RECORD WOMEN'S KITEBOARDING CROSSING!!!
- The following is reposted from kiteforum.com at:
"The Crossing :
The core essence of The Crossing centers on remembering and celebrating the
life of our friend Silke Gorldt who died in 2002 .
With her accident came a revelation within the kiteboarding industry for
safety which lead to the standardization of quick releases on all production
For Silke, We miss you.
�A long, long, long time ago, well about 1.5 years ago, a few mates and I
(Jezza, and Mite hutch) decided to go for a day trip to the Isles of Scilly,
hoping to score some wind. Flying over the North Cornish coast gives you the
most amazing views , you become detached, distances seem very close very
close indeed , The north to the south coast, Cape Cornwall to St Ives ,St
Ives to Newquay, the Isles of Scilly to the main land.
The scillys have always been a mystery to me, a mini world, with a mini
climate, it�s a place with its own rules. 24 miles off Lands End in the
Atlantic ocean 3 currents rushing together �A calm oasis of flat
water???????? That trip planted a seed.�
I�ve always wanted to be able to do something in Silkes memory and help
raise money for her trust, I knew the other girls wanted to do so as
well�..so�..the rules of the event needed to be: NON COMPETITIVE, and about
With the main stream media only seems to pick up on the dangers of
kiteboarding, we wanted to show why we all rush to the beach as soon as a
tree starts to rustle, all the reasons Silke loved it. So it had to be
something Silke would have been proud to do herself. Oh and Silke wouldn�t
have wanted it to be too easy ! The Crossing was now planted in our
imaginations, now we just had to make it really happen.
Transforming the Dream into Reality
The beauty of life is in the challenges it presents, and how we meet them.
Many of the most difficult things in life are unexpected, needing quick
thinking and cat like reflexes to respond to. The crossing was different. In
this case, the biggest challenge of our professional kiteboarding careers
(kiting 70 miles or 130km in cold English seas) was calculated, planned down
to the last detail.
Why would anyone want to kite for over 70 miles in a straight line?
Speculation before the event on the time it would take amongst the girls
ranged from 4 � hours to 8 hrs , (CJ won the bet). Well it always seems like
a good idea at the time. It would probably not be too good an idea to look
to deeply inside my brain, instead of wondering about where the idea came
from� instead wonder at all these girls paying to get here and get into the
cold Atlantic on a fresh spring day, when they could have been waiting
amongst the palm throngs of the Caribbean for the next world cup.
Talking Liz at the Extreme academy into helping me was surprisingly easy
there must be something in the water down here. We figured 7mths would be
plenty of time! The first press release went out and instantly like a knight
in shinning armour, coming out the misty Cornwall Sea came our hero, captain
Simon Andrews, leader of the safety boat crew . He waved a magic wand and 5
boats sailed out of the mist behind him. He also brought most importantly
expertise and experience.
The Guinness book of records said that would put in a separate record for a
women�s distance record. We thought this was going to be so easy to
organise!!. 2 weeks to go and off I trot to Brighton that is where our luck
ran out. A miscommunication about our accommodation and we were roughing it
on the scillys, Film coverage no coverage and worst of all we kept losing
boats faster than a ????? we had 5 no 2� 3�2 � 4, then day the girls we�re
arriving suddenly back down to 2 boats! Liz , Simon and I all came close to
cardiac arrest. It was a little touch and go, to whether or not we would
pull it off, We put pleas out on the radios and phoned anyone we could think
of. The Girls were all coming and we may have had to cancel!!!! Our saviour
appeared in the form of salty shark fisherman Jim of Lady Mary 2 from
Padstow, All our thanks to Simon who probably has no friends left ,Sky Bus,
Isles of Scilly Tourist Board, Escape Photography, and Red Bull, with who�s
help it all came together.
