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The Rubber Ball with a Difference

Many people spend their time collecting items of interest as a hobby - and Joel Waul from Florida is no exception. His unusual leisure activity has achieved recognition in the Guinness Book of World Records, making him an international media star!

The 37-year-old has made the largest rubber band ball in the world and it even has a name -Megaton! While a lot of people make rubber band balls at work or home, most are relatively small and fit on their desk. However, Waul has taken collecting rubber bands to a whole new level by creating a 4,097kg ball that stands at 6ft 7ins tall!

It contains around 730,000 rubber bands, has a circumference of 26 feet and it took five years to build! It was officially ruled the biggest rubber band ball in the world by the Guinness Book of Records on 13th November 2008, when it was measured in Waul's Lauderhill garden during Guinness World Records Day.

The son of reggae artist, Franklin, and medical receptionist, Maureen Waul, Jamaica-born Joel had started creating the rubber band ball in 2004, after the family moved to Florida to be nearer his grandmother. As a student at Plantation High School, he earned excellent grades in art and science.

On leaving school, he chose to get a job rather than go to college, although his fascination with all things weird and wonderful became apparent on the internet, where he posted videos of various challenges set by his friends.

On one occasion, he put more than 800 acupuncture needles in his face, saying afterwards it was time consuming, but not painful. Another time, he attached 76 clothes pegs to his face, and this gained him a legion of online followers!

It was in April 2004 that his challenge to build the world's biggest rubber band ball began. He had watched an episode of the now defunct television show, Ripley's Believe It or Not, which showcased oddities across the world.

He saw an experiment in which a rubber band ball weighing one ton was dropped from an aircraft into the Mojave Desert. Researchers wanted to check if it would bounce, but it exploded!

As he watched the experiment, this gave Waul an idea and he decided to create a rubber band ball even bigger than the one on the TV show. He started collecting rubber bands from every source possible, including from work. He even bought them, spending his $2,000 savings to buy in bulk from a wholesaler!

Adding to his work of art, he would spend his evenings watching TV with a massive pile of rubber bands at his feet. When the ball outgrew his home he rolled it into the garden, where it became something of a tourist attraction, as it steadily grew to massive proportions.

Word of his creation  (initially called Nugget, but then renamed Megaton as it grew) spread, and in 2007 he received an offer from Ripley's to buy the ball - but he refused.

In 2008, officials from Guinness World Records descended and hauled Megaton on to a truck's weighing scale. The mighty ball weighed in at 8,200 lbs, easily beating the previous world record of 3,120 lbs.

Later, Waul added an additional 1,200 lbs to ensure his world record would stand for some time. The previous world record holder, Steve Milton, hasn't attempted to beat it thus far.

In 2009, Waul (now known as the "real rubber band man") finally accepted Ripley's offer to purchase Megaton for their Orlando-based museum. He sold his creation for an undisclosed sum. It joins a collection that also contains the largest ball of string and largest ball of barbed wire in the world.

In March 2016, Will Love from Louisiana announced he was attempting to break Waul's world record and he started making his own giant rubber band ball, aiming to create a monster ball that would weigh 20,000 lbs - the equivalent to the weight of five cars! He has called it Rubberto.

However, Love confessed that progress was slow and that his rubber band ball was a mere 50 lbs, so no records were likely to be broken in the foreseeable future - although he rather rashly told social media that he hoped to have it completed by the end of 2018. To date, this seems rather unlikely!

Coruba stocks a large variety of rubber products including rubber matting, safety mats, gaskets and seals, mouldings and extrusions. Although we can't promise you'll break any world records with our products, we can guarantee you'll receive the highest-quality products and a service that is second to none. Contact us on +44(0)1702 560194 or email info@coruba.co.uk for further information.

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