Kirk Hollis: the kilometre eater

Kirk Hollis has successfully kitesurfed from South Africa to Kenya in a 3,500-kilometer 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 eaten off the land, and buying fish from 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 flip-flops, and a couple of t-shirts.

Kirk Hollis decided to carry a 10-meter 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 effect in the south, getting north was harder than Kirk had expected.

On one day, Kirk set off with the wind blowing 20 knots offshore and got the kite tangled, and ended up 5 km offshore with nothing around.

After about an hour and ready to lose the kite, he spotted a small dugout 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 kiteboard 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", says 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 headed across to Southern Tanzania to start the second leg of the expedition.

The second leg would be from 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 and got to Malind, where he ended the expedition.

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