On Saturday, December 16th of 2017, history was made as Nick Ziegler, Rich Gardner and Damien LeRoy were the first to kiteboard though the Gulfstream, crossing the Atlantic Ocean from Pompano Beach in Florida to Bimini, in the Bahamas, by hydrofoil. It was an international adventure and a challenge never attempted before on a foil!
Drone by : Antonio Marques
Conditions that day were questionable, but the team was ready for action. A small cold front was passing through but the big question was when would it hit? The Florida marine forecast showed winds of 10 to 15 knots and a one to two foot swell and, at 12:24pm, Nick hit the water in winds of just 5mph! It was tricky, but not impossible, to keep a kite in the sky and so the challenge was on with Nick, Rich & Damo all riding 15 metre Cabrinha Contra kites and getting up on their foils.
Everyone questioned whether they would make it one mile, let alone 63 miles to the Bahamas, and then during the four plus hour adventure they fought cramps, marginal winds, excessive winds, tankers, clumps of seaweed, and the nagging wonderment at what might be lurking below. After a tough slog, the three adventurers made landfall at 4:41pm on the beautiful beaches of Bimini Sands Resort. They covered the full 63 miles distance in 4 hrs 17 minutes, landing at Bimini Sands in the Bahamas all in one piece and fully stoked!
Words by : Damien Leroy
Photos by: David Daniels Photography