Virgin & Flexifoil – a record smashing weekend
- Jul 06, 2012
Anthony Van Dort recalls his experience of Richard Branson's record breaking kitesurf...
This journey began on 23rd March 2010 when I received a phone call from Virgin Active’s Marketing Executive asking me whether Flexifoil would support Richard Branson in an attempt to become the oldest person and the fastest person to cross the English Channel.
Little did I know that 28 months later I would be sitting here on the beach in Hythe, UK, reflecting on what was without a doubt the greatest adventure of my life. After hundreds of hours of calls, tens of meetings (and a few panicky moments), I am the happiest man in the world that a company founded by my late father and uncle in 1972, would be the chosen one to assist with Richard Branson’s world record challenge.
Richard Branson achieved the oldest person to cross the English Channel on July 1st. I stood on the front of the lead safety boat and watched closely as Richard rode the waves. I cannot remember exactly what words I shouted out from the boat but some of them definitely shouldn’t be written here (laughing). After three hours and 45 minutes, I saw Richard kitesurf onto the beach in Wimereux. He’d done it. There are no words to describe how happy I was to see him land safely and bag the record.
Only the day before, had Richard’s son, Sam Branson, beaten the world record to become the fastest person to cross the English Channel in a record two hours and 18 minutes. 12 minutes quicker than the previous record held by Flexifoil International since September 17th 1999. Sam accompanied by eight others also went on to achieve the world record for the largest group of kitesurfers to successfully cross the English Channel.
I wonder what the next record challenge will be? Perhaps England to France to Belgium to Holland. Something to think about!
By Anthony Van Dort - Managing Director, Flexifoil, www.flexifoil.com
Video by Dave Ursell, www.pushkiting.co.uk