AN ARMADA of kitesurfers – including Sir Richard Branson – is going to descend on Hayling once more.
Organiser Dan Charlish announced the plans after handing over a cheque to Hayling RNLI for £5,000.
He joined forces with tycoon and fellow thrill-seeker Sir Richard for a world-record attempt last year which saw more than 360 people try and ride the waves for a mile. Unfortunately only 344 completed it – just below the 350 target.
But there was still a happy outcome because the event, in October, raised thousands of pounds for Hayling RNLI and, in two years, has raised £120,000 for a variety of charities.
Dan said: ‘Knowing the RNLI is there gives me, and I’m sure many other kitesurfers, a lot of reassurance.
‘They do an amazing job and it’s great that the kitesurfing community can come together once a year and support their work.’
He added that the Kitesurfing Armada is ‘100 per cent’ heading back to Hayling and said: ‘We would like to thank the volunteers for their fantastic commitment to the event, the sponsors and industry for getting behind the armada and Havant Borough Council for its ongoing support and partnership.’
The armada, which draws thousands of spectators from across the country, is a boost to the island’s economy.
Sarah Flamson, the council’s economic development officer, said: ‘We’re fully behind the goals of the Kitesurfing Armada and it brings so much to Hayling Island – we are looking forward to working with the team to make the event even better this year.’
Lifeboat operations manager, Jonathan Bradbury was delighted to receive the cheque.
He said: ‘We want to say a sincere thank you to all the kitesurfers who participated in the armada and raised this fantastic amount.
‘We’re aiming to kit out the entire crew here with new dry suits, specialist helmets and gloves and this will go a long way to achieving this goal, making us more effective on the water in rescue situations.’
The event is dependent on wind and three weekends have been earmarked in September and October. Go to kitesurfingarmada.org.uk.