Idaho friends break record for slicing grapes with a sword on balance board
David Rush tries to break one Guinness record per week, often with the help of his neighbour Jonathan Hannon
Breaking the Guinness World Record for slicing grapes in the air with a sword while standing on a balance board may sound like a novel way to spend an afternoon, but for David Rush, it's par for the course.
The Boise, Idaho, tech worker is currently trying to break one existing Guinness record per week, often with the help of his neighbour and buddy Jonathan Hannon. He currently holds dozens of titles, including "Most juggling catches on a unicycle (blindfolded)," and "Most baked beans eaten in one minute with a cocktail stick."
His most recent victory — "Most grapes sliced on a balance board in one minute" — is a title he and Hannon recaptured after their previous record in the same category was beaten.
"At any given point, I'm practising for 20 to 25 records," Rush told As It Happens host Carol Off.
"This one gets a little bit more attention because I'm obviously holding a very sharp samurai sword, slicing grapes out of the air, and people are fascinated with fruit ninjas. In terms of difficulty, [it's] maybe not the most difficult in the world, but still challenging."
Rush shares this title with Hannon, who lobbed the grapes at him. In one minute, Rush sliced 68 grapes, beating the previous record of 57.
The pair also share titles for "Most tennis balls caught in a basket on the back in one minute" and "Most catches standing on a Swiss ball in 30 seconds," among others.
"We both got young kids and so we've been quarantining together for the last basically nine months," Rush said. "So all we've got to do is break Guinness World Records and play cribbage."
Rush says he couldn't have asked for a better neighbour.
"He talks about the first time he saw me," Rush said. "He went inside to talk to his wife, like, 'I just saw the neighbour riding a unicycle while juggling. I think I've got to meet this guy.'"
While tossing grapes might seem like an easier job than cutting them, Rush assures it's quite the daring and difficult feat.
"The closer you are, the bigger advantage you have. When I stood in front of the sword, I couldn't do it. Neither could my wife, but my neighbour Jonathan Hannon has got nerves of steel," Rush said.
"[He was as] cool as a cucumber. And he's throwing those grapes very accurately, ambidextrously, over one a second."
Rush says he also relies on encouragement from his wife, who he calls "the most supportive person on the planet," and their two children, aged two and four.
"I've been breaking records for a little over five years, so that's all they know. It's totally normal. Any time they see the Guinness logo, it's like, 'Oh, it's Daddy's logo,'" he said.
"And my two-year-old has done this really cute thing for the last several months. Every time he sees a stopwatch or any time he's doing an activity, he'll go 'Three, two, one, go!' and then try to do whatever he's doing as fast as possible, like throwing rocks or tearing paper."
Why he does it
Inspiring kids is one of the reasons Rush does he what he does.
He says he has passion for promoting the STEM fields of science, technology, education and math, and he applies two philosophies of education — Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck's idea that "you can literally become better at anything with hard work and practice," and author Angela Duckworth's notion "that if you don't give up, you succeed."
"So I'm using the Guinness World Records titles as a proof point that if you set your mind to a goal, believe in yourself and pursue with a passion, you can accomplish literally anything," he said.
"And I have had just such a wonderful response from kids, and I love doing it myself, that I just am sticking with it."
Written by Sheena Goodyear. Interview produced by Jeanne Armstrong.