As the press launch approached Liz was only looking slightly frazzled around
While eating spag bol and readying our kit to be taken to the Scillonian in
the morning (thanks mum and dad) I had to bolt all the doors as Adam our
Safety officer (who many off you will have seen way to much off in his
adverts for his shop Turbulence.) Gave us his 1st!!!! Safety brief and left
us in no doubt as to what we were getting ourselves into! Hypothermia ,
cramps ,equipment checks, sea sickness, board leashes, Kite leashes, helmets
,big seas ,rain ,winter suits and wetsuit booties, much to the despair of
Claire who �hates booties�. (Not to be confused with booty, which hubby
Kevin can confirm that Claire loves!)
The fire works were really let off at the press launch with the RNLI giving
us our personal Flares ( they hope to encourage all kiters to carry one) and
best of all letting us all have a test run.
The short hop to Newquay airport had us all in high spirits sweets and red
bull are not a good combination for a group or 7 excited girls! In true
superstar style we had a plane to ourselves for the stunning flight over to
the Scillies. Following the winding Cornish coastline murmurs of excitement
resounded through the aircraft until the pilots turned, and began to fly out
over lands end. A fearful silence gripped everyone as the expanse of water
carried on and on. The distance and challenge of what we had all agreed too
hit us right between the eyes. I really didn�t remember it looking so far.
Eventually a voice piped up �that�s an awful lot of water�.
Springtime in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly forces even the most serious
of folks to loosen up, relax a bit, and even begin to believe in pixies!
Inviting crystal clear blue waters, Hedgerows bursting with wildflowers,
lush greenery, canopies covering winding roads, this is the stuff fairytales
are made of�for a moment Fiona thought her dream of becoming a princess
would be realized. You would swear that you are not in England anymore, its
much more like a Mediterranean Island than a British Isle.
The fantastic hospitality in the scilly�s was second to non. Our hosts
Buckingham Guest house, the Garrison campsite and Nick and Bryonny at the
Mincarlo who put on an amazing BBQs served up with sunshine, beer, and
More sunshine the next day and the bad weather and gales forecast seemed
impossible. The crew and I had a great excuse of reccying launch sites which
mostly entailed in trying to get the guys in the other boat as wet as
possible. But on serious note the harbour master had earlier predicted that
Thurs was looking our best bet! Meanwhile the girls had a late breakfast
wandered around settling into the slow pace of life very quickly. So much so
we all took so long gearing up in the afternoon to go for a sail the 14knt
sea breeze had gone, but never fear our hero captain Simon waved his wand
again and a tow rope appeared which with the powerful engines of no1 boat
pulled us around quite happily for a few hours.
That night there was a huge checking of forecasts on the internet and a
specialist forecast for our 70mile stretch from the met office. Once they
were all put together and the main reason we were all there came into focus.
14knts SE turning SSE 14knts by 10am S by 11am and the perfect SW 14knt by
12pm. The high pressure front was holding until midday on Friday and the sea
state was a mere 1m swell with no precipitation. We were on for a go esp
with the swell forecast to pick up to 3m and 28knt winds with rain for
As the likelihood of a go sunk in uncertainties, and doubts crept forward
,doubts we all had a different way of preparing, for the mental and physical
challenge set in front of us. Cindy had her usual relaxed outlook, �I was
very curious to see how our bodies and minds would react to it, not a
feeling of apprehension, just curiosity.�
Laurel, �before the girls arrived I was convinced there was no way I could
achieve a 70 mile crossing, which is an amazing testament to the power of
positive team energy.�
I personally hadn�t had too much time to think about it, until the flight
over. But once on land again I was convinced we could all make it. Having
every one there made it much easier, to be positive.
The main preparation that will stay with me for ever is all the girls who
sail in warm water running to the co-op to buy bright yellow marigolds to
keep their hands warm ????? There are some great pics. The night was rounded
off nicely with some local colour watching other girls push their limits ,
screaming ourselves hoarse shouting for our hostess with the mostess Bryonny
as she sliced a slivery path into the setting sun in 154 year old �Golden
eagle� in the weekly gig race. All of which nicely worked up a hunger for
some juicy steaks.
