United We Stand (also known as Head and Shoulders) is a recurring tribal challenge that originated in Survivor: Cook Islands and required exceptional teamwork and balance.


Played in shallow water, each tribe uses a platform attached to a long pole (sometimes assembled in-challenge as a puzzle component) to transfer members of their tribe from one high platform to another. Once these teammates have reached the final platform, all members of the tribe must climb up to a smaller platform and fit onto the tower with their feet above the highest deck to win the challenge.


The challenge debuted in Survivor: Cook Islands. In this version, the three poles were assembled as a puzzle, before the tribes began transferring their teammates (Becky Lee and Jessica Smith for Aitutaki and Jenny Guzon-Bae and Parvati Shallow for Rarotonga) between two platforms. Aitutaki won the challenge, and immunity.

When the challenge reappeared in Survivor: Micronesia, Airai pioneered a creative strategy in which James Clement, with the rest of the tribe balancing the pole, carried teammates Eliza Orlins and Parvati Shallow between the platforms. This inventive solution gave Airai a lead that they converted to a challenge win, taking home immunity.

The challenge was modified in Survivor: Caramoan, where it became known as Head and Shoulders. In response to the strategy employed in Micronesia, contestants could no longer move whilst their teammate balanced on the platform (now wooden square platform balanced across the contestants' shoulders). Bikal edged a tight lead, narrowly winning the challenge and a visit from a local bushman.

The challenge reappeared in Survivor: Kaôh Rōng as a Reward Challenge. Following the rules established in Caramoan, the tribes had to move one member (Aubry BraccoCydney Gillon, and Michele Fitzgerald all attempted to stand on the poles for the Blue Team, while Julia Sokolowski did so for the Yellow Team) from one platform to another. The Blue Team was unable to make it more than a few steps before failing, allowing the Yellow Team to easily win the challenge.


Episode Challenge Type Winners
Cook Islands
"Don't Cry Over Spilled Octopus"
Tribal Immunity S13 becky tS13 candice tS13 caoboi tS13 jessica t
S13 jonathan tS13 ozzy tS13 sundra tS13 yul t
"It Hit Everyone Pretty Hard"
Tribal Immunity S16 alexis tS16 eliza tS16 james t
S16 jason tS16 kathy tS16 natalie tS16 parvati t
"Kill or Be Killed"
Tribal Reward S26 andrea tS26 brandon tS26 brenda t
S26 cochran tS26 corinne tS26 dawn t
S26 erik tS26 malcolm tS26 phillip t
Kaôh Rōng
"The Jocks vs. the Pretty People"
Team Reward S32 debbie tS32 julia t
S32 nick tS32 scot tS32 tai t
Debbie, Julia, Nick, Scot, & Tai




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