Super Mario Sunshine Challenges
These are strategies for various challenges that can be completed during gameplay in Super Mario Sunshine. NGC-Elites hosts SMS speed run challenges. The current player ranked first is Alex Penev, who holds 5 of the game's 8 World Records. Cyberscore also has charts for this game, including the Bonus Shine red-coin challenges.
Blooper Surfing Safari (Ricco Harbor)
The trick to getting under ~33 seconds is to use the shortcut. The shortcut is obvious - jump up and over the bank after the first section with the orange cones. However, around half-way through the lap is an invisible checkpoint that you must pass in order for the lap to count. This checkpoint is a line across the water on the back-turn of the U-bend, which is, unfortunately, a little bit out of your way. The idea is to pass the checkpoint and swerve around towards the bank again. If you ride across the cement of the bank, you'll end up two turns shy of the finish line.
To cross the checkpoint in the most efficient manner, do a tiny hop onto the small ledge after the cones section (it's to your right), hug the wall, and turn sharply left as you're about to fall back into the water. Then bee-line it for the shortcut. Clipping the shore slows you down, so be careful to not be too greedy on the final two bends after you drop back into the water. You should use the green blooper.
Red Coins on the Water (Ricco Harbor)
Il Piantissimo's Sand Sprint (Gelato Beach)
First collect the Turbo Nozzle on the island behind you. Switch to the turbo nozzle, run at Piantissimo, and dive at his feet - the idea is to start close to him, but facing the flag. Charge the turbo as you cancel his speech bubble to begin the race, and blast off underneath the hut. Jump once to climb onto the next strata, keeping to the right of the big mirror. Ahead of you is a gap in the side of the wall, which leads to a brick path on the upper tier. What you want to do is, from the sand, while turboing, perform a spin-jump to land onto the bricks. It's a big jump and there is not much room for error in the angle, so expect to crash into things.
Assuming you make it from the sand to the bricks with a single turbo-spin-jump, push North-West on the joystick as you land, and do a tiny tap on the A button as soon as you touch the bricks. If done correctly, Mario will very briefly push against the grass on his left, and hop on it. If done incorrectly, Mario will triple jump. Assuming things go according to plan (lucky you!), Mario will continue turboing up the grassy hill and end up right at the flagpole. Remember, you should be holding down the R button the entire time! But even performing the tricks poorly is enough to get under 10 seconds.
NB. It is possible to beat 10s without the spin jump - you can stop turboing as you reach the gap and do a double-wall kick, recharging the turbo in mid-air as you land on the grassy hill.
NB. It is believed to be impossible to spin jump directly onto the grass from the sand. The bricks are slightly lower than the grass, so they are a suitable alternative and only a slight detour from the "straight path".
Scrubbing Sirena Beach (Sirena Beach)
To do anything at all on this challenge, you need to learn about spam sprays first. Once you can do this, the rest involves a route. Alex's preferred route is to begin the race 3 or 4 spam sprays dead ahead, and hopefully clear the goop to the left and behind the hotelier, as well as some of the goop on top of the first ring in the pavement ahead. Then turn right and cut across the beach, cleaning goop along the sand and trying to jump up and spamming some water onto the second tier. As you reach the second pavement ring, jump from the grass onto the bricks. If you've been spamming 2 sprays per jump or more, you'll be out of water - drop into the nearby pool to recharge. You do need to hold R. Spam into the center of the tier, and turn around to clean the back-side of the second ring. Then cut across along the back of the goopy area to the first ring again (the middle of the tier should be clean, so you won't be going there). All that's left is the first ring, which you hopefully cleaned a little during the first few seconds of the race. Simply face the hotelier, run towards him, and spam spray like a maniac. Visibility should be low and the locations and quantity of remaining goop is up to chance - spam sprays are fairly random in regards to what they clean at longer distances, and most of the left ring is cleaned from afar during the first and middle sections of the race. If you're lucky, only a few sprays will be required to clean the first ring, and therefore the whole level. A good time would be over 2'20 left on the clock, though the top players have broken 2'25 many times.
