Survivor Wiki
Survivor Wiki

Water Torture (also known as Shoulder the Load) is a recurring endurance challenge that originated in Survivor: Borneo and was modified and reused in later seasons.


In Borneo, one man from each tribe would hold weight on poles until they could no longer do so. Due to the challenge going unaired, it currently unknown if the polebearers had to simply hold a set weight for as long as they could or if their was a method for increasing the weight of the poles similar to later seasons.

When used in The Australian Outback, one man from each tribe was chosen to be the designated water bearer who would hold weight in water from the other tribe until the weight became too much to bear.

Starting in Pearl Islands and since, three members from each tribe will have a pole across their shoulders. Each round, weight (20 lbs.) will be added to that pole. The decision about which tribe member gets the weight will be made by the other tribe. When the weight becomes too much to bear, the tribe member will drop the pole and be out of the challenge. Last person left standing wins reward or immunity for their tribe.

Starting in Tocantins, a requirement was added that two men and one woman must compete in this challenge. This requirement was kept for South Pacific.


This challenge would first appear as an unaired Reward Challenge in Survivor: Borneo that occurred on either Day 4 or 5. Richard Hatch and Joel Klug bore the poles for Tagi and Pagong respectively. Joel managed to endure longer than Richard, earning the Pagong tribe a map to a closer water source.

In its on-screen debut during Survivor: The Australian Outback, Michael and Colby were the two designated water bearers. After time elapsed they were both carrying approximately 400 lbs. of water, where soon Michael's pole snapped in half. The two went into a timed tiebreaker in which Colby won for his tribe, Ogakor.

Andrew and Ryan O. won this challenge for Morgan when it reappeared in Survivor: Pearl Islands.

Taj won this challenge for Jalapao for reward in Survivor: Tocantins.

Dawn won this challenge for Savaii most recently in Survivor: South Pacific, where the challenge was for reward and immunity.

Total weight when dropped Who held this weight
240 lbs. S23 jim t.pngS23 brandon t.png
220 lbs. S7 rupert t.pngS18 jt t.pngS18 brendan t.png
180 lbs. S23 keith t.pngS23 albert t.png
160 lbs. S7 osten t.pngS7 christa t.pngS7 andrew t.png
140 lbs. S7 shawn t.pngS7 ryano t.pngS18 joe t.png
S18 tyson t.pngS23 stacey t.pngS23 dawn t.png
100 lbs. S18 taj t.pngS18 debbie t.png


Episode Challenge Type Winner
"The Generation Gap"
Tribal Reward S1 bb t.pngS1 colleen t.pngS1 gervase t.pngS1 greg t.png
S1 gretchen t.pngS1 jenna t.pngS1 joel t.pngS1 ramona t.png
The Australian Outback
"Trust No One"
Tribal Reward S2 amber t.pngS2 colby t.pngS2 jerri t.png
S2 keith t.pngS2 maralyn t.pngS2 mitchell t.pngS2 tina t.png
Pearl Islands
"Me and My Snake"
Tribal Immunity S7 andrew t.pngS7 darrah t.png
S7 osten t.pngS7 ryano t.pngS7 tijuana t.png
"The Strongest Man Alive"
Tribal Reward S18 joe t.pngS18 jt t.pngS18 sandy t.png
S18 spencer t.pngS18 stephen t.pngS18 sydney t.pngS18 taj t.png
South Pacific
Tribal Reward/Immunity S23 cochran t.pngS23 dawn t.pngS23 elyse t.png
S23 jim t.pngS23 keith t.pngS23 ozzy t.pngS23 whitney t.png




Recurring Challenges
A Bit Tipsy · A Crate Idea · A Leg Up · A Numbers Game · Air Raid · Angry Chair · Around the Bend · Balancing Point · Ballin' A Jack · Barrel Bridge · Barrel of Monkeys · Basket Brawl · Better Homes and Island Living · Beyond the Wheel · Blind Leading the Blind · Blue Lagoon Bustle · Blue Plate Special · Boats, Brains & Brawn · Bone to Pick · Boulder Smash · Bow Diddley · Box Your Mind · Braille Maze · Broken China · Buggin' Out · Build It Up, Break It Down · Butch Cassidy · By Any Means Necessary · By the Numbers · Can't Buoy Me Love · Cannonball Run · Caught in the Web · Cell Block Sea · Challenge Pitch · Chief's Choice · Chimney Sweep · Chinese Zodiac Symbols · Choose Your Weapon · Coconut Juice · Crate Escape · Crocodile Rock · Crosswalk · Cube Crisis · Dear Liza · Dive Masters · Domino Effect · Draggin' the Dragon · Dragging the River · Drop A Log · Dulcimer Stomp · End of the Line · Fallen Comrades · Fast Fire · Faulty Towers · Fauxconut Bowling · Fire and Water · Fire Fighter · Float Your Boat · Floating Puzzle · Game of Bridge · Gatecrasher · Get a Grip · Get Barreled · Get Hooked · Get Your Goat · Gimme Three Steps · Great Escape Run · Hands on a Hard Idol · Hear About It Ladder · Hot Pursuit · House of Cards · House of the Holey · Idol Hands · Jail Break · Jump Shot · Jungle Love · Jungle Relay · Kamikaze · Keel Hauling · Keep It Up · Keep on Your Toes · Kicking and Screaming · Kitty Litter · Know Your Loved One · Ladder Tree Golf · Last Gasp · Letter Hunt · Lock, Load and Light · Lock Step · Log Jam · Losing Face · Mask Match · Matchmaker · Matt Finish · Memory · Mud Pack · Mud Slide · Muddy Waters · New School · New Tribe Member · Nut Bucket · O-Black Water · Odd Shaped Bottoms · Operation Balance Build · Out on a Limb · Over-Extended · Paddle Battle · Paddle Out · Perch · Pilfering Pirates · Piranha Feast · Pole Dancing · Pot Head · Push Me, Pull You · Puzzle Dig · Pyramid Scheme · Q and A · Quest for Fire · Race to Shore · Ram-Ball On · Rescue Mission · Rice Race · Rise and Shrine · Rock Bottom · Rock n' Roll · Rod Screw-It · Roll With It · Roller Ball · Running Down a Dream · · Sacrificial Lamb · Schmergen Brawl · Sea Crates · Sea Legs · Sea Salvage · Shipwrecked · Shoot 'n' Shuffle · Shooting Gallery · Shoulder the Load · Simmotion · Slip, Slide & Score · Slither Me Timbers · Smash and Grab · Snag, Drag and Bag · Snake in the Grass · Snake Island Relay · SOS Signal · Spear-it Hunt · Spit It Out · Splash Back · Sprung A Leak · Squared Off · Squatty Probst · Stacked Up · Stairway to Heaven · Stairway to the Stars · Station By Station · Step on Up · Stomp-ede · Strung Out · Sumo at Sea · Survivor Auction · Survivor History · Survivor Pentathlon · Survivor Quiz Show · Swahili Scramble · Swing Break · Temple Transfer · The Ball Drop · The Cruel Sea · The Game is Afoot · The Gauntlet · The Home Stretch · The Maze · The Obstacle Course · This Much · Thrash, Splash & Bash · TLP O-Course · Tomb Raider · Troubled Water · Uncomfortably Numb · United We Stand · Vampire Bats · Vertically Challenged · Vertigo · Wall to Wall · Well Stacked · What-er Drag · When It Rains, It Pours · Wicker Flicker · Will It Go Round · Witch Hunt · Wrist Assured · Yank Your Hank · You Shook Me