Cook Islands: life is hard here

The world's biggest names in kitesurfing will be attending the first big event in the Cook Islands. The "Kiting Towards Heaven" is set to kick off between June 25th and July 2nd and promises to catapult the small country on to the international stage as a kitesurfing destination.

The competition will be organized by the local kitesurfing association, at the Muri Lagoon, with the support of the Tourism Cook Islands and Air Rarotonga.

Jesse Richman, two-time KPWT world champion, has confirmed his attendance. The 18-year-old kitesurfer from Maui is one of the best freestyle and racing competitors. Also, he set a new world record for the longest hang time at the Big Air Wind Jam, in San Francisco.

Cameron Dietrich is also one of the confirmed kite stars. Susi Mai will be in the judging panel, along with Tahitian pro rider Moehau Goold and Professional Kiteboard Riders Association (PKRA) head judge Bradley Price. Local Andre Raoult will act as Race Director.

Teanaroa Paka Worthington, president of the Cook Islands Kitesurfing Association, is promoting the event to the smallest detail. "I've been all around the world and didn't realize that one of the best places to kitesurf is in my backyard. Kitesurfing is a great opportunity for Cook Islanders because it's a professional sport, there's money in it and there's a good chance it will be in the Olympics. It can also bring tourists", Worthington said.