Kitesurfing armada at Hayling

A participant in the Virgin Kitesurfing Armada at Hayling Island''Picture:  Martin Allen.
A participant in the Virgin Kitesurfing Armada at Hayling Island''Picture: Martin Allen.
Black Star Riders: from left, Scott Gorham, Chad Szeliga, Ricky Warwick,  Robbie Crane and Damon Johnson.  Picture by Richard Stow

Black Star Riders come under Heavy Fire on their latest tour

0
Have your say

SEEING a dozen kitesurfers riding the waves is quite a spectacle.

But more than 300 at one time is a sight to savour.

Nick Thompson, Laser.''Virgin Kitesurfing Armada, Hayling Island, Hampshire 11th -12th October, 2014.'?� Copyright Martin Allen. Image copyright free for editorial use. This image may not be used for any other purpose without the express prior written permission of Martin Allen PPP-141210-182223002

Nick Thompson, Laser.''Virgin Kitesurfing Armada, Hayling Island, Hampshire 11th -12th October, 2014.'?� Copyright Martin Allen. Image copyright free for editorial use. This image may not be used for any other purpose without the express prior written permission of Martin Allen PPP-141210-182223002

People revelled in the view as hundreds of kitesurfers took to the waters off Hayling seafront in a bid to break a world record.

With the backing of Virgin tycoon Sir Richard Branson, organisers were hoping to break the Guinness World Record for the largest parade of kitesurfers ever assembled.

It was fittingly called the Kitesurfing Armada.

The record to break was 352 and it was all looking good as 362 took to the water, near Hayling Island Golf Club, to complete the one-mile course.

Virgin Kitesurfing Armada, Hayling Island, Hampshire 11th -12th October, 2014.'?� Copyright Martin Allen. Image copyright free for editorial use. This image may not be used for any other purpose without the express prior written permission of Martin Allen PPP-141210-182115002

Virgin Kitesurfing Armada, Hayling Island, Hampshire 11th -12th October, 2014.'?� Copyright Martin Allen. Image copyright free for editorial use. This image may not be used for any other purpose without the express prior written permission of Martin Allen PPP-141210-182115002

But sport is full of surprises, especially with the weather involved.

By 3pm on Saturday, 344 had completed the one-mile course – just eight shy of the world record.

But the loss failed to dampen spirits as people of all ages enjoyed the experience.

The oldest participant was Judy Tonkinson, 73, from West Sussex.

She said: ‘I’m here for the charities involved, that’s what the Armada is all about. Having fun on the day and beating the youngsters is just an added bonus!’

Adam Farrington, 11, was the Armada’s youngest participant and kited with his father Russell.

Mr Farrington said: ‘It’s so much better now Adam can kitesurf with me, he doesn’t have to just watch or sit on my board. It’s important to keep young people coming through the sport.’

Each participant raised at least £100, with all of the proceeds going to charities, which were youth charity Snow-Camp, Virgin Unite and the RNLI.

Dan Charlish, director of Snow-Camp and the Kitesurfing Armada, said: ‘It’s been phenomenal to see the response of the kitesurfing community coming together to support the Virgin Kitesurfing Armada.

‘Although we had enough kitesurfers on the water, because of disqualifications the official result was 344 – a fantastic result nonetheless.’

It is hoped to repeat the stunt next year.

Hayling Councillor Leah Turner said: ‘It’s brilliant for Hayling. We are so grateful it’s happening and bringing people to the island.’