Water skiing is no joke. It not only requires talent behind the boat but also a skilled driver to yank a human from the murky depths so they can skim across the water’s surface atop a pair of oversized toothpicks. Now imagine pulling 80 skiers. At the same time. Behind one boat. Well, the Wisconsin-based Rock Aqua Jays water ski team and Mercury Racing did exactly that, earning an official Guinness World Record for the feat.
A stunt like that required serious skill, and ski teams don’t get more hardcore than the Rock Aqua Jays, arguably the most successful water ski show team in the world. The incredible aqua-athletes have won 63 tournaments and 19 U.S. championships in the team’s 57-year history. With a stat sheet like that, it’s safe to say they were the right choice to create an 80-person human-pyramid pulled at speed behind a boat.
Assuming the average weight of each person was 150 pounds (after all, they’re physically fit athletes, right?), those 80 skiers totaled about 12,000 pounds—meaning the towboat needed some serious grunt to get the job done. That’s where Mercury Racing stepped in. A 20-foot Legacy competition ski boat was modified with a beefed-up transom and a trio of fire-breathing outboards, producing a combined total output of 900 horsepower. And while it took a pair of the boats to get the skiers up and out of the water, they came together behind a single craft and were towed a record-breaking 1148 feet, shattering the previous mark of 64 skiers and nearly doubling the distance traveled.
So next time you’re out on a boat and wonder how difficult it might be to stand up on a pair of skis, just remember that a pile of 80 people were able to do it without issue. You could also just add more outboard motors and make life easier (and more fun).