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318 Kitesurfers Break the World Record

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Posted by Priya S under Kitesurfing on 27 September 2013 at 11:00 PM

On Sunday 14th September 318 kitesurfers (including me!) broke a world record for the largest parade of kitesurfers passing through a 1 mile stretch along the south coast of the UK.  We then continued along the coast to attempt an epic 46 mile downwinder for charity!

Priya Record Breaker

After very little sleep we arrived at Hayling Island at 7am to calm and sunny conditions.  I was nervously excited.  Having only kited for one and half years, I was probably one of the least experienced riders out there.  The atmosphere was buzzing with excitement, bumping into a lot of familiar faces from the being on the water. 

After a safety briefing, everyone headed to the beach to pump up their kites, it felt like Operation Kitesurfing; had the organisation not been impeccable, setting up 318 kites and lines could have ended in a huge spaghetti mess! 

Kitesurfer Armarda

Richard Bransen - keen kitesurferWe knew from the forecasts that a storm was brewing on the horizon as we waited eagerly for the wind to kick in. The horn blew and we were off!  Sir Richard Branson lead the way, as each kite was launched one by one, everyone followed suit down the mile.  I was kiter number 260 so by the time it was my turn to launch the wind had picked up to 20+ knots so I had to ditch my 9m kite and pump up my 6m.  The first mile was pretty straight forward but as we went further out to sea the waves became huge, the biggest I had ever kitesurfed on.  As I occasionally faceplanted in the water and lost my board my fear of the deep sea kicked in and all I could hear was the Jaws theme tune in my head.  The body dragging upwind to fetch my board really tired me out, especially when I had to search for my board which was hidden between the huge waves.  Once the 1 mile mark had been crossed we continued along the coast to attempt a 46 mile downwinder.  

Reaching Selsey after about 10 miles, the course direction changed and the wind became really gusty and continuously picked up.  Conditions became tough and I was massively overpowered even on a small 6m kite.  I kept being yanked with the gusts and was extremely hard to travel downwind.  I had to teach myself toeside riding on the job!  After zig-zagging my way up the coast with my 'buddie' group we finally reached Pagham.  We took a pit stop and was great to see my whole family there, watching me kite for the first time.  I was in two minds to carry on; part of me was exhausted from battling the wind and part of me really wanted to complete the whole 46 mile journey.  In the end the decision was made for me as the wind had really picked up to dangerous levels and the remainder of the event was called off – probably the best decision in hindsight.

Kitesurfing route for 46 milerI was pretty chuffed to have travelled over 15 miles on my first downwinder, especially to do it with such a great group of kiters. The UK kitesurfing community really is an awesome bunch of people, everyone is super friendly and always ready to help when you get into a spot of trouble.  Next year we hope the Armada will be 600 strong! 

A big shout out goes to fellow kitesurfers @umulinga,  @filip295, @kater28, @jojobrett and an extra shout out to @tessy, @lara_kitesurfer, @jomalyon,        @DiMift who made the whole 46 mile journey to Lancing!

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