A THREE-DAY festival where kitesurfing mixes with live music and entertainment is back, and bigger than ever before.
Now in its fifth year, the Virgin Kitesurfing Armada Festival on Hayling Island will bring locals together with food, drink, record-breaking and fundraising.
This year’s June event, which will host the British Kitesurfing Championships, is back with a new outdoor live music stage.
Dan Charlish, founder of charity Armada Trust, said: ‘The UK punches way above its weight with the kitesurfers it has – and it will be awesome seeing them demonstrating their skills on the water.
‘For this year’s event we’ve gone big. A new, outdoor music stage will provide the perfect festival vibe.’
Due to Hayling Island’s rich watersports history, the festival has always been popular. It started out as a charity fundraiser backed by Virgin and Richard Branson.
Kitesurfers will be taking part in their annual mass participation Guinness world record attempt. The event will also be the setting for the world’s first Kite-SUP-Run Charity Challenge – a new triathlon.
On site there will be a brands marquee, pro and industry talks, along with live music all day, DJs and live bands at night, and a silent disco.
New to the beach is the Fat Face Family Zone offering a range of activities, while the Neilson Recovery Zone provides a ‘beach club feel’ with its own hot tub and massage area.
Councillor Andrew Lenaghan, who represents Hayling West on Havant Borough Council, praised the event.
He said: ‘It’s absolutely great for the island and highlights what a beautiful resort we’ve got that’s ideal for watersports and families alike.
‘It helps local businesses too, and last year some of the funds raised were used to help re-launch the Hayling Ferry.
‘I think it’s great there are more attractions this year for those who aren’t involved in kitesurfing to enjoy – the more people that attend the better.
‘We need to ensure we retain the event’s place on the island for future years, and I hope people turn out in their droves to enjoy it.’
The festival opens at 11am on Friday, June 9. Entry is free, but kitesurfers wanting to take part should purchase tickets from armadaevents.co.uk.