It is 79 feet 2 inches (24.13 m) long and although you find it usually on a playground, it might be not recommended for children to use this record apparatus: the largest see-saw of the world. If you sit on the side that is up, you are 11 feet 7 inches (3.53 m) above the ground. With the giant teeter-totter Ashrita Furman made a new entry into the Guinness Book of Records. On Friday afternoon in the borough Queens of New York City the 55-year-old American health food store manager presented the giant teeter-totter during a birthday anniversary. 83 helpers were needed to carry the wooden construction from two blocks away to the anniversary function. He dedicated the see-saw to Indian born poet, composer and peace visionary Sri Chinmoy, who would have become 79 years on 27 August 2010. Ashrita Furman said: “As an expression of gratitude we celebrate Sri Chinmoy’s 79th birthday with a 79 feet long see-saw, which gives happiness to children small and big. Sri Chinmoy himself was such a childlike, happy person and he inspired me to set records with his weightlifting world records. His philosophy is that through happiness we can have peace.” It took Furman and his team of 15 people 7 days to construct the teeter-totter weighing almost 13,000 pounds (5900 kg) without the stand. The supersized apparatus works like the ones on the playground. “200 guests enjoyed the ride on the see-saw and smiled. I had to smile so much that it even hurt”, Furman, holder of 122 current Guinness World Records, including the record for the most records, said.
Ashrita Furman has been breaking Guinness World Records since 1979. His first entry in the Guinness Book he achieved by completing 27,000 jumping jacks. Since then he has broken 299 records on all seven continents, including racing against a Yak in Mongolia to set the mile sack-racing record, doing underwater Aqua Pogo for 3 hours 40 minutes in the Amazon River in Peru and bouncing the fastest mile on a kangaroo ball along the Great Wall of China. As a teenager Furman got inspired by Sri Chinmoy’s philosophy of self-transcendence. Indian born Sri Chinmoy himself set many records, such as lifting elephants, airplanes and trucks with a calf-raise machine and composing 21,000 songs in his lifetime. Furman attributes his success at breaking records to meditation, which he practices daily for 30 minutes in the morning and in the evening. Meditation helps him keep his childlike spirit and his mental and physical strength which is needed to continuously set world records. Since Ashrita Furman started 31 years ago, he never stopped setting world records which need a lot of serious preparation or training: “Going beyond your every day capacity is such a fulfilling feeling. The day I break a record I’m just happy the whole day,” he says.
The Guinness Book of Records is published in more than 100 countries and 25 languages and is one of the highest-selling books. About 120 million copies were sold worldwide since it’s first publication in 1955.