Pumpkin season has arrived, and one Nebraska man is taking it very seriously. It’s under review by the officials at Guinness World Records, but Duane Hansen will likely take the title for longest journey by pumpkin boat (paddling). It took him 11 hours to go 38 miles in the tippy gourd. Hansen named the 846 pound pumpkin boat the S.S. Berta and set sail on his 60th birthday.
Hansen also grew the giant pumpkin. Then he floated it to find the best orientation before hollowing it out into a boat. He even carved a cup holder into the giant fruit and sat on top of a cooler for the journey down the Missouri River. We learned about his record-breaking attempt thanks to DesignTAXI.
City officials in Bellevue, where the S.S. Berta set sail, documented the trip as part of the outside confirmation required in order to claim a Guinness World Record. If confirmed, this would shatter the current record, which stands at 25.5 miles and was set by a man in North Dakota in 2016. There are more pumpkin boat-related Guinness World Records than you might think. Another is the longest-running pumpkin boat race. Since 1999, the Windsor Pumpkin Regatta in Canada has hosted both motorized and paddle categories.
So what’s next for Hansen? He is considering growing an even bigger pumpkin and turning it into a two-seater pumpkin boat. And then taking his daughter out for a ride. Based on the various interviews, she was his biggest supporter, cheering him on during his quest. She even had a t-shirt made to commemorate the occasion, which Hansen proudly wore in all his interviews.
Melissa is Nerdist’s science & technology staff writer. She also moderates “science of” panels at conventions and co-hosts Star Warsologies, a podcast about science and Star Wars. Follow her on Twitter @melissatruth.