As if the first world record attempt at distance crossing wasn�t enough we
also had another kiteboarding first: the very first day of the event, and it
Just before leaving and our final brief we had a talk from Adam that didn�t
scare us and was a real inspiration.
Rigged and ready we had one last task to focus our minds on the task ahead,
to remember why we were all there. We all dropped a small flower into the
clear cold sea, , and searched the sky for rainbows.
The 70-mile epic journey began with the task of getting out through the
myriad rocks and bays of the Scilly Isles, We had our bum bags, chocolate,
water, redbull and flares, but the wind seemed a little light and fluky (or
maybe we had too much chocolate on board.) This spread the field and made
our planned exit point seem like mission impossible. This had to be
abandoned, and new route was advised by Marc, our local boat that was
accompanying us to lands ends,
But once outside at the edge of the open sea the wind was with us , we all
regrouped and pulled together again and looked out across towards the
shipping lanes and lands end.
The start had not been without incident and I was glad not to have been in
Adams shoes as I watched Fiona�s kite trying to re-launch and Cj having to
land on a beach due to a wind shadow which stopped her from getting up wind
around a group of rocks. But Cj still had a key role to play. It was a
devastating blow but it focused us to stay together and defiantly got the
Claire shared her experience with the initial shock of kiting downwind for
the first time in ages, �Remember when you first learn to kite, you stand up
very flat on the board, trying to go upwind then finally it clicks, it took
me about an hour to have it click of how to go downwind again� The initial
push away from land got the adrenaline running though the veins for sure.�
As the land receded into the haze behind us I felt a real sense of freedom
in the changing and deepening blue of the ocean. The First air horn sounded
at 10 miles and also as an indicator that we were entering the shipping
lanes! A highly trafficked area. A highlight of the journey was meeting the
cruise liner, In the intense flatness it�s sides seemed like Everest, as it
effortlessly drifted past. The captain shut down his engines and announced
our presence to the passengers . I imagined then staring down at us warm and
safe sipping G & T�s. Seeing the liner was fantastic (but after 2 hours of
nothing, I guess anything would be impressive! )
Soon we found the trick was kiting behind the boat in the wake where the
water was flat. Cindy even tacked to the back to pass this gem of knowledge
onto the girls bringing up the trailing edge. True to her champion form, �It
was easier than what we imagined, I thought our legs would just die after 2
hours out, only at about 5 hours it got hard, if the wind would have been
good we could have done 90 miles easily.�
You learn the funniest things out at sea it�s very hard to open a bum bag to
get food or drink, while working a kite, Kit Kat wrappers are not water
proof, and if you are going to be travelling on one tack attach you bloody
leash to your back foot!!! I think I had a hollow in my back foot from
standing on the dam thing!
The fuzzy out line of Lands end raised out of the sea ahead and a huge
mental lift came with it. We cruised on and time passed quickly 60 miles
under our belts. I saw St Ives drift past ,we we�re all fit, warm and racing
for the finish. Suzi chasing Cindy all the way Fi out along side me , Claire
whizzing along from toe to heel side and Laurel ,� one of the most awesome
feelings was racing along with the Rib chase boats, the noise of the engine
and the sensation of skipping over the waves made me feel like I was in
Miami Vice! � .
Then the worst happened. You dread the very thought of it for any sailing
adventure. Yep, we hit the doldrums, the fabled no wind zone out in the
middle of the ocean. Everything was fine, better than fine, when all of a
sudden our pulling machines turned into autumn leaves drifting down through
the air and smiling faces turned to tears. Four out of six kites lay on the
water. Fiona dropped her kite over Laurels and drifted through the lines, I
could hear Claire shout her frustration as it all looked like we were going
to be cruelly denied after all coming so far together 10miles from home.
Cindy and I could see our fate awaiting us as we desperately worked our
kites while trying to keep our heads above the water as well. There was not
enough wind to even do a decent impression of a tea bag. As fast as wind
went I passed though my kite powered back up and I was up! Cindy was still
be-calmed but still in the air and then she was up. We kited a distance away
form the dead patch and waited hoping to see kites re-launching. Auntie
Laurel lost the plot as well. Screaming is not at all lady like or kind, but
in this case it must have worked, as her kite rose back into the sky.
