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A Long Flight With Zak Stolz

Zak Stolz wingspan

For those who don’t know, a lache is a long leap using your hands. An integral part of parkour and ninja warrior type sports, the lache is when you hang off a starting point – usually a pull-up type bar – swing your body back & forth to build momentum then release and catch something else a small distance away. As with most things, the limits of this flight are being stretched.

One such athlete striving for greatness is Australian Ninja Warrior grand finalist, Zak Stolz. Zak pushes the boundaries of what should be possible every time he trains. It should come as no surprise to anyone who has ever been near Zak that the world record for the longest bar-to-bar lache is in his sights. This is where we follow Zak and his journey to the world record of the longest lache.

The current unofficial world record is held by Najee Richardson. His monster effort had him flying 18ft 3in which, if my maths is correct, works out to approximately 5.56m. Naturally, Zak wants to go at least 5.6m and says “we need the best lache set up in Aus (courtesy of The Compound Training) and I’ll need to drink at least 9 litres of RedBull.”

"I'll need to drink at least 9 litres of RedBull"

His longest caught lache so far is 5.1m but has been getting both hands hitting consistently at 5.4m. “It takes a whole heap of power, technique and bravery.” The 21 year old student and gymnastics coach say he hasn’t been training anything specific for laches. “Having a gymnastics coaching background makes it easier.”

For a lot of people, it’s easier to reach a goal if someone is by your side. Good friend and fierce Australian Ninja Warrior rival Ashlin Herbert, is also there pushing and striving to get there first. The pair are constantly at each others heels and regularly standing next to each other on the ninja competition scene podiums.

Power, technique and bravery

training for the longest lache world record
Portrait of Zak Stolz

“I’d expect it to be reset very quickly,” Zak says & getting an official world record is super expensive and tedious so putting it out on social media should sort it out. Five and a half metres is a long way to fly so it seems kinda wild to think that this record won’t last long but we see that happening time & time again. 

Perhaps early to mid in the new year we’ll get a chance to set it up. Working alongside Clem at the Compound Training, we expect to see many great achievements. I think lockdown has made a few ninjas hungry to make up for lost time.

Thanks for reading. Stay tuned for updates as they happen and let us know what you tink in the comment section below!

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