On May 13th, 2006 world wave champion kitesurfer Kirsty Jones from Wales UK, broke the kitesurfing world record by kitesurfing 140 miles from Lanzarote to Morocco, land to land. It took 9 hours, non stop.
She left from the beach in front of Lanzarote's grandest hotel, hotel Salinas in Costa Teguise, at 10am on May 13th and arrived in Tarfaya, Western Sahara, Morocco at 7pm. Her route took her up towards the Northern Sahara then down wind towards her final destination.
Kirsty had encountered very light wind 4 hours into the challenge which slowed her down and caused her to become sea sick because of the choppy sea and swell then luckily the wind picked up and she hit speeds of 40 kms. She was forced to change tack and angle to the wind on a few occasions to ensure she arrived at her destination making the journey even more tiring and difficult.
Kirsty believes the "wind gods" must have been smiling down on her and she says "I was also expecting the wind to drop as the forecast had not predicted the wind to pick up so I was feeling doubtful about even making it half way. Instead of dropping, the wind picked up, the sun came out and I saw dolphins - this was when I realised my luck was changing and I had a real chance of making it."
"Although I didn't see land for 8 hours, every hour seemed to be different. At the beginning of my journey I encountered a big fin ahead of me which turned out to be two pilot whales, I had flying fish fly over my board, and saw pods of dolphins. I felt very happy and emotional when I began to recognise the coast of Morocco and the landmarks of the village of Tarfaya."
Kirsty used a 12m Flexifoil Iron Kite, a custom made 'Wave' board, and an S-Core 3mm wetsuit.
Kirsty's motivation was to raise money, equipment and awareness to a disabled charity in Morocco while bridging two continents, rich and poor through her passion for kitesurfing. Kirsty along with Youths United (an extreme events company who supported Kirsty in her venture) bought with them donated surf and windsurf equipment to give to a small club she helped to establish for the people in the village of Tarfaya to have the opportunity to learn water sports.
Kirsty would like to say "Shocran" and "Diolch yn Fawra" - thank you in Arabic and welsh to Youths United, her support boats, "The Friends of Tarfaya Association," the people of the Sahara and her sponsors Animal, Flexifoil, S-Core and Da Kine. "I could not have achieved this without them."