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.
Meet the Kiteboarders:
Alex is a soon-to-be graduate of Eckerd College in Saint Petersburg, Florida. When he's not kiteboarding, Alex can be found rock and alpine climbing, scuba diving, camping, hanging out on the beach, or crammed into a car with his friends on a road trip.
Matt has been an avid watersports enthusiast for his entire life, from being a sailing instructor, to wakeboarding, windsurfing, kiteboarding, and paddlesurfing. Currently, Matt is attending Eckerd College while managing the Collegiate Kiteboarding Association -- the governing body for intercollegiate competitive kiteboarding in the United States.
Tripp began kiteboarding almost two years ago, and grew up riding behind a jetski on an old surfboard in Maryland's Chesapeake Bay. He loves doing anything with a kite, whether it's skateboarding with a trainer kite or long distance downwinders in the ocean.
Chase says that his life "completely changed" when he learned how to kiteboard three years ago, and that now all he thinks about is the wind and water. He graduates from the University of South Florida in May 2009 with a degree in Anthropology.