Lighthouse to Leighton: beautiful sunny

The French kite bullet has done it. Alex Caizergues keeps collecting titles and this time he stormed the inaugural Red Bull Lighthouse to Leighton kitesurfing, held at Fremantle, Western Australia.

The 32-year-old pro kiteboarder crossed the 19km Indian Ocean course in only 24 minutes and 34 seconds, around half the time of a typical voyage on the Rottnest Express ferry at an average speed of over 20 knots.

The weather conditions were tricky, bumpy and choppy. Three helicopters were able to capture the best images of the Caizergues' lead. He took the first place and finished one minute and 50 seconds earlier than the second placed, local favourite Said Salameh. Marty Farrow was third.

In the end, Salameh was disqualified for failing to go around a marker near the finish line. Farrow was promoted to second and Philip Rowlands elevated to third.

The WA Kitesurfing Association-sanctioned Lighthouse to Leighton was the longest kitesurfing race ever held in Australia and Caizergues said he was out of his comfort zone, being more accustomed to speed challenges on flat custom-built kitesurfing courses.

“Usually I am competing on my own, here I had 50 guys all excited and I didn’t know what to expect,” Caizergues said. “I had to get a really good start and not tangle with someone, and I did that and took the lead from the beginning. It’s really different compared to speed conditions, I was going fast, probably 25-30 knots, around 50 km/h.

Caizergues is currently the second fastest man in the world. He is also a three-times world champion and was the first man to break the magical 100km/h on the water, setting the world record in Namibia in October before US kiter Rob Douglas snatched the record off him with a speed of 55.65 knots just days later.

He was impressed with his first event in Western Australia. “I am really impressed, I didn’t expect so many people on the beach,” he said. “I am really proud to win the first edition of the Lighthouse to Leighton Beach.”