Sir Richard Branson led a record-breaking parade of 318 kitesurfers at Hayling Island Golf Course last weekend to create the largest group of people to simultaneously take part in the activity.
The 63-year-old Virgin CE is no stranger to kitesurfing world records; he remains the oldest person to kitesurf across the English Channel. However, he explained that this latest challenge was particularly beautiful to watch.
“When you see the beauty of all these kites up in the sky, it’s magnificent [and] this is more than has ever happened before.”
The record-breaking event was set up to raise money for the RNLI, plus charities Snow-Camp, which helps inner city young people and Virgin Unite, which offers healthcare aid to Africa.
Branson believes that another bunch of kiters are likely to beat the record next year:
“Kiters are always up for a challenge and so I suspect next year there will be 600 kiters, and the year after that 900, and so on,” he said.
Although the sport is often classified as an extreme sport, it’s actually quite safe with the right instruction, Branson claimed. “The most perilous aspect of this is kites getting tangled up in the sky [but] it’s really, relatively, very safe,” he explained.
“I’d recommend it to anybody, just being out on the sea, blown by the wind, bouncing across the waves.”
Sir Richard Branson was also the first man to cross the Atlantic and the first to cross the Pacific from Japan to Arctic Canada in a hot air balloon.