Greenpeace 

This January, four intrepid kiteboarders from Florida are undertaking an epic kiteboarding adventure. Alex Moore, Chase Kosterlitz, Tripp Hobbs, and Matt Sexton are kiteboarding down the entire eastern coast of Florida to raise awareness about solutions to the problems facing our oceans.

At 22, most kids his age are gearing up for exams and term papers - but for Alex Moore, he's also busy gearing up for what could potentially be the world's longest distance ever traveled by a kiteboard.

Alex's passion for the outdoors has always fueled his endeavors.  Growing up in a family of fishermen, Alex's father taught him the importance of being environmentally conscious.  It was his love for the sea that led him to take up kiteboarding, and as an oceans enthusiast, he's all too familiar with the fragile nature of our coastal ecosystems. 

So when he and three of his friends decided to embark on a journey of a lifetime to kiteboard the eastern coast of Florida, it was only natural for them to reach out to Greenpeace and use the kiteboarding tour to highlight the need for marine reserves as a way to protect our oceans' wildlife.

"Coming into our sport from a mountaineering and sailing background, long-distance kiteboarding always sparked my interest.  But Greenpeace's involvement has shown me that this trip is something bigger than kiting," Alex says.  "This isn't just about taking the distance record, it's about doing something for the world and making a difference."

"Kiteboarding is an exciting sport, and this journey -- including the distance record attempt -- will generate a lot of interest in oceans conservation," adds Phil Kline, Oceans Campaigner for Greenpeace.  "This moment may be the tipping point for our seas.  The scientific community keeps sounding the alarm: Our oceans are in deep trouble."

Greenpeace is supporting this effort at many levels, from decorating the kites, building a coalition to raise awareness, providing logistical support on land and sea, and gathering signatures for a letter to President-Elect Barack Obama, seeking his leadership in protecting our oceans. They will be riding Turbo Diesel 3 kits supplied by Slingshot.

The kiteboarders' seafaring sojourn on a 550-mile adventure from Fort Lauderdale began on Saturday, January 10th, with a beach event hosted by Greenpeace and the Collegiate Kiteboard Association to celebrate this record-setting attempt. Artist Norm Gitzen displayed his Vanishing Sea Life sculptures. Depending on wind conditions, the journey will continue in the following days. They will be riding Turbo Deisel 3 kites supplied by Slingshot.

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Kiteboarders 4 Cancer

Despite a recession and gas prices affecting travel around the country, Kiteboarding 4 Cancer pulled off our second event with a 40% increase in funds raised, with over $95,000. This huge feat was attributed to an incredible community of kiteboarders, manufacturers, partners, and volunteers passionate about the cause.

One cannot describe the incredible vibe and great energy at this event. Participating athletes raced 6 hours, kiteboarding on the Columbia River in memory of loved ones fighting cancer, with yellow and white ribbons trailing from their kites in the wind. There were even cancer survivors on the water, determined to win the grueling event. Partnering cancer organizations John Wayne Cancer Foundation, Celilo Cancer Center, Children's Healing Art Project, and Oregon Active all participated in the event.

John Wayne Cancer Foundation (JWCF) provided sunscreen and orange jersies for the race. Celilo Cancer Center helped run the silent auction, which benefits the Celilo Patient Fund at this world-class facility. Children's Healing Art Project (CHAP) set up an art studio for all to take part in decorating the John Doyle Bling Kiteboard, which was auctioned off at the end of the event to raise money for the art healing programs for kids and their families in crisis at Portland area Children's hospitals. Oregon Active ran the Full Sail Brewing tent and barbecue to raise money for taking cancer patients on outside adventures.

Portland bands Subterranean Howl, Climatize, and Hood River band, Sunderland, played throughout the day for the crowd. Be sure to check out their music, because they rocked Kiteboard 4 Cancer. The raffle, silent auction, and live auction included some amazing items including a trip to a Bali Kitesurf Camp with Pro Rider, Ben Wilson, and a Kiteboarding vacation in Cozumel, Mexico. The grand prize winner of the raffle, Terry, a mother of 3, won a $1000 travel voucher from Hazel Phillips Travel.

The stories of survival and inspiration flowed throughout the day, as did the generosity of passers-by donating to the cause. In the end, it was Irv Stein from Portland, Oregon, who recently underwent treatment for a rare cancer in April, and ended up taking 2nd place in the 6 hour Kite Derby endurance race!!!

Kiteboarders raced in a 6-hour endurance Kite Derby on the Columbia River for prizes and to raise per-lap funds for the cause. Participants raced with ribbons fluttering behind their kites -- white representing "in memory of" and yellow identifying the rider as a cancer survivor.

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British Channel

Local kitesurfing enthusiasts, Ashley Overton and Rob Ward have announced that they will be attempting to kitesurf across the British Channel in record time to raise money for Hampshire based charity, Champion Behaviours.

Champion Behaviours is a non profit organisation set up to deliver motivational workshops and programmes to young people aged between 12-15 years old, who are in danger of exclusion from school and society. The organisation works tirelessly with local communities to ensure young people feel a sense of belonging, rather than creating their own groups and rules that can cause problems in society.

Ashley, who is also New Boat Sales Director at Ancasta International Boat Sales, has always had a passion for the sea. Already a keen sailor, he took up kitesurfing five years ago with the ultimate goal of speed racing across the channel in mind.

37 year old Rob is a dedicated adventurer and has completed previous windsurfing, cycling and walking challenges for a number of charities. Rob has been kiting for four years.

The challenge is due to take place in May 2009 with the hope of raising in excess of £20,000 for Champion Behaviours. In order to break the current record, Ashley and Rob will be setting sail from Hythe in Kent, and will aim to endure the tough 25 mile crossing across the busiest shipping lane in the world to reach the French shores of Wissant in under two and a half hours. They will then turn around and return straight to Hythe, to become the first ever people to achieve a double crossing of this kind.

Ashley and Rob will be using a quiver of 10m2 to 18m2 square kites from pro specialists, North and Slingshot Kites. These kites have an average speed of 15 knots and a maximum speed of 25 to 30 knots. In order to break the current world record, they will need to battle against strong winds and large waves, travelling at a consistent speed of ten knots, on boards weighing just 6kgs.  Top speeds will need to be maintained at all times in order to allow for potential gear failure and kite changes en route.

Ashley says, “This entire project is about pushing the boundaries, setting targets which are out of comfortable reach - the distance, the records to beat, the fitness levels required and financial targets for the charity. This will be a great challenge for keeping me focused for 2009.”

Rob agrees, “The Cross channel challenge absolutely hits the spot for me! It combines both my passions for kitesurfing and adventure in a perfect way. This is a challenge that I am totally committed to and I will do whatever I can to ensure it’s a success.”

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