Blake Johnston, barefoot legend, breaks world surfing record
By ALEC SMART
Blake Johnston, legendary Cronulla surfer and manager of Cronulla Surfing Academy, whom we featured in the second edition of 2230 magazine, has recently completed a record-breaking surfing marathon, raising funds for the Chumpy Pullin Foundation.
On 17 March, Blake undertook a 40-hour surfing challenge, breaking South African Josh Enslin’s existing 30-hour world record for non-stop surfing.
After completing several long-distance runs in Sydney and the Royal National Park in 2020, he set his sights on a greater challenge.
“I was already running big distances,” he said, “before deciding to run from Queensland to Cronulla.”
Some of these were achieved without wearing shoes, which followed on from his first marathon in September 2019 in which he joked on social media that he was the “only entrant in the barefoot division, ha! ha!”
However, before he set off on the 1000km long-distance road challenge (presumably he wasn’t going to run all the way from Queensland in bare feet?!) what inspired him to aim for a world record surfing session instead?
“After surfing in the Melbourne wave pool for 7 hours and riding 100 waves,” he said, “I Googled ‘world’s longest surf’ on the plane heading home.
“I had done a few 40hr runs and just thought I could do it. A bit arrogant but yeah, to be out in my happy place, bring in the community and do it for a cause close to my heart - I just knew I could do it.”
Blake chose The Alley, the legendary and popular surfing spot between North and South Cronulla, for his epic record attempt, which, luckily, delivered 40 hours of decent waves upon which to ride.
“It’s a special place to me,” he revealed, “where I grew up surfing and have amazing memories there. It moulded me and many other great surfers from Cronulla and it’s the perfect place to get the community as close to the water as possible to feel like they were out there with me.”
However, he faced other obstacles beyond the incredible combination of mental and physical stamina. At one stage it was pitch black and he was surrounded by jellyfish (and possible sharks, which couldn’t be seen in the dark!).
But he persevered and afterwards carried up the beach to cheers from a crowd gathered to witness his record-breaking achievement.
“There was never a moment in all the 40 hours that I thought I was not going to finish,” he asserted. “I totally trusted the process and accepted the discomfort and pain.”
A considerable amount of money was raised for the Chumpy Pullin Foundation, thanks to Blake’s selfless efforts. Cronulla Sutherland Sharks rugby team presented Blake with a number 7 team jersey in acknowledgement.
Is the fundraising approaching the $250,000 goal?
“We are currently at $422 000,” Blake proclaimed, “which is amazing! The more money we raise the more kids we can help. I chose the Chumpy Pullin Foundation as it is focused on the youth, and mental health is one of their pillars.”
Established in memory of the late, Alex “Chumpy” Pullin, an icon of Australian snowboarding, the Foundation aims to “break down barriers to provide support and inspiration for young Australians to participate and grow through sport and life,” with an emphasis on providing financial assistance and development opportunities to Australian snowboarders.
Since this epic event, Blake has settled back into coaching surfing, including hosting a surf wellness retreat attended by 60 kids.
Keep a look out on Blake’s social media pages for other goals and charitable events.
“I have a few challenges ahead,” he revealed. “A 100km SUP from Bankstown to Cronulla; 220km barefoot adventure run from Ulladulla to Cronulla… but the one I’m most excited about is a course learning to climb alpine mountains in New Zealand in November - that’s gunna be epic!”
Chumpy Pullin Foundation
Sponsor the World’s Longest Surf: https://worldslongestsurf.com/blakey-johnston
Cronulla Surfing Academy
2230 magazine previous feature on Blake Johnston