7 min read

Jeju Island's stonelifting legends

Monumental news from South Korea's Jeju island. Plus news and updates from the stonelifting world.

Typically, I plan articles months in advance, so I already had plans for this month's article (a pair of wonderful stones nestled in the Japanese alps that I lifted during my trip earlier this year). But after a surprise email in September, I had to push it back because I was so excited about what I read.

So, the Japanese alps will have to wait. Instead, this month's article will take you to South Korea's Jeju Island for some stonelifting legends.

Here's your list of this month's topics. Feel free to jump around to the ones that interest you most:

  • Jeju's stonelifting legends
  • David Webster OBE dies aged 95
  • Giants Live's new Atlas Stones
  • Upcoming: Replica Dinnie Stones hold at RRB
  • Dinnie Stones enamel pin
  • Site updates

Jeju's stonelifting legends

For those of you that have been following the project from very early on, you may remember a piece I published about stonelifting on South Korea's Jeju Island.

In that piece, I wrote about David Nemeth's research from the 80s and Jeju's rich history of stonelifting that locals had seemingly neglected and lost over the decades. Jeju's stonelifting culture appeared dead and forgotten, so I shelved my research to follow more promising leads.

Last month - three and a half years after I last wrote about Jeju - I woke up to an exciting email in my inbox from Richard Pretti who lives on Jeju Island.

Richard told me that he had been on the ground researching Jeju's stonelifting. He had found modern day stonelifting competitions, dozens of stones, and stonelifting legends from Jeju's past. Jeju's stonelifting culture isn't dead after all! The most exciting part? Richard says he's "only scratched the surface".

A stone sits on a small podium a few inches from the floor. There is a sign in Korean.
A lifting stone at Soesokkak Sanmul Tourism Farm. The sign invites people to try lifting it.

Stonelifting is full of legends - stories of immense feats of strength by men and women throughout history, from Brynjólfstak to Marjunar's Hav. These stories are one of my favourite aspects of stonelifting. And now we have a collection of legends highlighting the strength of Jeju's women.

Richard has translated many of Jeju's legends, compiling them into his new book 99 legends of Jeju Island. Today, we're publishing the three stonelifting legends from Richard's book in full!

Alongside these legends, Richard has written about his research and discoveries about Jeju's stonelifting culture. There are some interesting similarities between Jeju's stonelifting culture and what we've seen in Europe!

Read the article here:

Jeju’s stonelifting legends — liftingstones.org
Three stonelifting legends from South Korea’s Jeju Island.

We've also added ten new stone locations to the liftingstones.org map on Jeju Island alone! Not all of the stones are lift-able, but most are - and I couldn't be happier to see that Jeju hasn't forgotten its stonelifting heritage!

Richard's research is ongoing, so I suspect this isn't the last we'll see of Jeju.

David Webster OBE dies aged 95

The world of strength lost a true pioneer and legend of the Iron Game. Sadly, we learned that David Webster OBE passed away this month at the incredible age of 95.

David Webster stands in an overgrown area on the bank of the River Dee.
David Webster in Stoneland, recounting his experience rediscovering the Dinnie Stones.

In the stonelifting world, David is perhaps best known as the man who rediscovered the Dinnie Stones back in 1953 – famously paying a £250 bounty to the first man who could lift the stones barehanded almost 20 years later.

But David's accomplishments span far across the world of strength and athletics. In David's lengthy career, he touched and influenced almost every corner of physical culture. In fact, it's such a long list that it's hard to write about. Here's a few highlights:

  • International Highland Games promoter and leading authority
  • Writer of dozens of books and thousands of articles
  • Major influence in Scottish and British weightlifting
  • Scottish Masters (70+) Weightlifting champion 1999
  • Consultant on World's Strongest Man
  • One of the creators of IFSA (International Federation of Strength Athletics)
  • Chief of officials at the Arnold Strongman Classic
  • Chairman of the Commonwealth Games Council for Scotland
  • Awarded an OBE for his services to sport
  • And much more!

David leaves an exceptional legacy in the world of strength, the likes of which may never be matched. Tributes poured out around the world when the news broke, and he'll be sorely missed.

I'd strongly recommend reading Our Davie, written by the late Terry Todd back in 2010. Terry writes a wonderful piece about David's life and accomplishments along with some lovely anecdotes that paint a picture of David and his unrivaled passion for strength.

Giants Live's new Atlas Stones

After some past criticism about the condition of their Atlas Stones, Giants Live acquired a new set made by Atlas Endurance. The Scotland-based company are known for their high quality stones and impressive finishes. They also created Tom Stoltman's 286kg record Atlas Stone as well as his 304kg stone.

A set of 10 black Atlas Stones on shipping palets.
The Giants Live Atlas Stones by Atlas Endurance.

We saw the new set in action last weekend at the Giants Live World Tour Finals where Tom Stoltman one-motioned every stone with ease.

Giants Live decided to carry over the old record to this new set of stones. The weights and diameters are the same as the old set - with the primary difference being the finish on the surface. Some say that the new set of stones should have their own record, retiring the previous one.

What do you think? Should the new set of stones have new records?

Upcoming: Replica Dinnie Stones hold at Rogue Record Breakers

The Rogue Invitational is back on Friday 27th October for a weekend of strength!

Although there are no stone events in the Strongman competition this time round, the Replica Dinnie Stones return for the Rogue Record Breakers on Sunday.

Last year, Mitch Hooper managed to snatch the record from Kevin Faires, bringing the record on the replica stones to 39.85 seconds!

I'm looking forward to watching the athletes digging deep and enduring the pain for a chance to take home $5,000!

You can watch day 3 of the Rogue Invitational live on YouTube.

Dinnie Stones enamel pin

The cold weather over the last few weeks here in the UK has been a stark reminder that we're edging closer to the holiday season.

If you - or a loved one - would like a pin as a gift, there are still some available. They're going to make wonderful stocking fillers for lucky stonelifters!

A Dinnie Stones enamel pin on a black backpack outdoors.

Site updates

I've made a few other updates to the site this month. It's been a while since I've added stones to the map, so I added a few extras that I've been meaning to add for a while. There are still plenty I've yet to add, but I'll add those periodically. I'm aiming to hit over 100 different stone sites across the world by the end of the year!

The stone directory also gets a small quality-of-life update: each stone now has a flag representing its country, making it far easier to scan for stones.

As always, thanks for reading.

In strength,


Latest articles

Jeju’s stonelifting legends — liftingstones.org
Three stonelifting legends from South Korea’s Jeju Island.
Peaking for a stonelifting tour — liftingstones.org
How to peak your training and successfully demonstrate your strength for a stonelifting tour.

The liftingstones.org shop

Dinnie Stones enamel pin

Inspired by the world’s most famous lifting stones, this liftingstones.org original pin is perfect for showing off your love of stonelifting by pinning it to your gym bag, clothes, or anywhere else.