Wellington, November 27 : A 28-year-old Christchurch man may have created a Guinness World Record for the Longest Journey by Skateboard after travelling 12,159km.
Rob Thomson completed his journey in two-and-a-half years.
He had worn out three pairs of shoes, three sets of wheels, and three skateboard decks by the time he arrived at his parents' Halswell home.
He had also endured three crashes over the 12,159km expedition.
Thomson spent 15,000 dollars during the 850-day trip, and returned home with a debt of 1000 dollars, which he planned to pay off by writing a book about his adventures.
The Canterbury University graduate revealed that he worked in Japan as a co-ordinator for international relations before starting his journey.
When his contract was up for renewal, said Thomson, he decided to take a "long detour home" rather than renew it.
Initially, his plan was to cycle from Japan to England, but he ditched his two-wheeler in favour of four wheels somewhere near Switzerland.
"I only planned to trial skating 1500km from Switzerland to England to see if it was an efficient way to travel," the NZPA quoted him as saying.
"I'm all about efficient transport. If it was going to be some macho thing I had to push through, I wouldn't have carried on but it was fine more physically demanding than the bike but not so much that I couldn't take it," he added.
He decided on skateboarding from England to his home instead flying. He crewed for passage on a catamaran that took him to the Caribbean, where he was stranded for six weeks until another boat could take him to the US.
Since Thomson's visa for the Caribbean was only valid for four weeks, he took a razor blade to his passport and doctored the date by two weeks.
He spent New Year's Eve in 2007 with bikers in northern Florida.
"Think of the biggest rednecks you can imagine and it was these guys, but they were so nice. We spent the night around a bonfire, one of their neighbours played the fiddle and they were shooting each other with Roman Candle fireworks. It was amazing," he said
He revealed that he was in no hurry to end the trip.
"I wanted to be able to do this and still have enough energy to communicate and connect with the local people. It wasn't about skateboarding, it was about getting round and experiencing where I was. I'm just keen to promote travelling under human power. It has so many benefits; it's sustainable and good for your health," he said.
Thomson skated through the 45deg "furnace" of north-western China to the minus 23deg winter of Turkey, and by that time he had started talking to the Guinness record people.
He was travelling with a GPS to track daily distances and collecting witness signatures.
The Guinness World Record for the Longest Journey by Skateboard was claimed somewhere in New Mexico.
The strangest food he tried was horse-penis salami in Kyrgyzstan, which he said tasted "like the smell of a sweaty, old, dirty horse".