2021 has been another very strange year, as far as years go – and there aren’t really any normal years anyway. While there have certainly been peaks and troughs, one thing that has remained constant throughout is humankind’s devotion to setting amazing Guinness World Records for outlandish feats of intelligence, physicality, perseverance, and… well, just about everything else.
It’s been a wild twelve months for new Guinness World Records, and to celebrate the indomitable human spirit, we’ve picked out a few of our favourites below.
Amazing Guinness World Records: 2021 Edition
Record: Most helicopter spins while skysurfing
Who: KĒBĒ Keith Edward Snyder, USA
If you’ve never heard of skysurfing before, picture somebody leaping from a plane while strapped to a snowboard. Keith Edward Snyder took this a step further by adding in helicopter spins – a move consisting of turning upside down while falling and spinning around like a helicopter’s rotor. Of course!
Snyder, who has dedicated countless hours of training to skydiving and skysurfing, executed the whopping 160 helicopter spins after jumping from a plane 13,500 feet above Cairo, Egypt. By the time he reached 5,000, feet he had broken the record and exited the spin to enjoy skysurfing above the pyramids.
Record: Fastest 20 metres walking on hands
Who: Zion Clark, USA
Time: 4.78 seconds
Zion Clark smashed the world record for the fastest 20 metres walked on hands in 2021. At age 24, he weighs around 56 kilos, a huge proportion of which is muscle. Born without the lower half of his body due to Caudal Regression Syndrome, Clark found confidence in competitive wrestling, and is currently aiming to become the first athlete to compete in both the Olympic and Paralympic athlete in history. His website is a truly inspiring place, too.
Record: Fastest time to pull a car 50 metres walking on hands
Who: Zhang Shuang, China
Time: 1 min, 13.27 seconds
Two hand-walking records for the price of one! Continuing with the theme, Zhang Shuang broke the world record for the fastest time to pull a car 50 metres walking on his hands – a record which, frankly, sounds impossible. Shuang’s technique was to tie a chord around his waist and walk backwards on his hands, leaning away from the car with his torso to help increase the tension. Brains and brawn.
Record: Furthest backflip between horizontal bars
Who: Ashley Watson, England
Distance: 6.00 metres
Ashley Watson, a gymnast from Leeds, smashed this record in 2021. What’s even more impressive is that the previous record he smashed was his own – sitting previously at 5.87 metres. It took Watson months of intensive training to lead up to the gargantuan leap, which you can watch below.