The sadness at leaving the three girls behind and the uncertainty of what
lay ahead threw a dark cloud over the moment. In this moment things became
tough, the challenge truly began.
CJ now rose to the occasion screaming at us all to go go go as we all tacked
back and forward not wanting to abandon the others. Go !!! so we did the
boats were picking up the others and would soon catch us up. Though I did
have a small worry in my mind about splitting up, I knew Adam and Simon
could stop us in our tracks via the radio.
CJ, who had been leading the way on the stern of Lady Mary 2, describes what
happened, �Everything was fine until the wind dropped, then Dreya and Cindy
went way downwind, and were really fighting to make it back up.�
Spirits were not exactly soaring at this point
It was at this point we knew the wind hadn�t turned SW and it would have
been easier to get to Ireland than Watergate Bay. Desperately trying to go
up wind over the last 10 miles sapped all our energy and used every ounce of
Meanwhile many things many of us were unaware off had been going on . Claire
had relaunched and was working her way back to the pack. Her feelings about
the hard tacking back upwind to the course plotted by the head support boat
pretty much sum up the limitations we were facing, �It�s a bloody wind sport
and I can only go where the wind takes me!
Back at the Extreme Academy, Liz was doing hourly BBC radio live updates,
and when she received the call from Ian telling her the kites had dropped
the first thing that came into her mind was �lets pick them up and drop them
back in the Scillies, !� Liz is all too familiar with the reality of kite
events and the vulnerability of having to rely on the good will of mother
nature. I can only imagine her disappointment at receiving that call.
Also unknown to us was the outside world was following our progress though
the miracle of modern technology. Ian from escape photography was topping is
nightly on-line updates with hourly updates on route! Phoning updates to his
wife who was posting them live on the website for the entire world to see.
Laurels boyfriend, Leslie, who was just completing an Atlantic crossing of
his own (on a posh yacht) was downloading the info and following along as we
went! Now that is cool!
We all really felt that we were in a race with the elements, Steve in Bugsy
Malone caught us up and we ended up splitting again as we surged on dealing
with the last few miles in our own way.
You know the 80/20 rule? I can tell you in this case it was true. Of the 70
miles, the only hard bit was the beginning and the end, and especially, the
end. Continuing the last 10 miles was very, very hard work. Muscles begin to
burn and even shake. Doubts creep their way into your mind. Seeing watergate
come into view was fantastic but knowing that we couldn�t get there was
devastating. Although we we�re now only 4 on the water it was the time I
really felt that we we�re a team, the girls on the boat were willing us on
to land, seeing Cindy , Laurel and Claire still fighting kept me fighting.
It was everyone else that kept us all going. I personally would have given
up � of an hour before .We were all extremely tried , happy to be near the
end but cross, and sad. To have come so far and not have anyone place their
foot onto the sand would have been worse than no wind at all for the six
days. We could see Watergate bay for 1 � hrs before we could feel the
solidity of sand under our feet.
Laurel ,�one point I really thought I would have been better off packing my
kite up when it went down and finishing then. It�s hard to know how to
describe the feeling I had when I reached Watergate Bay, but I�ll give it a
go: joy and devastation. Having walked the cliff path from the next
Northerly beach down I knew full well I was there. And judging the distance
I was off from the beach, the power in my 17meter kite, and the pain in my
back quad muscle, I knew I would not make it. It�s funny how my best moment,
letting go of the kite in front of Watergate after 6 hours, was Claire�s
worst. She had charged back like lightning and was all set to do the
gruelling tacks upwind with me.�
Long tacks back and forth with little to gauge how much ground we we�re
making if any! eventually paid off. 6 � hrs after leaving Tresco I clambered
in 50 yards from the rocks at the north end . And Cindy and Claire like the
pros they are came in where a fantastic reception committee were waiting for
When Cindy reached the beach, Fiona came up to her and told her �Silke would
be so proud of you�. We all achieved what we set out to do kite 70 miles non
stop, remember a friend, enforce old friendships and of course we made it
into the Guinness book of records!
