(Sydney) Australian Blake Johnston broke the world record for the longest surfing session on Friday by chaining the waves for 40 hours off a Sydney beach.

The 40-year-old former pro broke down in tears after clearing the previous record of 30 hours and 11 minutes held by South African Josh Enslin, braving schools of jellyfish and the nighttime ocean.

The surfer returned to the sand after 5 p.m. (2 a.m. Eastern Time) to the cheers of hundreds of people who came to support him from Cronulla Beach.

The challenge began at 1 a.m. Thursday (11 a.m. Eastern) under floodlights. The Australian will have surfed more than 700 waves in total, during series interspersed with rare snack breaks, sunscreen or eye drops.

At each temporary outing, authorized by the regulations, doctors checked his heart rate and blood pressure before leaving him to take on an ocean at 24°C, reducing the risk of hypothermia.

Earlier in the day, the record just broken, Johnston had admitted to being “a little burnt out”, but still went back into the water with the 40 hour target in sight.

As of 7 p.m. (4 a.m. Eastern time), the surfer, whose father committed suicide 10 years ago, had, according to the event website, raised more than 330,000 Australian dollars (303 000 Canadian dollars) in particular for the prevention of suicide and mental health among young people.

He originally planned to raise funds by running 1,000 kilometres, but fell back on surfing when he learned the record was “only” 30 hours.

According to his brother Ben, the forties had prepared for many obstacles, including a possible… shark attack. Without being worried.

“I was surfing at two in the morning with him and the lights went out so it was pitch black,” he told national broadcaster ABC, adding that there was “a pack of jellyfish” in water.

It’s not Blake Johnston’s first time running an endurance marathon: in 2020, he ran 100 kilometers along Sydney’s rugged south coast, completing most of the distance barefoot.