Kite surfers in Cayman are organizing a marathon crossing from Little Cayman to Grand Cayman in the new year to raise funds for the Cayman Islands Cancer Society.
Kiting 4 Cancer is a 100-mile open water kite-powered crossing and will be the first time it has been attempted. The kite challenge is scheduled for sometime in January or February depending on conditions.
“This is an incredibly challenging and dangerous event and we want to ensure everyone is safe for the entire trip,” said chief organizer Amy Strzalko.
There will be a team of 10 local kiteboarders and one international kiteboarder dedicating their time and passion for kiteboarding to the event. “We each offer an array of different qualities that will hopefully help us pull this challenge off,” Strzalko said. “The preparation leading up to the event is immensely important for each rider to complete the challenge safely and successfully.”
The team will set off from South Hole Sound, Little Cayman, to the Holiday Inn site in North Sound, Grand Cayman. She added that this is “a very difficult, physical and mental challenge.”
Other Kiting for Cancer events have been held worldwide for a number of years.
Strzalko, a photographer who kiteboards professionally, is sponsored by Slingshot, Waterman and Evolving Island.
Besides Strzalko, the Kiting for Cancer team members are Jon Dobbin, Neil Galway, Jeremy Walton, Tristan Relly, Carlos Barroso, Cora Schwendtke, Damo Davis, Andre Slabbert, Derek Serpell and Hope Levin, who is also a pro kiteboarder sponsored by Naish. She is arriving from Turks and Caicos.
“Because this is a team event, each member is contributing their individual skills to the organization of the event and we have the benefit of some experienced seamen to assist with boat support and safety,” Strzalko said. She added that she hopes the public will support this event.
“Of course, money is a very important part as every single dollar of sponsorship raised is going to the Cancer Society. Each of the kiters are funding their own trip and we have donations in kind for some equipment and use of boats.
“So if you can, please sponsor one of the kiteboarders on a per mile basis at www.active.com/donate/kitingforcancer.”
Strzalko added that they are also looking for safety support, and volunteers who have open seas experience.
“We are also looking for donations in kind to assist with the journey. For example, fuel for the boats, medical supplies, pre-event endurance training, accommodation in Little Cayman and assistance with flights to and from Little Cayman.” They hope to raise $50,000. “That is our ultimate goal. If we exceed this all the better.
“As a celebration of our successful crossing we are holding a party at a venue to be determined – hopefully sponsored,” she added.
“Tickets to the party will be sold and we have a number of surfboards and kiteboards painted by some well known local artists, including Guy Harvey, Shane Aquart and Hannah Cook for auction, all to raise further funds for the Cancer Society.”