The Virgin Kitesurfing Armada began as an idea to raise funds for charity by getting together some local kitesurfers from Lancing Kitesurfing Club to undertake an endurance downwinder – originally from Hayling Island to Lancing – to raise sponsorship for youth charity Snow-Camp, the founding charity of the event.
Snow-Camp’s Director, Dan Charlish, asked local kite pro and pier jumper Lewis Crathern if he would get involved and support the project – and the event was launched. Initially entitled The Big Charity Downwinder, the event grew at a rapid rate and had over 300 kitesurfers signed up within months. Virgin came onboard as Title Sponsors in the last month before the event, Sir Richard Branson committed to attend and the event was renamed the Virgin Kitesurfing Armada.
Other key sponsors such as Best Kiteboarding, Flexifoil International and King of Watersports helped further promote the event, and Guinness World Records committed to attend to verify if we would set a new World Record for the Largest Parade of Kitesurfers ever to ride together.
A safety panel of Chris Bull (CBK), Simon Bassett (2XS), Lewis Crathern (Best Kiteboarding), Richard Salaman (ex RNLI / Coastguard) Julia Feess and Dan Charlish (Snow-Camp) worked together to ensure all aspects of the event were safe and well managed.
(Left to right Lewis Cratherm, Simon Bassett, Julia Feess, Chris Bull and Dan Charlish)
In 2013, the Kitesurfing Armada successfully ran on 15th September 2013, setting a new World Record with 318 kitesurfers rideing together and raising over £70,000 for its supported charities. Please see Media section for all photos and videos of the event.
In 2014 we are taking the event to new heights, with more riders and an action packed weekend festival of kitesurfing, music, entertainment and overnight camping. We are delighted to have a 5 year partnership with Virgin as our Title Sponsor in place, and a range of other fantastic sponsors and partners have got involved to ensure we can deliver an awesome kitesurfing festival.
The Virgin Kitesurfing Armada aims to bring together the kitesurfing community to ride together, raise funds for charity and positively promote the amazing sport of kitesurfing. Currently a UK event, we want to see Kitesurfing Armada’s running in other locations around the globe – get in touch if you can help!