Image: Ashrita Furman
Apichart Weerawong  /  AP
Ashrita Furman performs squat thrust exercise on an elephant's back on Thursday. He has held 144 records in total.
updated 2/23/2007 4:57:54 AM ET 2007-02-23T09:57:54

New Yorker Ashrita Furman looked around for a record he could break, and settled on doing the most squat thrusts in one minute. Then he decided on a place — the back of an elephant in northern Thailand.

He achieved both goals Thursday as he climbed onto a platform on the back of an obliging pachyderm in blazing heat and powered through 40 of the vigorous kicks in a minute. The previous squat thrust record — achieved on level ground in Britain without an elephant in sight — was 30.

Furman, 52, is accustomed to setting bizarre records. By his own count, he holds 54, and has held 144 in total. These include the record for the fastest 11 yards on a space hopper — a heavy rubber balloon on which children bounce — and the fastest mile balancing a cue pool on his finger.

"To me the real beauty of this record is that I did it on the back of a live elephant," he said. "I've had this dream of doing a record on the back of an elephant for many, many years but I've had no way of really accomplishing it until I came to Thailand."

The movements of Kamee, a 40-year-old female elephant, initially created difficulties as Furman practiced his routine. But for the actual record-setting bid, Kamee was solid as a rock.

Furman's new claim for a record will be forwarded, along with witness statements, to the Guinness Book of World Records.

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