The first KiteFoil circumnavigation of BoaVista

Solo KiteFoil around the third biggest island of Cape Verde to help the kids.


On December 1st 2018, Ulrich Frank did the first kite circumnavigation of Boa Vista, one of the islands in the Cape Verdean Archipelago. In 7 hours he covered 166km with his KiteFoil to raise awareness on the fundraiser he has started to support a local kindergarten on the island.

Since my first try on a kitefoil back in 2016 I am hooked.

The incredbile sensation of flying over the water, the upwind abilities give this sport endless possibilities. Whenever I have the chance to go foiling I experience this insane amount of freedom that drives me to push my boundaries further and further.

With almost no wind I am able to cover large distances and the usual issue of staying or getting upwind is not a matter anymore.

I have had the idea of kitesurfing around the perimeter of Boa Vista for some time now; the wind direction and the shape of the island are perfect for it. It’s around 40% upwind and the rest is pure bliss flying downwind along an untouched island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. It feels so unreal to be out there.
 

Floating across the vast ocean playing with all these elements is just pure magic to me.

I was barely able to get some sleep the night before and I remember that I looked out the window around 06:30am and: it was really cloudy and with no wind at all!

I got very nervous; everything was ready, the support boat, the 6men camera-team, the arrival party, everything was planned. There was just no way to postpone the event again.

It was time to leave. My head was out of control. We had planned to do an interview but I didn’t feel able to construct senseful sentences.

I just wanted to leave, right away! And so I did, at 10:50am.

The moment the foil lifted I felt relieved. It’s happening, I am going around this island now. I really am!

I kept talking to myself and singing as I left the bay of Sal Rei for the first long stretch of upwind. The first encounter with small reef sharks wasn’t long after departure. Close to Ponta do Sol I was flying over two of them. They were almost 1.5 meters long. I said hello (I actually said that out loud!) and continued my journey trying not to think about sharks.
Since the wind was more northerly than usual the upwind stretch was much longer than expected: it took me about 3 hours to get to Gatas, where we had set up a control point for the film crew that was following me with quads and drones from land.


My support boat captain in the meantime enjoyed fishing while one of the photographers aboard was really seasick. He didn’t look good at all.
After I passed Gatas it was time to go downwind. What a relief! The scenery here with high cliffs and big waves smashing against them was very special.

I felt awe and respect for mother nature and thankful to be there at that moment in time.

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All my food and water were on the boat. Later I understood that this was my biggest mistake on this journey.

The destination was Lacacão, where I was supposed to stop for 20 minutes, to rest and eat. Since my last banana I hadn’t seen my support boat again. I was worried but I kept going downwind towards Lacacão in the hope that the ground crew had more information.
Big swell made the arrival on the beach tricky but I managed it.

The camera team was there but my support boat and my food were missing! I was dying for a banana or any other food, all I got was some water. It was already 4pm. I still had a great distance to cover before arriving back in Sal Rei.


Still no sign of the boat, but I decided to keep moving. I thought that the Captain, being experienced, could find places to land ashore in case of engine problems.

It was still downwind and since I was at the southside of the island now the water became more flat.

This was the most beautiful part, riding full speed really close to a never-ending completely deserted beach. The clock was ticking though. I knew that after this beach I had to change my course and start going uwpind again.


I arrived at Varandhina around 5pm and I only had another 1.5 hours before darkness. This was the most challenging part of this journey. There were rocks and shallow reefs everywhere. The sun was so low behind the clouds to make visibility under water null. I was completely demotivated, scared that at any second my 95cm foil could hit a rock and it would all be over.

Great! Here I was, on the biggest reef of the island, with no boat in sight at full sunset playing shark bait.

Here, 10km before arrival, I also reunited with my support.

In the heavy waves of the North shore the relatively small boat was overloaded with 2 photographers aboard so the captain had decided to drop them off close to Santa Monica. I was just happy that everyone was alright.


I arrived back at Sal Rei at 6:15pm, after 7 hours. My friends at Planet Allsports had organized a great arrival party and the crowd on the beach was cheering and screaming. With a proper BBQ, we stayed together on the beach for the rest of the night to close this amazing experience.


Please support my project kite4change.com, where I collect funds for a local kindergarten on the Island of Boa Vista.

The project “Un Click per un Sorriso” - as well as managing a kindergarten in Sal Rei with 80 children - provides health services for children of poor families, and collects teaching and medical items and articles of clothing. The next coming-up event is the Charity Downwind with 25 riders from the Island of Sal to Boa Vista in February 2018.“

Ulrich FrankComment