
He surfed until 4 p.m. and caught 138 more waves. Add them up, and it’s 638 waves and 31 hours in the water, plus two hours of brief beach breaks.
The marathon was a fundraiser for Jacksonville Beach Deck the Chairs, the vacation-focused nonprofit he founded. It aimed to raise $ 10,000 but was close to $ 14,000, he said. There is also a virtual auction of donated items, which runs until Friday, which can be found on Loftus’ website, marathonsurfer.com.
In 2011, while Guinness still listed it as a category, he set a record for a surf marathon of over 29 hours. This raised funds for 26.2 With Donna, which fights breast cancer. His record was then broken, so Loftus, at 60, decided to beat him again.
He had at least two judges on the beach counting the waves, and a lot of moral support. Friends paddled with him to encourage him. But it was tough – and while he’s trained a lot and is in remarkable shape for someone his age, it took its toll.
Loftus burst out laughing. “I guess I’m 40, right? It’s the head. The body? You look at the pictures, the body shape, it’s like, no man, you’re 60, ”he said.
“I like being able to do that at 60, but it is clear that the 40-year-old man with the smooth face is gone, that his back hurts. I’m telling you, I saw pictures of a hunchbacked old man riding these waves.
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