On September 7, after eight hours and six minutes of braving the surf and fog of the Celtic Sea on a kiteboard, Andreya Wharry, 34, finally approached dry land. She was three miles (five kilometers) off the coast of Ireland and 132.7 miles (214 kilometers) from her native Cornwall, England, where she'd started that morning. It was a jubilant moment, and, though she was forced to pull up short because of bad weather, she says, "One hundred thirty-two miles [212 kilometers]—I'm really stoked with that!" She should be; her ride captured the record for the longest continual kitesurf.
Wharry, who runs an online custom print shop, is on the vanguard of distance kitesurfing, a niche sport in which the goal is not dazzling acrobatics but simply gaining lots of ground. For Wharry the thrill is "stepping off one shore and landing on another." She is not alone. In 2001 three Americans kitesurfed from Miami to Cuba, and in August of this year, Dutch kitesurfer Stef de Jong clocked 115 miles (185 kilometers) between England and the Netherlands.
Will Wharry's record stand? Probably not, but it may be Wharry who breaks it.
- Nat Geo Expeditions