Todd Sandstrum isn’t the first person to transform a large, hollowed-out pumpkin into a seaworthy boat. But according to The Enterprise, the Easton, Massachusetts resident is likely the only individual who’s ever paddled a 1240-pound gourd for eight miles straight.
On Saturday, September 3, Sandstrum made a successful effort to sail his way into the Guinness World Records by attempting a category he’d created himself: “Longest Journey in a Pumpkin Boat (paddling).” In all, the trip only took Sandstrum around four hours, 13 minutes to complete. The feat isn’t officially verified yet—but the daring farmer's chances look pretty good; he traveled eight miles down the Taunton River, from Dighton to Fall River, inside a pumpkin that won a weigh-off at the Marshfield Fair in Marshfield, Massachusetts in August.
This isn’t Sandstrum’s first shot at a world record. Last year, in September 2015, he resolved to steer an 800-pound pumpkin nearly 14 miles down the Taunton River. A sprained ankle forced the sailor to set a more realistic goal, and he ended up striving for nearly eight miles instead. Ultimately, because of the injury, leg cramps, and other logistical difficulties, Sandstrum only completed around four miles. This length was much shorter than he'd aimed for, even though the Guinness organization had set a looser, three-mile guideline for the first-time feat.
This year, Sandstrum wanted to beat his personal goal by paddling even further—and to verify his accomplishment, he ensured the entire thing was captured on video. (Last year's attempt didn't have full video documentation from start to finish, Sandstrum told The Enterprise, so it didn't end up making Guinness.)
According to Modern Farmer, both pumpkin stunts were performed to promote agricultural awareness and education. Sandstrum is a consultant for Crave Food Services, an online service that pairs restaurants with local farmers, and he’s passionate about “getting kids out in the dirt and growing something, and to understand where food comes from,” he told the magazine.
Along with his wife, Genevieve, Sandstrum launched the South Shore Great Pumpkin Challenge five years ago. They give Atlantic Giant pumpkin seeds to Massachusetts school kids, and the institution that grows the most massive gourd earns a $1000 grant that goes toward agricultural education. But Sandstrum wasn’t receiving attention for his efforts, so he decided to attempt his pumpkin stunt to garner more media coverage. Needless to say, it worked.
For more information on Sandstrum’s Guinness Record attempts, visit his website.
[h/t Modern Farmer]
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