We all made this trip from start to finish and we all shared the hi and
lows, we all learnt a lot, and we all had a lot of fun just riding together.
Nickname: Dragon Slayer
Nationality: British from Cornwall
Real Job: Pro Kiter, owner of kite school
Kit Used for Crossing: 15m Flexifoil strike and standard strike bar, cyclone
120cm board, pro limit seat harness
Best moment: mid crossing when we were cruising
Worst moment: there were 2 one when the kites were dropping out the sky and
I thought none of us were going to make it and then at the end and being
able to see Watergate for about 1 � hrs but not being able to get there
Sponsors: Flexifoil, Fox Clothing, Extreme Academy
Top Tip: never give up
Nickname: Little Mosey
Nationality: New Zealander
Real Job: World Champion Kiter and Yacht First Mate
Kit Used for Crossing: 14 North Vegas, Cindy Pro Model, North Seat Harness,
Best moment: Singing right in the middle of it all
Worst moment: When we sailed into the patch of no wind right out of the
middle under the black cloud
Sponsors: North, Balance Vector, and Rip Curl
Top Tip: be determined
Nickname: Fifi Wingding
Real Job: Heartbreaker
Kit Used for Crossing: 17m Slingshot Fuel, SX 122, Dakine Nitrous, 17� bar,
Body Glove 3/2, Extra duty Marigold gloves
Best moment: Kiting past the huge ferry, that�s where the adrenaline was
really kicking into the system
Worst moment: Freaking out thinking my toes were freezing, afraid to take
the booties off because my toes would be black
Sponsors: Slingshot, Dakine, Body Glove, Timezone, TFC, Dwarf 8
Top Tip: If possible take a smaller kite and do it in warm water
Nickname: Auntie Laurel
Real Job: Pro kiter, owner of kite school
Kit Used for Crossing: 16.5 Wipika Matrix, Catman board, Dakine Wahine
Waist, 21� bar
Best moment: pulling the quick release on my huge kite after fighting for
over 1 hour to make it upwind to Watergate and finally arriving (1.5 miles
offshore with an offshore wind!!)
Worst time: watching CJ kite inches away from the rocks on the way out of
Sponsors: Wipika, Dakine, Surf Chick, Seaspecs, Off Da Lip
Top Tip: Use a seat harness and drink lots of water
Real Job: kite school owner operator
Kit Used for Crossing: 17 Slingshot Fuel, 119 SS Misfit, 17� bar, Dakine
Best moment: Watching the girls arrive at Watergate
Worst moment: Although I was bitterly disappointed when I dropped out, it
was when the wind died and the kites dropped and I thought we would not make
Sponsors: Kitesurf Gold Coast, Slingshot, Underground
Real Job: Pilot for British Airways (747-400 � the big birds!)
Kit Used for Crossing: 14.5 Takoon Scoop 3 w/WSL, Colin McCullough custom
twintip 120x35 w/70mm fins, standard 55� bar, Dakine Tempest Seat, O�neill
Best moment: My pint of John Smith�s Extra Smooth and Kevin on the beach
when I landed.
Worst moment: Loads of those�Getting out of Scilly, the first kite to drop
out, when we all dumped in and thinking I was finished because of some
sodding bit of no wind, the worst bit was the elation of getting over all
that then watching Laurel let go so close.
Sponsors: Takoon, O�neill, Da Kine, British Airways
Top Tip: Use the equipment you know, don�t let people talk you into using a
Real Job: P.A. for family building firm
Kit used for Crossing: 16m Boxer, Thorn Twin tip, Seat Harness
Best moment: Ripping her kite so she gets a new one from a real brand
Worst moment: When they ripped her kite
Sponsors: On Fire, Jezza
More info: http://www.watergatebay.co.uk/news/yesterday/38.htm"