Family affair for kitesurfing world record attempt
- By Richard Branson -
- Jun 30, 2012
We’ve been in training for some time in an attempt to take the record for the fastest kitesurf crossing of the English Channel. My son Sam and I are going to give it our best shot today.
All going well, Sam and I are planning to cross the finish line hand in hand together to make it a truly family affair. I’m sure we’ll both be relieved to see the white cliffs of Dover!
We’re also attempting the largest group crossing of the Channel, with nephews and friends joining us. The record that Sam and I have to beat is two and a half hours. The group have got to beat four hours.
The official Guinness World Record for the fastest English Channel crossing was set by Chris Calthrop, Jason Furness and Andy Preston on September 17th, 1999. The UK kitesurfers crossed in two hours 30 minutes (two members) and three hours (one member). There have been several attempts to break it since. The closest was Jamie Breakwell, who missed the record in 2009 by 10 minutes.
There are strong winds across the English Channel today, which makes the record attempt a possibility - if we don’t cramp up or run foul of the shipping lanes! With strong winds come choppy seas and big waves. The wind direction means the distance we have to travel is a few miles further than the current record.
I feel enormously fortunate to be able to experience such incredible challenges with family and friends.
Also very lucky that my body is still capable of doing wonderful adventures like this. Being 62 next month, even if I fail the other records I get the consolation prize of being the oldest person to kitesurf across the English Channel. But obviously I’m determined to do all I can to break the other records too.
Wish us luck! I’ll update you as soon as we have finished - hopefully with a new world record or two!
By Richard Branson. Founder of Virgin Group