Sir Richard Branson and his team of Virgin organizers are now only weeks away from the first possible weekend to run the 2014 Virgin Kitesurfing Armada and world record attempt at CBK Beach on Hayling Island, UK and only days away from an attempt in Tarifa, Spain.
The Armada’s first 2014 attempt will take place from August 27, 28 or 29, 2014 in Spain, with an effort led by Sir Richard Branson and Gisela Pulido, followed by an attempt at the event’s original destination on Hayling Island, UK. Because the event is 100% focused on kitesurfing, both festivals will run on the first day of good wind. In the UK, possible weekend launch dates are September 13-14, September 27-28 or October 11-12 2014.
This year, the original UK Armada has an ambitious target to get over 500 GPS-tracked kitesurfers to ride together on a mass downwinder between Hayling Island to Pagham, 15 miles down the coast. Managing this attempt safely and efficiently will be a big challenge. The event itself will bring together kitesurfers and their families, the kitesurfing industry and the public for one awesome weekend, aiming to combine a World Record breaking attempt on the water, alongside a festival that includes international kite brands, pro kitesurfers, kite films, music, bars, entertainment and fundraising.
One of the best aspects of the VKSA is the atmosphere and sense of community created by kitesurfers who come together to promote kitesurfing in a positive light and challenge themselves to raise funds for charity. This year’s events aim to build on this platform, and despite the planning challenges of having multiple dates, the Armada is committed to its focus of allowing everyone to kite together. 48 hours before the start, there will be an official decision based on all forecasts – and if the wind is up, everything kicks into action.
HOW TO REGISTER
The UK Armada is currently only accepting wait list registrations, however, if you are an intermediate or above kitesurfer and would like to be part of this year’s Armada in Spain, we encourage you to sign up. Details here.
The Virgin Kitesurfing Armada began as an idea to raise funds for charity by getting together some local kitesurfers from Lancing Kitesurfing Club to undertake an endurance downwinder – originally from Hayling Island to Lancing – to raise sponsorships for youth charity Snow-Camp, the founding charity of the event. Snow-Camp’s Director, Dan Charlish, asked local kite pro and pier jumper Lewis Crathern if he would get involved and support the project, and the event was officially launched. Initially called “The Big Charity Downwinder”, the event grew at a rapid rate and had over 300 kitesurfers signed up within months. Virgin came onboard as a Title Sponsor in the month before the event, and Sir Richard Branson committed to attend. Eventually, the event was renamed the Virgin Kitesurfing Armada. On September 15, 2013, a new World Record was set with 318 kitesurfers on the water together raising over £70.000 for three fantastic charities: Snow- Camp, Virgin Unite and the RNLI. Other key sponsors include Best Kiteboarding, Flexifoil International and King of Watersports.
In 2014, VKSA events will be taken to new heights, with more riders and action packed days of kitesurfing, music, entertainment and even some overnight camping in the UK. Organizers aim to bring together the kitesurfing community to ride, raise funds for charity and positively promote our amazing sport. For more information, visit the VKSA website at www.kitesurfingarmada.org.uk