Cook Strait Cross 

Kiteboarders Louis Tapper and Alistair Quinn have crossed the notoriously treacherous Cook Strait by kite, and raised money for the Wellington-based Westpac Rescue Helicopter.

Chopper rescue services can mean the difference between life and death for thousands of New Zealanders every year. And you can't get more deserving than that.

Here's their story:

«Yep we both made it, albeit about 8 nm apart. I'd borrowed Kevs board which was way better than mine would have been but still not quite a floaty as Louis big barge. I struggled a bit in the light winds and couldn't point as far upwind as Louis so eventually ended up south of Tory Channel, Louis hit the mainland exactly as planned at Perano Head about 4 nm north of Tory Channel.

Once out of the bay at Makara (total nightmare in light wind dead onshore and lots of kelp) we got good wind for about 40 mins then it dropped to zero and we hung out with kites in the water , the wind came back but it was only about 10 -12 kts , we both had to work the kites but Louis was a bit more efficient and managed to stay on the planned heading. I worked my way slowly south into the shipping lanes regularly hitting 5 knots.

We were about to pull the pin on my trip and the boat was on the way to get me when the wind came back and I got going again. After the ok from the coast guard and quick scurry across the mouth off Tory Channel. I ended up about 500 yrds of the coast up against some big cliffs. The wind started getting funky and I had the strongest gusts of the trip and a couple of lofts then it all died about 100 yards out and I swam to shore.

Meanwhile Louis was in good pressure further north and trying to tack up wind to give him a chance at a quick touch , turn and trip back to Makara. Eventually he touched land at Perano Head and keen for more headed back towards the North Island.

I was way too far south to contemplate the return trip and the cliff landing hadn't been nice to my gear so the boat came down and picked me up.

Louis was ripping in steady 18 -20 on the way back and we struggled to make ground on him, its way harder work doing 15kts in a 20ft boat in rough seas than it is doing 20kts on a kite.

With the magic of VHF, Spot and Telecom we tracked Louis down 2 hours later - he was about 7nm northwest of Makara. We knew it was 10kts lighter on the Wellington side so he had taken a wide northern circle looking to approach Makara downwind as the wind dropped of. He was making very hard yards of it in about 8 kts of wind when we found him. He persevered for another 1 1/2 hours relaunching every 20 minutes but eventually the kite could not stay in the sky so we pulled the pin 3 nm northwest of Makara.

It was quite cool at times bobbing away by yourself in the middle of the strait waiting (praying) for enough wind to relaunch, but next time I think we will wait for a gruntier forecast.»

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Royal North Shore Hospital 

A kite surfer suddenly lifted into the air by a southerly breeze and dragged through bushes and a fence nearly "peeled off half his face" when he slammed into a street-sign pole on the weekend, a Sydney lifesaver says.

The 48-year-old Woy Woy man - whose name was not known - had surgery for facial fractures and a blood clot to the brain after he lost control of his kite at Sydney's Ettalong Beach about 4.30pm on Saturday.

He was in a stable condition at Royal North Shore hospital, a hospital spokeswoman said.

But when lifesavers from Ocean Beach Surf Lifesaving Club found him on Saturday, he was unconscious and the pole he had smashed into was bent at an angle.

Moments earlier, a southerly buster had lifted the man approximately 15 metres into the air and carried him away from the beach towards bushes and a nearby road, police said.

"The surfer descended rapidly and was dragged through the bushes, struck a wire fence, which he broke through, and then struck and bent a street-sign pole," police said.

The man had just set up his kite on the beach when the incident happened, said Ocean Beach SLSC president Scott Hannell.

"He hadn't been in the water, he was still setting up to go out," he said. "From what I understand, most injuries in kite surfing happen at that stage.

"[The lifesavers] were doing a patrol down on the beach and saw it unfold as it happened."

The lifesavers followed the man as he was carried away from the beach, and were the first on-hand after he smashed into the street-sign.

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The German Kitesurf Association (GKA) and the Federazione Kitesurf Italiana (FKI) have become the first national affiliated members to the IKA.

Intention of national affiliated membership is to build a strong base of national associations taking care of the development in their respective countries.

A national associations sub-committee is currently set up to discuss development if international rules etc.

The number of national associations joining the International Kiteboarding Class Association is growing, and all national associations are invited to join in, to get their national events included into the world ranking and to become member of the nation associations sub-committee to give further input for the development of the class.

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