A unique kiteboard-crossing, dedicated to the legendary French kiter and surfer Arnaud de Rosnay, will take place. Russian kiteboarders will connect Cuba and Mexico across the Yucatán Channel, cross the Gulf Stream and cover a distance of more than 200 km on kiteboards over the Atlantic Ocean. The team will start on the cape Cabo de San Antonio, Cuba, and finish on the beach in Cancun, Mexico. The kiteboard-crossing was supported by the Moscow Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Cuba.
Russian sportsmen plan to cover that distance within 10 – 12 hours, depending on weather conditions, such as wind speed and wave height. The relay race will not just become the biggest challenge of the year for its participants, but also be a remarkable event in the history of kiteboarding, which is included in the program of the 2024 Olympic Games for the first time. The following persons joined the team: famous Russian kiter Konstantin Aksenov, traveler and director of «Sodis» company Vladimir Popov, experienced kiteboarders Dmitry Nayshuller and Evgenii Evtushenko.
The safety of the kiteboard-crossing will be ensured by a trained support team on an escort boat and the use of innovative equipment. A personal GPS-tracker will be assigned to every kiter, enabling to locate him and transmit his location data to the escort team via a radio channel for the duration of the crossing. Every kiteboarder will have a portable radio set and an aqua-pack with necessary equipment for emergency service request.
The success of the crossing depends not only upon the wind conditions and physical readiness of the participants. The kiteboarders will have to cross the state borders of two countries. Although the Cuban and Russian state authorities offer their support to the project, it may take several months to get permissions for the border control and participants’ visa inspection onshore.
But the team members have already six kiteboard-crossings to their credit, including four international ones. The first team kiteboard-crossing took place in 2018. An international team, consisting of 9 kiters, covered a distance of 200 km across the Indian Ocean from Mauritius to Reunion within 9 hours and 9 minutes. This crossing became a world record and was registered in the Russian Book of Records. The sixth kiteboard-crossing, Bahamas – Miami across the Florida Strait in February 2022, became an outstanding event for Konstantin Aksenov and Vladimir Popov.
“At a time, one only begins to make strides toward the popularization of inter-country kiteboard-crossings. We stand for making these international routes not just a privilege for a select few, but enabling them to be accessible for all sportsmen who wish to overcome their fears and issue a challenge to the nature. At a global scale, there is no experience in organizing inter-country kiteboard-crossings. The project faces a global challenge which, is the creation of a regulation mechanism to facilitate the long-term procedure of arranging such tours within the legal framework”, comments Vladimir Popov, director of “Sodis” travel agency and organizer of the kiteboard-crossing.
«Routes connecting countries open a new page in the history of kiteboarding. With our crossing between Cuba and Mexico, we want to draw attention to kiteboarding. Kiting or kiteboarding has become a sport that brings together sportsmen and like-minded people from different countries, even in times of travel restrictions and closed borders. Kiteboarding will make its debut in the Summer Olympics in 2024. This once again confirms that kiteboarding is becoming a truly national sport to combine the unity with nature, strength of spirit and team support», – emphasizes Konstantin Aksenov, who became famous as a world record breaker upon his Bering Strait kiteboard-crossing from Chukotka to Alaska in 2011.
Vladimir Platonov, president of the Moscow Chamber of Commerce and Industry, spoke about the project support: «The Moscow Chamber of Commerce and Industry always supports all useful initiatives of its associates, aimed at the expansion of foreign economic relations. This also applies to projects related to sports, especially amateur ones, where non-professional athletes, representing business communities in different countries, participate in competitions. The Moscow Chamber of Commerce and Industry offered support to its associate, «Sodis» travel agency, in establishing working contacts with the government of Cuba because I am sure that the sporting event, organized by «Sodis», will not go unnoticed at the international level and will strengthen the credibility of Russian businessmen and expand their business relations».