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Old 11-25-2005, 09:16 PM
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This was printed in the Miami Herald today::

"Posted on Fri, Nov. 25, 2005

Kiteboard race set for takeoff

BY JIM VARSALLONE
jvarsallone@herald.com

A 50-mile kiteboarding race to Bimini in the Bahamas -- a first of its kind of competition, according to organizers -- will cross the Gulf Stream from the East Coast of Florida beginning in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday.

Kiteboarding, the newest thrill in extreme sports, began more than six years ago.

A twist on windsurfing or wakeboarding, kiteboarders ride atop what is similar to a surfboard and are powered by the wind using a kite, some as big as 25-square meters.

Kiteboarders regularly reach speeds of 40 mph or more and can perform leaps of more than 30 feet.

Both Rebel Billionaire Sir Richard Branson and former presidential candidate John Kerry got hooked on kiteboarding last year, and the sport has grown by leaps and bounds in popularity since.

Now, another extreme Brit, Guinness world-record holder Neil Hutchinson, has helped to create the race across the Gulf Stream from Florida to the Bahamas.

Hutchinson, 35, earned a earned the record for the longest distance traveled on a kiteboard, crossing 97 miles from Key West to Varadero, Cuba.

Now Hutchison has organized the race to Bimini, which will cross the Gulf Stream from the East Coast of Florida through the Bermuda Triangle, where ocean swells can reach upward of 14 feet. The race is expected to take between four and six hours.

''It's like the Cannonball Run for kiteboarders; racers have to be ready for anything,'' Hutchinson said.

Competitors are required to form a team consisting of two kiteboarders, a boat and captain. More than 30 kiters are registered.

With 30 kiters from around the globe already registered, teams will compete to be the first in recorded history to cross the Gulf Stream on a kiteboard. The race scheduled for Nov. 29 through Dec. 12. Plans are to depart 9 a.m. Tuesday from Fort Lauderdale, weather permitting.

Hutchinson will help host a kickoff party on Monday at the Treasure Trove in Fort Lauderdale for teams, sponsors and fans.

Once the teams land in Bimini, there will be two days of racing events, including a an awards ceremony.

Call 954-647-7228. Visit www.bahamacrossing.com "

from: http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald...s/13252999.htm
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