Diagnosed with ADD?

2 12 2009

Diagnosed by the Dominion Post with ADD, its official.

Learn to kite:


Coastal Classic 261km in 13 hours

29 10 2009

Auckland To Bay of Islands by Kite- 261km 13 hoursNZ Record

Well the first 200km from Auckland harbor was a flyer and I completely exceeded my expectations and that of people following me. Sailing next to the record setting Alpha Romeo boat at the start was definitely a highlight. The kite of choice was a 13m Cabrinha Crossbow (2010) and this turned out to be perfect for the conditions. I had done some extensive testing before the event and new that it would cope in 8-30 knots of wind and was the fastest most user friendly kite out there. The PredictWind forecast for the day was bang on and was foretasting 20 knots most of the way up the coast with it dying out around late evening/midnight time.

Doing the Coastal Classic was never about trying to beat the yachts and was more about physical and mental challenge. The 261km covered between Auckland and the Bay of Islands is however a new NZ distance record, so am happy with that result. I was averaging 17 knots for my best hour and sustaining speeds in excess of 20 knots with peaks of 23knots (42km/h). My time for the first 200km to Cape Brett was 7 hours, which is also well under world record (333km) pace for 12 hours. To put it in perspective the record setting boat Alpha Romaeo finished the Coastal Classic race in 6 hours 43 minutes.

With an outgoing tide and dying wind, it was always going to be difficult to get the last 20km into Russell on a kite. The plan was to take a wide berth at Cape Brett as the kite won’t fly in less than 8 knots. The support boat was running low on petrol once we got to Cape Brett so a call was made for the boat (8.5m Protector) to head back into Russell and fuel up. That left me on my own for a bit, but with Spot Messenger, VHF, flares and a cell phone, Troutie Lights felt pretty comfortable on my own. I am really appreciative to the Coastguard for shadowing me until the support boat came back.

Full GPS track
In the end I pulled the pin 8nm from the finish at 10:30pm after the wind died around 10:15. I did consider swimming the last bit in the dark but was too far out to do this realistically. The body was still willing even after 13 hours and recovered well. The only ill effect was a sore wrist , which I got from sitting in front of a computer typing. Moral of the story, work is dangerous…(smile).

I was in Samoa immediately prior to the Tsunami training for this event and am thankful we returned safely to NZ. I really feel for those people affected by this terrible event. If you think kitesurfing the Coastal Classic is crazy or you would just like to support the Samoan community in their time of need, then please donate generously at:

Dirrect link to TV3 interview (may load a bit faster).


My strategy is to get the best gear I can buy as I have to rely totally on it. All the gear bellow has been thoroughly tested and meets my high standards.
Cabrinha the major sponsor who funded the cost of the support boat and produce such fast usable kites. I have the choice to kite any kite I use Cabrinha by choice, they rock.
WildWinds and WSP kite shops for believing in the event providing friendly advice.
Predictwind for providing such accurate weather forecasts
Troutie for providing the head lights. He is a light genius and builds fantastic lights that outperform the commercial options for less money.
Cutter Electronics for providing LEDs, optics and drivers for the Troutie lights
Sweet Helmets for provide great looking and safe helmets
ICOM for providing VHF radios
Telecom– for providing mobile broadband data sticks
John Amundson– for producing my downwindboard at short notice.

To make an event like this happen it can’t be done without the generous support of others;
Blake Cameron from Moorings for believing in the idea from the start providing accommodation in Russell, advice on local conditions, helping with logistics and boat driving.
Charlie and Brent
for their boat support sorting food, kites, logistics and driving gear around the country. Mike Morris from All Crane was a complete star providing his 8.5m Protector (Gamma Protector) for this event. I was without a support boat the night before and he stepped up to help without having met me before. Also big thanks for driving and organising boat logistics to and from Russell.
for all her support over the last 10 months leading up to the race.
Luke Wigglesworth
 was helpful talking though weather and tactics. He is the master of this event on a windsurfer having completed it 3 times over 10 years
Lincoln for use of his kites for backup.
Richard Finnie
 from the Metservice for his weather forecasts.
Catherine Bennett
 from Westpac for her assistance with media
Lee Hales from Give a Little for help with fund raising and editing.

If anyone is thinking about giving kitesurfing a go, I have written an independent article on my blog about learning to kite and what the costs involved are.

Coastal Classic – Press Release

22 10 2009

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