Land speed records don’t seem to last as long as they used to. Advances in technology mean that most longstanding records get eclipsed, before the winner is quickly eclipsed itself.
Still, a few records have remained unbeaten for eons. (It helps if attempting them requires a fair bit of foolhardiness.) The U.S. Men’s Rafting Team recently set out to smash one such record, aiming to set a new time for rafting the 445-kilometre stretch of the Colorado River than winds and drops through the Grand Canyon.
The record had stood since 1983, but as luck would have it, the team saw it broken not long before they planned to set off themselves. The new record to beat was suddenly 34 hours, meaning the team of eight would have to raft non-stop through day and night to stand a chance.
The Time Travellers is a short film by Forest Woodward and Brendan Leonard that follows their record-breaking attempt, from training and designing a new raft through to the attempt itself. Given the location, it’s unsurprising the film is so stunning to watch. But it’s also kind of poetic, as it and its subjects ponder the meaning of breaking these kinds of records, the strength of human will, and what it all amounts to.
And of course, rapids and DYI raft-building are cool, too.