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.
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.
|Total weight when dropped||Who held this weight|
"The Generation Gap"
|The Australian Outback
"Trust No One"
"Me and My Snake"
"The Strongest Man Alive"
- Rupert Boneham held the original record weight of 220 lbs. J.T. Thomas and Brendan Synnott matched this weight in Tocantins.
- Christa Hastie holds the record for highest weight for women, 160 lbs.
- Coach Wade has played this challenge twice, each time determining which member of the opposing tribe received extra weight. His tribe lost the challenge both times.
- Dawn Meehan is the oldest woman to win this challenge. Andrew Savage is the oldest man to win this challenge.
- Debbie Beebe and Taj Johnson-George dropped out at the smallest amount of weight. Both dropped out at 100 lbs.
- However, Taj had already won the challenge when she dropped while Debbie dropped when the challenge was still on.