Auldin Maxwell’s November 2020 world record attempt rested on a single Jenga block.
The 12-year-old Salmon Arm boy says he has wanted to break a world record since he was six years old, and after months of honing his technique, Maxwell crushed the record for most the Jenga blocks stacked on top of a single vertical block. When Maxwell had completed it, the solid square tower resting on top of a single narrow piece of wood contained 693 blocks, the equivalent of 13 full Jenga sets which had to be carefully stacked one at a time.
The only reason he stopped stacking on the top-heavy tower was because there were no more blocks in the house.
The record attempt used pieces from the game Jenga, in which players try to pull wooden blocks out of a stack without knocking the whole thing over. The risk of a toppling tower is only increased with 13 times as many blocks resting on a much less stable base.
Maxwell was out to beat the previous record of 485 blocks by a convincing margin and now hopes to add at least another full box to his tower in order to ward off the competition. Another stacker’s unofficial attempt has reached 518 blocks, still far from Auldin’s total.
Although he has enjoyed testing the limits of his focus and balance by stacking blocks, cups and other items for a long time, the attempts at a world record began as a way to alleviate quarantine boredom in March 2020. Auldin experimented with a variety of tower designs from hollow squares to stacked octagons before settling on the solid column of blocks.
Maxwell and his family geared up to officially attempt a record-breaking tower on Nov. 29. He beat the standing record on his first attempt but an error with the camera used to document the feat forced him to go again – on his third attempt he stacked up all 693 blocks over the course of a little more than an hour.
The official word that Maxwell had achieved a Guinness World Record came through on Jan. 22.
Maxwell’s mom Kelly Murray said one of his teachers at Shuswap Middle School thinks he has a future in engineering, but Maxwell hopes to be an actor one day. Murray added that Maxwell is on the autism spectrum and he has always enjoyed stacking and arranging things. She thinks the focus and determination required for the world-record breaking tower is a part of the way his autism manifests.
Auldin is already looking into other possible world records to attempt to break. He said in an unofficial attempt, he has tied the record for most Jenga blocks taken out of a game within one minute without knocking over the tower. He also thinks he has a shot at a record for balancing an umbrella on one finger.