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Kiting Made History

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RickI
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Kiting Made History

Postby RickI » Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:39 pm

Image


Image
Photo caption: Neil Hutchinson leaves Key West on the record crossing to Cuba on Dec. 21, 2001. Photo by Red Bull


and the text before final editing if you can't make out the article in the second photo.

"Roots – The 2001 World Record Red Bull - Key West To Cuba Crossing

By Rick Iossi

In 2001 kiting was growing in popularity, gear was improving and riders were looking for new challenges. Five kitesurfers left Key West for Cuba on December 21, 2001. Eight and a half hours later three arrived in Cuba traveling 98.3 nautical miles, earning them the first official kiteboarding world distance record. The riders included Kent Marinkovic, Neil Hutchinson, Fabrice Collard, Paul Menta and Oliver Butsch. Gilles d'Andrieux organized the crossing and secured Red Bull sponsorship. I helped with insurance, logistics and spread word of their accomplishment worldwide in a series of articles on the old kitesurf email list.

Harsh 20 to 30 knot winds blasted into the Gulfstream tearing off 10 to 17 foot waves, severely challenging kiters and support craft. Kiters had moved on to larger four line C-kites with limited depowering and shorter twin tips from the smaller two line inflatable kites and longer directional boards of the early days. Neil and Kent were over-powered the entire time on large kites with short twin tips making surfing hard. Fabrice selected the ideal smaller kite and larger directional board making his crossing more manageable. Single minded determination got them to Cuba as skill alone wasn’t enough. Neil said that “he would make it to Cuba “on his board or in a body bag!”

Paul was being treated for a stomach virus in the hospital and still reduced when he checked himself out to join the crossing. He kited 50 miles before passing out through the effects of dehydration, exhaustion and internal problems. He was dragged over a hundred feet unconscious before rescuers could catch him. Oliver was disqualified when his kite ripped in two after striking one of the support boats near the start. He made the trip by boat though which was likely far worse for the major seas.

They met the extreme challenges of the crossing, made history and through continuing leadership have helped to evolve kiting into the sport we know today."

Way to go guys!


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Last edited by RickI on Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

fourperf
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Re: Roots-2001 Key West To Cuba Crossing

Postby fourperf » Tue Oct 02, 2012 11:43 pm

I remember that. That was a nice blast from the past. Thanks for posting it.

btw, I was in Ft lauderdale many,many years ago (around the time of his jet ski incident) and spent a bit of time with Neil. A great guy as well as a legend in this sport for those who dont know.

Mark

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RickI
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Posts: 8690
Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2002 1:00 am
Kiting since: 1998
Local Beach: SE Florida
Gear: Cabrinha
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Location: Florida

Re: Roots-2001 Key West To Cuba Crossing

Postby RickI » Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:58 pm

You are welcome. Marina Chang of The Kiteboarder Mag. got in touch looking for something dealing with the history of kiting and this event came to mind.

Neil has been involved in so many events as organizer, commentator, judge, all over too for many years. Things like Cuba crossing, kite trips, Boarder X, the 60 mile Jupiter to Ft. Lauderdale race, the Ft. Lauderdale to Bimini Race, Collegiate Kiteboarding Association events, working for access and many more pretty much all over each year. I understand in 2010 he did 16 events in one year.

Kent and Paul have been great leaders as well. Kent in organizing and promoting great events, working hard to preserve access, bringing great gear to market throughout the Americas, kiting in the Olympics and a good deal more. Paul has been heavily involved in kiting instruction, technique development, exploring new kiting destinations worldwide and bring kiters to them, gear development and still more. I have lost touch with Fabrice as he moved back to France and was heavily involved in remote sensing of air-sea interface phenomena. Oliver has moved out of the area too but was a regular at events and access meetings for years in SE Florida.

Both individually and in particular collectively these kiters have brought a lot to our sport for many years. Thanks guys!

E^Ri
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Re: Kiting Made History

Postby E^Ri » Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:38 pm

Neil is the man!!!


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