Bowling on One Wheel: Australian Ben Johns Breaks Guinness World Record

By Matt Stevens
August 4, 2023

Tenpin Bowling Australia member Ben Johns has etched his name inside the Guinness Book of World Records after scoring the highest Tenpin Bowling game on a unicycle. Yes, you read that right – a unicycle!

Meet Ben – a tenpin bowling enthusiast who enjoys pushing the boundaries of the sport.

Ben’s bowling journey began in 2003 at the age of 10, and his passion for the game has remained strong throughout his life. Inspired by his family’s bowling background and admiration for professional bowlers, Ben found himself captivated by the sport.

Always up for a challenge, Ben took on an extraordinary endeavour on Christmas Eve in 2020, learning how to ride a unicycle. Balancing on a single wheel was no easy task, but with dedication and perseverance, Ben tackled the challenge head-on. As he grew more confident in unicycling, he decided to raise the difficulty level and connect it with his passion for bowling by attempting something no one had done before – bowling on a unicycle.

“I always like to challenge myself, and starting off, that’s exactly what it was,” explained Johns. “Riding for half an hour every second day at home, it took me 3-4 months to ride the equivalent of the start of the bowling lane approach to the foul line without falling off.”

Requiring extraordinary balance, focus and skill, Ben committed to countless hours of practice where he perfected his newfound unique craft.

Ben’s unicycle journey progressed in December 2021 when he started his TikTok channel (@benjohns.1) and set goals related to his unique skill. The initial goal was to bowl a single strike on a unicycle on video, but as he achieved that, he aimed even higher – a world record.

“This was a new record as no one had even tried this before and Guinness set the score as 151 to qualify as a record,” explained Johns. “Being a Guinness World Record holder was a dream of mine in the early 2000s after I got my first book for Christmas and seeing the Guinness World Records show on television” added Johns.

As is the case with all skill development, Ben encountered numerous trials and errors, but his determination never wavered. Step by step, he improved his technique, honed his skills, and set his sights on achieving something no other person in the world had achieved.

After two years of relentless pursuit, the night arrived when Ben would attempt to break the world record for the highest game on a unicycle. This moment marked the culmination of hard work, unwavering support, and a dedicated team coming together.

The target was a score of 151 and Aspley 10 Pin Bowl in Queensland was the stage, as family and friends gathered to cheer their man on.

The official record Ben was chasing was the Highest Tenpin Bowling Score on a Unicycle. For the record to stand, Ben had to remain on the unicycle until the ball hit the pins after each delivery.

In the first game, only the second time Ben had bowled on his unicycle since February, he scored an impressive 150 – just one point shy of the existing record. Undeterred, Ben pressed on toward his goal with two subsequent games of 143.

Determined to achieve his dream, Ben made a strategic move, changing lanes and trying a different ball, resulting in a game score of 103. Returning to the original pair of lanes for game five, Ben’s dream became a reality. He closed the first six frames, encountered a few unlucky leaves in the 7th and 8th frames, but finished strong, cracking the record, with a score of 166.

With the new world record in hand, Ben will receive a certificate recognising his achievement, and the record to be showcased on the Guinness World Records website, with potential inclusion in the latest book and on their YouTube channel.

“I have always been a fighter and never give up until the end,” explained Johns.

“Trying to ride a unicycle comes with an acceptance that you will fail as you learn. You are going to fall off so many times before finally being able to ride with ease. It helped me to develop resiliency and build character to focus on achieving goals.

“The mentality I have came from watching a lot of sports over the years and seeing what the best athletes can do and the qualities that make them a champion and a complete player” added Johns.

Behind every achievement lies a strong support system, and Ben’s record-setting journey was no exception with several individuals playing a vital role in helping him achieve this remarkable feat.

The centre manager of Aspley 10 Pin Bowl, Jason Lambert, was an integral part of his success. Not many centre managers would allow such a unique attempt to occur, but Jason allowed Ben to practice tirelessly for the last 18 months, even after regular hours. Jason also extended his support by ensuring Ben’s gear was legal and the lanes were properly accredited, providing the perfect platform for the record attempt.

Ben also acknowledged his friend Philip for being the photographer on the night. His friend Alex, who was the tech of the support crew and ensured the lanes were oiled and stayed back to help with any lane issues. Lastly Ben thanked his wife Taya, his mum and dad, and everyone who stayed back after league to support the dream.

Not a one-trick pony, Ben is also a talented bowler who showcases great versatility off the unicycle and on his two feet.

Ben bowls one-handed, right-handed, and has bowled 18 perfect 300 games with a high 3-game series of 838. At the time of writing, Ben’s league average is 228 at his home bowl of Aspley 10 Pin Bowl in Queensland. Also dabbling in 2 handed bowling as a ‘backup’ and being able to use the left side of the lane, Ben also averages in the 200-205 range and has a high game of 268 and a high series of 696.

It doesn’t stop there. Ben also has a high game of 247 with his left hand and 174 between the legs. Ben loves a trick shot, and you can view some of his amazing skills on his TikTok channel. Ben just loves getting involved in Tenpin Bowling.

“I just love the challenge of bowling every time you put your shoes on,” explained Johns.

“There is a different way to figure out the lane puzzle each time and on each lane.

“There is always something that can be improved on, and you are always learning something new in this sport every time you bowl” added Johns.

Ben’s journey from learning how to ride a unicycle to setting a world record of 166 in bowling is nothing short of incredible. It reflects the power of perseverance, determination, and what’s possible with the staunch support of a dedicated team. An achievement not only belonging to Ben, but also to the family, friends, and mentors who stood by him every step of the way.

Tenpin Bowling Australia congratulates Ben Johns for this remarkable achievement. It helps remind everyone of the unlimited possibilities that lie ahead when passion and hard work intersect. This world record is not just a score, but a testament to the human spirit’s ability to conquer challenges and break barriers, which Tenpin Bowling executes so magnificently.

Watch Ben’s incredible game of 166 to set the World Record below.