The speed of 57 miles an hour under water

Jens Scherer watched a water slide of 57 miles an hour outside Rio de Janeiro. This is like driving through the bare skin of your back.

The speed of 57 miles an hour is the fastest ever on the water slide. It was watched by Jens Scherer, German advertising director, in the Kilimanjaro region, which plummeted 164 meters high and 50 degrees at Águas Quentes, a water park outside Rio de Janeiro in 2009. Scherer, 30, the reigning competition “speed champion,” has also been host to four Guinness World sports records for 94 miles on a slide in Munich, including a day distance record. This is like driving through the bare skin of your back from New York to Philadelphia. He slept for just one hour and a half in those 24 hours and ascended 30,000 vertical fleets of the foot, the amount of walking from the sea to Mount Everest.

Swimming with Speed

It isn’t just about jumping and letting gravity do its job to approach 60 miles per hour on a water slide. Speed drop is an ability. An art. An art. And people are really, very serious about that. They are almost all German, and every year there are more. They participate in Slide Fast, Die Young and frequently sponsored waterparks spend several hours a weekend in the country. 

Speed cutting is a catch-the-eye phrase for a wide variety of activities ranging from essential top-to-bottom times to sliding marathons (fastest to cover 26.2 horizontal miles). For the time being, the sport remains entirely German and probably best resembles paintball in the US in the national sporting firmament. Those that compete are insane; those who find this uncommon and perhaps even somewhat frightening. 

It didn’t seem terrifying to me when I first heard of speed-chuting last winter. It sounded bizarre. So I phoned Scherer in February to learn how I might take the step. Scherer informed me that my timing couldn’t be better. In late March, the Kentucky Derby sports track in the Baltic Sea resort town of Scharbeutz will be held at the German National Speed Chuting Championship. Scherer observed, to my surprise, that the competition was open for everyone. No American had ever competed in speed cutting, which meant the US champion’s title was not asserted. I chose to do something about it. I decided I should. 

Learning New Things

“I’d be glad to teach you my skills if you were to visit a few days beforehand,” said Scherer kindly. “At my sofa, you can crash.” 

Let me be French: Let me be French. There would never be someone who mistakes me for someone in a primary sporting contest. My daily training scheme is a half-mile coffee shuffle that takes a few mini-muffins of banana oats. Luckily, when I noticed my lack of fitness, Scherer wasn’t looking fazed. He offered me some essential tips to begin preparing the “tube rocking” that he mentioned. 

Speed cutting is much like powerlifting, he explained. All I had to do was isolate and train a few core muscles until they were solid rock. He also wanted me to find a nearby water toboggan and practice. Easier said than done because it’s winter when you reside in New England. Ultimately, I dedicated myself to 50 sit-ups and ten pull-ups every morning, which I spent just eight days on in obsessive fashion.