Lake Norman & Mooresville

Festival crowd goes for Guinness record

It's safe to say that the Lake Norman area has a corner on the Guinness World Records' paddleball market.

There are only two records in Guinness related to paddleball - one has been established and the other is under consideration - and Lake Norman has ties to both.

Huntersville resident Steve Langley secured the first record when he used seven paddleballs simultaneously during a Guinness television show in Italy this summer.

With the thrill of creating the first Guinness paddleball record still fresh in his mind, Langley returned from Italy to help Davidson-area residents set a new record: the most people paddle-balling at one time.

"It was fun and exciting, and I wanted to share that excitement," said the 49-year-old.

So Langley resolved to establish the second world record related to paddleballing on Sept. 3 at the annual Hugo Fest in downtown Davidson.

The support from the community was so overwhelming, said Langley, that they ended up passing their goal by more than a 100 paddleballers.

Mooresville residents Michelle Edwards made sure to bring her entire family to the event.

"I was so hyped, I woke up early," she said as her daughter, Mikiah, 15, struggled to find a rhythm with her paddleball. "I used to do this all the time when I was young, and I wanted to see if I could rekindle it. It definitely feels good to be able to do something my kids can't do."

On the day of the event, 356 residents showed up to become a part of history.

Two volunteers were on hand to keep an official count.

"No, it's not anything that's going to change anyone's life, but it was a good time, and people can tell their grandchildren that they helped establish a Guinness world record when they were young," said Bill Giduz, who helped organized Hugo Fest. "Things like this enliven the community."

Active People Toys, a Switzerland-based company, provided paddleballs for the first 250, said Langley. The rest of them either brought their own or bought one at the event.

"There was definitely a lot more people than I expected," he said. "Everyone had a great time, and people were really excited and engaged."

At 11 a.m., the group began the first of several attempts to establish the world record by paddleballing for 30 seconds.

By 11:15 a.m., everyone was congratulating each other on setting the Guinness World Records mark, albeit at this point unofficially.

Now begins the stressful part, said Langley, who must gather video and photos from the event, as well as get two letters from witnesses, and mail all of the materials to Guinness' headquarters in London soon.

"That will determine whether it's an official record or not," he said. "We're going to get it - I have a gut feeling. ... I'm excited that it went as well as it did."