TURKS AND CAICOS (Dec. 9, 2013) – Six kiteboarders departed Nov. 20, 2013, from Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands to cross the Atlantic Ocean heading to Blue Haven Resort and Marina in the Turks and Caicos Islands, a distance of 3,720 miles. As of Dec. 9, they had only 1,550 miles to go and were skipping across the waves several hundred miles northeast of Venezuela, over halfway across the tumultuous Atlantic.
The HTC Atlantic Kite Challenge is the first-ever kiteboarding relay of its kind crossing the Atlantic Ocean, and the riders are expected to arrive at Blue Haven Resort and Marina between Dec. 17-19, 2013, coinciding with a plethora of grand opening events for the new resort starting from Dec. 6. The kiteboarders strap themselves to boards similar to wakeboards, and then tether themselves to 46 to 56-foot wide parasails, or “kites,” and use the Atlantic trade winds to make the multi-thousand mile crossing.
The sole American on the expedition is Eric Pequeno, 30, from West Bloomfield, Michigan, who won a slot on the adventure through a sixth rider Facebook competition. He has been a devoted kiteboarder since 2008, having become an experienced kiter on the Great Lakes.
The kiteboarders have ridden through schools of leaping flying fish in the thousands, left trails in bioluminescent algae at night, sailed next to whales, passed sharks, and faced becalmed conditions where no progress could be made.
The HTC Atlantic Kite Challenge is the brainchild of Netherlands-based Filippo van Hellenberg Hubar, founder of the Enable Passion Foundation (www.enablepassion.com). Filippo is one of the six kiteboarders participating in the crossing.
The six kiteboarders are accompanied by a catamaran, a Lagoon 500 called the Double-A, with four crewmembers including the Dutch sailing professional Erik van Vuuren as team captain. Every kiter is taking two two-hour shifts per day – one in the daytime and one at night – so one member of the team is always out on the ocean going the distance.
See their exact position here: http://enablepassion.com/live-tracking/
Read their daily blog here: http://enablepassion.com/blog/