Friday, July 9, 2010
Kiwi Louis Tapper's Brazilian Kitesurfing Expedition
Adventure kitesurfer Louis Tapper is setting his sites on a new world record – to kite 2000km of Brazil’s coast to complete the “longest journey kitesurfing”.
Armed with one kite, one board and a backpack, Louis, 35, will spend the next month kiting and when there’s no wind, he’ll be walking.
Although multi-day adventures by paraglider, rowing and kayaking are well established, Kite expeditions of this nature are not common. “Kite surfing is slowly gaining popularity, but it deserves a better profile – it is a fantastic sport, it’s totally exhilerating and addictive,” says the New Zealander.
“I know many people (including my parents) think I’m a bit mad doing this, but it is a way for me to test my limits both physically and mentally, and also push the sport of adventure kitesurfing to the next level.” Louis, who lives in the notoriously windy city of Wellington, has pushed the limits of kiting before. In 2008, he traversed New Zealand’s dangerous Cook Strait (between the North and South Islands). And in 2009, he decided to fly with the big boys, kitesurfing 260km in 13 hours from Auckland to the Bay of Islands for yachting’s 2009 Coastal Classic race. Although not officially recognised, Eric Gramond is undisputably the kitesurf world distance record holder with his 13 day trip of 1450km along the coast of Brazil.
Louis trip aims to beat that by over 500km. The official Guinness record up until this point has been for distances completed under 24 hours (333km). This next adventure is expected to take a month – beginning around the 20-25th July in Salvador and ending in Sao Luis.
“To put the scale of 2000km into perspective, crossing from Australia to New Zealand in a straight line or following coastline of NZ from top to bottom is the same distance,” he says. “Brazil just happens to have mostly consistent wind and is much warmer, so I figured, why not?” Louis will carry minimal provisions – food, water, money, dry clothes, sandals, repair kit and pump – in a 35 litre backpack as he kites. Although a solo adventure, he is hoping other local kiters will join him for sections along the way.
Check out yakers.co.nz to follow Louis's progress