Kirk Hollis: the kilometre eater

Kirk Hollis has successfully kitesurfed from South Africa to Kenya, in 3500 kilometre voyage along the African coastline. The impressive achievement was confirmed solo and unsupported.

The kiteboarder studied the regional trade winds and the entire trip plan for five months. Due to the nature of the trip and having no support everything had to be carried on Kirk’s back in a backpack with a dry bag inside.

To reduce weight all the gear had to be light and compact, with no space for food eating off the land and buying fish off locals would be the best way. To save space Kirk packed a hammock with a built in Mozzy net which would become home for the next three months.

Other gear consisted of only tools, a repair kit, a first aid kit, two pairs of board shorts, a pair of flipflops and a couple T-shirts. Kirk Hollis decided to carry a 10-metre Ozone Catalyst and a 5.5 foot racing board.

The South Africa to Kenya Kitesurf Expedition kicked off in July 2010, from Sodwana Bay, in northern South Africa. With the South Easterly Kusi trade wind not having much affect in the south getting north was harder than Kirk had expected.

On one day Kirk set off with the wind blowing 20 knots off shore and got the kite tangled and ended up 5 km off shore with nothing around after about an hour and ready to lose the kite he spotted a small dug out and managed to get the fisherman over.

With the small boat being too small for both in the big swell Kirk was only able to hand him the kite to take back and had to paddle his kite board for 6 hours with no water.

"When something like this happens your respect for the ocean grows a lot. Struggling through the hard times is a mind game, you have to stay calm and focused and know you can get back", tells Hollis.

He reached Pemba, in Northern Mozambique, and after waiting a few weeks in Pemba and checking the wind reports he decided to put the trip on hold and would have to wait for the next Kusi trade wind which only comes once a year.

In July 2011, Kirk made his way back to the coast and head across to Southern Tanzania to start the second leg of the expedition. The second leg would be Tanzania To Kenya.

With the wind howling in Kenya the distance covered most days was good 40-50 km per day. After a few days of chilling and enjoying some real food in Diani Beach, Kirk continued up the coast for another week without any drama got to Malind, where he ended the expedition.