On Saturday 13 May, the UAE’s 104.8 Channel 4 radio host Stu Tolan broadcasted LIVE from the bottom of The Ambassador Lagoon at Atlantis, The Palm for a total of five hours, 25 minutes and 25 seconds, smashing the Guinness World Records title for the longest underwater live radio broadcast unsupported in the world.
Submerged in the 11-million-litre marine habitat at a depth of 2.9 metres, the record was broken in one of the top 10 largest aquariums in the world at just over three million gallons. During the broadcast Stu was surrounded by 65,000 marine animals and fish including black tip reef sharks, stingrays, snapper, hammour, giant grouper, zebra sharks, and arapaima, whilst guests watched with baited breath from the lagoon’s 10-metre-long and 70-centimetres-thick viewing pane.
With the previous Guinness World Records title for the longest underwater live radio broadcast (unsupported) totalling four hours, 43 minutes and 54 seconds, 104.8 Channel 4 and Atlantis went about beating the record by putting Stu in a ‘Sea Trek’ helmet to allow for breathing and a clear LIVE radio transmission from underwater. The helmet featured a “tri-view” lens and was designed to give Stu a clean, undistorted view of the lagoon, while the radio’s excellent technical set-up allowed for a seamless and clear transmission throughout the entire duration of the broadcast.
With the official Guinness World Records adjudicator verifying the record from the at the top of the lagoon, the rules stipulated that Stu had to broadcast LIVE and fully submerged for the entire duration of the attempt. This required a total of 11 air scuba-tank changes to be made underwater, achieved seamlessly by the six-man-strong dive-support team from The Lost Chambers Aquarium.
With a long afternoon ahead the exciting underwater themed show featured special marine-themed guests including Michael Rutzen, the celebrated South African ‘Shark Man’ who has spent more time free diving with great white sharks without a cage than any other person. Al Hurra TV presenter Noureldin Youssef joined the show and did an interview while walking on the bottom of the tank in an Aquatrek helmet as well as 26-year-old, pharmacist, Zainab Al Eqabi, who lost her leg when she was seven years old when an unexploded bomb from the Gulf War went off in her home. Zainab received her PADI qualification in The Ambassador Lagoon in September 2016 and went on air to talk about how life doesn’t have to stop when you have a disability.
Stu Tolan, Channel 4 radio host commented: “I have been lucky enough to participate in some incredible stunts during my radio career, but this was truly an amazing challenge and attempting a Guinness World Records title is a total world away from my every day. The team at the Atlantis were incredible to work with and the support from my team at 104.8 Channel 4 made the whole challenge an incredible team effort!”
The Guinness World Records attempt was launched in line with the resort’s latest campaign ‘A World Away From Your Everyday’, which taps into the idea that everyone needs to escape their everyday once in a while and be immersed in an extraordinary world. With its enviable location at the centre of the crescent of Dubai’s Palm Island, Atlantis, The Palm provides this escape. The unique ocean-themed resort features a variety of marine and entertainment attractions, as well as 17 hectares of waterscape amusement at Aquaventure Waterpark, all within a 46 hectare site.
Ravini Perera, SVP, Sales, Marketing and PR at Atlantis, The Palm adds: “By breaking the Guinness World Records title for Longest LIVE Underwater Broadcast, we have captured exactly what ‘A World Away From Your Everyday’ at Atlantis is truly about. Experiencing the unforgettable and seemingly impossible and seeing something that can be found nowhere else in the world.”