The 24 Hour Man

Imagine stepping on your windsurf board knowing that until this time tomorrow you will be windsurfing a 1.5km stretch back and forth with no sleep, just ten minutes rest and no one else to push you along the whole way. This is exactly how Dennis Klaaijsen spent a day of his life last week. There was one aim, to beat the current world record, a record already held by him. This is his story, in his words.

Physically I was still on my board but mentally I had left the water a while ago

A weather window opened up for the 10th of August, finally, the first good one this season. A 24 hour attempt is ideally planned around the 22nd of June, this being the day with the most hours of daylight and only 6 hours of darkness. Doing a record attempt now meant that I had a total of 8 hours of darkness in which your skills and concentration are pushed to their highest level. It was full moon that night and sufficient clearing skies were forecast to trigger my interest.

To beat the existing 630 kilometres that I surfed the previous year I knew I had to change something. Last year after sunset the wind played havoc, meaning I did not stay on the water for the full 24 hours. It became patchy and after 20 hours I was absolutely wrecked because I had to pump a lot with my sail, to stay planing. There were still a couple of hours in the bag when I decided to call it a day around 02.00 in the morning. This time I started my attempt at 19.30 in the evening so I would go fit into the hardest part of the journey, the night time surfing.


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