A Brainerd, MN man just set a new (unofficial) world record for tallest water ski stilts.

On July 12, 30-year old Chris Dens of Brainerd set a new, unofficial world record for skiing on 11-foot tall stilts. The previous record was set by Glen Sperry who skied on 10 1/2 foot tall stilts.

Dens works at Cosmetic and Family Dentistry in Baxter. He's also a founding member and president of the Brainerd Ski Loons team. "It's an amazing feeling," he told the Mitchell Republic of skiing from 11 feet up. "Just exhilaration. It’s an exciting moment. There was quite a high." Dens estimates it took about 20 tries before he finally got up, and it takes four minutes to rebuild the stilts to attempt again. Once he finally got up, though, Dens made a trip all the way around Hartley Lake in Brainerd just fine.

Dens said he became interested in setting a world record after seeing previous record-holder Glen Sperry ski on 8-foot stilts. "I saw a video of him doing that and I thought, ‘Oh that looks so cool, I want to do that.’”

Ironically, Sperry himself reached out to help Dens build his own skis. He started on 3 1/2 foot stilts before jumping to 6 1/2 foot stilts and -- eventually -- 11 foot. After going around the lake, he thinks he could even go higher. He also wants to incorporate the stilts into future shows for the Brainerd Ski Loons, whose 2020 season was cancelled due to COVID-19.

Dens has submitted an application to Guinness and hopes to see his feat recognized officially. “It takes three months to process it,” he told Mitchell Republic. “So once I get the approval from them, I’ll probably do it again and make it official, but right now it’s official as it can be without being Guinness.”

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