Coastal Classic Adventure
When Louis Tapper rigs up his kitesurfer this Friday, he will attempt to be the first kitesurfer to complete the HSBC Coastal Classic. He has plenty of motivation to finish as he is raising funds for the communities devastated by the tsunami in Samoa, which was an essential training ground. Louis is up against 30 ft plus yachts over 220km and will finish in the dark. “It’s a huge challenge, in fact my biggest challenge,” says the man who was the first kitesurfer to traverse the treacherous Cook Strait.
Following his successful crossing of the Cook Strait in October 2008 the intrepid adventurer is planning to take on the longest journey on a kite in New Zealand. This Friday is the HSBC Premier Coastal Classic race where some of New Zealand’s most successful sailors and yachts will line up for the biggest boat race for 2009. Louis Tapper is planning to kitesurf the 220km race from Auckland to the Bay of Islands and raise funds for communities devastated by the tsunami in Samoa. The south coast of Upolo island in Samoa was an essential training ground for Louis during his ten month ‘s of hard yaker and training. Kites and smaller craft are not able to enter officially however kitesurfing is about adventure and challenge for Louis
Louis will be tackling this distance alone and thinks it will take between 12-24 hours, finishing in Russell in the dark. Up until a few years ago, the world long distance record was close to the 220km so this will be a significant, physical and mental challenge. “This will be a true test of my guts and endurance. I have trained hard, kiting day and night in Samoa and along the Wellington coastline. Nothing is guaranteed, the thrill of the sport is being at the mercy of the wind. Due to light wind patterns it could be difficult to get out of Auckland harbour but from there with the wind playing its part, I hope it’s plain sailing. Any less than 8 knots and the kite just falls out of the sky” ” says Louis.
Louis returned from Samoa one day before the tsunami which completed obliterated the fale in Maninoa where he was staying. Samoa provided him with an idyllic training ground warm water, consistent wind and generous, hospitable people. “The communities and livelihood’s on the south coast of Upolo have been devastated by the tsunami and I want to do my part to help those in need. If you would like to support the Samoan community, or just think my adventure is crazy please donate generously” says Louis https://www.givealittle.co.nz/coastalclassic/.
Louis, has put his professional risk assessment skills to the test. He has carefully mitigated the risks by using the Spot Messenger satellite trackers, VHF radio, flares, survival equipment and new Cabrinha kites. He has a standby boat and dedicated support team on the water for any incidents like ripped gear, injuries or the wind dying out. He will be starting 30 minutes before the fleet for safety reasons. You can track his progress in real-time at http://yakers.co.nz/coastalclassic