HUNDREDS of kitesurfers have helped to set a new world record on Hayling Island.
A total of 423 took to the waters on the final day of the Kitesurfing Armada festival.
And gusty weather helped lift their sails into the official Guinness Book of Records for most kitesurfers travelling along a one mile route.
The success means the Hayling team snatched back the title from the South African Virgin Kitesurfing Armada, which set the previous record in January of 415 kiters in all.
Dan Charlish, from Virgin Kitesurfing Armada was thrilled with yesterday’s result.
Speaking of the festival, he said: ‘We’re absolutely delighted. It was a real community effort.
It’s the perfect end to another fantastic festivalDan Charlish, event organiser
‘We have had kitesurfers from across the country getting involved.
‘I’m so delighted and thankful for everyone who took part. It’s the perfect end to another fantastic festival.’
This is the fourth time the spectacle has been staged at Hayling Island.
Dan said this year’s event was ‘double the size’ of 2015’s.
He added the record-breaking success proved the Armada had a bright future at Hayling Island.
‘This shows the support and togetherness of the whole kitesurfing community,’ he said.
‘They wanted to make this happen. We just wanted something positive.’
The festival got off to a flying start on Friday. Around 250 schoolchildren from the island joined with Havant MP Alan Mak for an afternoon of kitesurfing talks, wind energy and general health.
The action was led by British kitesurfing champion Lewis Crathern.
Crathern, of Worthing, in West Sussex, was one of scores of professional kitesurfers supporting the festival.
His appearance comes just months after he came out of a coma following a serious accident.
Speaking of the weekend, Crathern said: ‘The festival has been amazing.
‘It’s not often we can get together in big group of us so it’s awesome to see how many people are in the sport.
‘Hayling Island has one of the biggest kitesurfing clubs in the UK. There are thousands of people registered to kite here.’
He added that Hayling should be proud of kick-starting the Armada, which is now spreading across the globe.
‘We’ve held it in South Africa and there’s talk of bringing it to Asia – but everything started here on Hayling Island four years ago,’ he said.
Dan hopes 2017’s event will be the best yet and thanked everyone for their help.