International Kiteboarders Steph, Olly and Guy Bridge have long been pioneering the foil racing movement, and more recently they’ve been setting records on the yachting mecca of the Isle Of Wight. Not only do the family members who hail from Exmouth make up Team Bridge, but the trio of extremely driven athletes are also part of Team Volvo.
On Thursday 30th June, they set two World Records racing around the Isle of Wight on hydrofoil boards and foil kites. Crossing the finish line in Cowes in record-breaking times, they set new records for the fastest single handed sailor (male and female), a new kitesurfing record and the fastest female to navigate around the Island.
With the weather in their favor and eager to push the realms of what has previously been possible in Kiteboarding, the Bridges raced off the famous Royal Yacht Squadron line in Cowes just after 11am. Flanked by two Mod 70’s – Concise and Phaedo3 – who would be chasing the Round The Island Race record two days later. With such an impressive sight of two sports meeting in the middle with ‘speed’ and ‘performance’ being the common denominator, it further highlighted the awesome potential of Kiteboarding and its possible influences in the world of Sailing.
As the family raced past iconic locations such as the Needles and St. Catherine’s point, a tough battle ensued on the water. Olly and Guy fought it out for the top spot in a nerve-wracking drag race at speeds of 25 knots on their foil boards, specifically designed to significantly increase sailing efficiency on almost every tack.
It was Guy who emerged victorious though, setting new records for the fastest single handed sailor and fastest kitesurfer around the Isle Of Wight. He averaged 19.68 kts and rounded the island in 2 hours 32 minutes and 25 seconds. Speaking of his on-water triumph he said: “It feels amazing to have taken a new World Record today. My legs were burning! It was tough.”
Olly Bridge narrowly missed out on taking a World Record, finishing just 2 seconds behind his younger brother (2 hours, 32 minutes and 27 seconds). Having led the whole way round the Island, Olly unfortunately hit a sand bank just off Ryde, holding him back by over ten minutes. “I’m gutted but I’ve proven I’m fast enough to beat the overall record. I’m hungry to come back next year – watch this space.”
Crossing the line just behind her sons, Steph Bridge took the record for the fastest female singlehander and kitesurfer round the Isle of Wight, averaging a speed of 16.34 kts and finishing in 3 hours, 3 minutes and 24 seconds. “I’m actually just really glad to be back with the boys! When they overtook me on the first leg, it was a little bit of a negative feeling but fortunately I had Concise, the MOD 70 to keep me busy! I won’t say it was really fun at the time, but it always feels really fun when you finish.”
The Bridges’ Round the Island World Sailing Speed Record attempt was sponsored by Swedish car brand, Volvo Car UK. “At Volvo, everything we do starts with people and that is why we are incredibly proud to support Team Bridge. Their passion for life and overwhelming desire to succeed was very clearly what drove them to achieve such great results in their attempt to Kitesurf around the Isle of Wight,” said Nikki Rooke, Head of Corporate Communications, Events and Sponsorship at Volvo Car UK.
To follow the Bridges on their journeys www.volvocars.co.uk/
Story by Sophie Mathews // Photos: Lloydimages.com