Three athletes from Russia, Ukraine and Finland have set a new world record overpassing the non-stop distance of 279,46 kilometers on their kiteboards. The record path lay on the seaway from Helsinki to Saint Petersburg. Starting in Finland and finishing in Russia, their excursion took them 12 hours to complete.
The initiator of the project was Russian kiter, Maksim Ivanov. His idea to cross the Gulf of Finland from the west to the east appeared after attending a mass passing through the English Channel in 2012. He was joined by Ukrainian rider, Stanislav Kulikov, who has experience in long kite distances on the Red Sea and Finnish athlete, Juuso Tilaeus, who had already crossed the Gulf of Finland in 2014, setting his first world record that took a little less than two hours to cross the Gulf of Tallin to Helsinki.
In 2015 the team had already an attempt to beat the current world record, but in the middle of the crossing, the wind suddenly dropped and kiters had to finished their journey by boats. The wind failure gave the team experience with the organizational and technical part of the journey and played as a rehearsal run, giving them the possibility for more effectively preparing for a new start.
Russian kiter, Maksim Ivanov recalls, “The project was not only about sport, it had social goal as well. As a sportsmen and citizens of different countries, we have the same interests and we do not like what’s happening now in the world and what’s going on with politics and the economy. We wanted to set an example of how people should unite and help their countries to unite as well to make the world a better place. After we set the record, I heard the news that it was the first night when not a shot was made between the warring parties in eastern Ukraine. Maybe it’s a coincidence, but maybe not. This is precisely the symbolism that pleases us as citizens of our countries. Well, we are the athletes, always for the wind, for the sport, and for the friendship!”