Hula hoops and Rubik’s cubes are a match made in heaven – at least for Colwood teen Josiah Plett.
On Feb. 13, Plett will celebrate his 18th birthday and attempt to break the Guinness World Record for most Rubik’s cubes solved while hula hooping – the first of three records he plans to challenge this month.
To break this record, Plett will make his way to his school, Pacific Christian School in Saanich, at 7 a.m. on the morning of his birthday and spend the next 12 hours solving as many Rubik’s cubes as he can – hula hooping all the while. The current record is 200 solves in about one hour, he explained, admitting that 12 hours does sound extreme so he’ll be happy to at least surpass the five-hour mark.
The next morning, he’ll return to the gymnasium to attempt to break the record for the fastest time to solve a Rubik’s cube while hula hooping which is currently 12.20 seconds – 3.14 seconds slower than his personal best.
On Feb. 20, Plett will attempt to break the third record by hooping and cubing for another 12 hours but this time with one hand as he tackles the record for most Rubik’s cubes solved one-handed while hula hooping – the current record is 101 in about an hour.
To some, solving Rubik’s cubes for hours on end would be the greatest challenge, but Plett has “done so much cubing that it’s really a non-factor.” What he’s worried about is hula hooping for up to 12 hours.
So far, he’s only attempted three hours at a time but has been working with his school’s athletic director John Stewart to build his endurance.
Plett learned to solve a Rubik’s cube at age 7 but only began “speed-cubing” in Grade 10 after a friend introduced him to the concept. After practising and shaving his solve-time from 45 seconds per cube down to an average of 13 seconds, Plett decided to up the ante.
“The hula hooping part was added six months ago,” and it wasn’t long before he decided to apply to Guinness to break the three records. In October, he heard back and began planning the attempts over winter break.
Normally, it costs thousands to bring in an official Guinness adjudicator because the applicant must pay for their travel and accommodations, Plett said, but because of the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, he’ll be relying on local volunteers to monitor his attempts. Each scrutineer is limited to a four-hour shift to avoid losing focus so he’ll need six volunteers for both Feb. 13 and 20, and other volunteers will scramble the cubes.
The fastest time to solve a Rubik’s cube while hula hooping record has more formal regulations and technically requires a World Cube Association delegate to be present. However, with COVID-19, the referee will have to be an informal volunteer who ensures all regulations are followed exactly.
Plett will be using eight RS3 M 2020 Rubik’s cubes which he said are “the best speed cubes on the market” and cost $8 each. They’re stickerless, have a better range of motion than an average Rubik’s cube and contain magnets that snap the pieces into place.
The teen will stream the attempts live on his YouTube channel.