Red Coins in the Hotel (Sirena Beach)
This challenge requires preparation. Enter the hotel, but ignore the red switch. Enter the left bathroom and use the left-most toilet seat to enter the room above. Uncover the Boo in the picture and go through it to the room with the spinning blinds. Fold the blinds, and triplejump+hover into the small square hole in the ceiling (practice this jump until you're comfortable with it. Now spray the book-shelf to enter the adjacent room, and spray the poster to tear it. Jump on top of one of the spinnable tiles in this room to fall down into the pineapple room below. Break a few of the crates there before you exit through the door.
Now comes the fun part. Smack the red button, pick up the coin next to you (1), and head into the right-hand toilet. Pick up the coin there (2), and get back out into the main room. You must now reach the second level. The easy way is to take the stairs; the hard way is to spin-wall-kick off the middle column in the lobby, but this is only barely faster (and very error-prone). Once on the second level, pick up the coin (3) and head to the third level (take the stairs, or try your luck with "the hard way"). Pick up the coin there (4) and enter the door leading to the swimming pool room. The time should be around 4'42 if you have races well so far. Grab the coin in the pool (5) and come back to the previous room. Fall through the spinnable tile to land in the room with the Boo picture. Since you've uncovered Boo, jump through the picture. Pick up the coin near the rotating blinds (6), and triple jump into the little hole in the ceiling. Go through the bookshelf and behind the torn poster for another coin (7). Finally, fall through the spinnable tile in the room with the poster, to reach the pineapple room below for the final coin (8).
There are several speed tricks used in this challenge that are hard to explain, but a video will explain them nicely. Unfortunately, this challenge is very error prone, and a single dive out-of-alignment will cause Mario to smack his head and lose several seconds. For this reason, many of the top times set "play it safe" in a few locations, and how much this challenge can be improved by is uncertain.
Il Piantissimo's Surf Swim (Noki Bay)
Another challenge that requires preparation. First of all, climb up the tightrope to Piantissimo. Ignore him, and jump across the narrow ledge (towards the hut; there is only one hut in this world) and onto the next ledge. Walk forward towards the hut, and you should be hit by a red boxing glove. This is a one-time glove, and you need to re-enter the level to enable it again. However... note where the boxing glove hits you - you should fall into the water near a circular floating platform. That's where the preparation comes in - you must put the boat there!
The boat is located near the hut. Guide the boat to where the boxing glove hit you (practice getting hit by the boxing glove, especially by diving at the glove, and holding full tilt on the joystick). When the boat is positioned, align it parallel to your trajectory so that you can have some room for error.
Once you're happy with the boat's position, go up to Piantissimo. Face the camera towards the boxing glove, and zoom in. Jump onto the ledge and talk to the purple man (the camera will change orientation when you do this). When the race begins, wait a split second for the camera to realign itself, then hold forward (i.e. towards the boxing glove) and press A+B at the same time to do a dive. You should land onto the tiny narrow ledge. As you land, press A to flip out and sail over the second gap in the ground. Do a quick B-dive-and-A-flip to get hit by the boxing glove. Wheeeeeee....
If you hit the boat as you land, Mario should bounce off it and land much further up into the water. This saves precious time that would be otherwise wasted for swimming. Swimming is slow, and is best avoided. Quickly turn yourself to face the flag, and use the jump-and-dive tactic for rapid swimming to reach the shore (only 3 dives are needed, if you bounce off the boat). Once you reach the shore, B-dive-and-A-flip as many times as necessary to reach the flag.
NB. It's possible to land on the circular platform instead of in the water when you get hit by the glove. To do this, you should not B-dive-and-A-flip onto the glove, but only B+B+B dive. Hitting the platform has the same effect as hitting the boat (you bounce off it). If you position the boat to where you land from the platform's bounce, you can perform a spin flop and land even further up into the water (cutting down on the swimming). This strategy is hard to do and arguably not any faster. Daniel Viebrock reported that you do not get a double-bounce effect from the boat if your first bounce was from the platform, so bouncing off the platform and into the boat only benefits you by avoiding the water for longer (but it disadvantages you since a B+B+B dive onto the gloves is slower and results in smaller glove-hitting distance). Almost all top players use the boat for their first bounce.
NB. The WR involves an extra little trick with the bouncy platform, to cut down on an extra swimming stroke. Without this trick, it's still easily possible to get 12'8, or probably better.
Il Piantissimo's Crazy Climb (Pianta Village)
Piantas in Need (Pianta Village)