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RickI
12-06-2005, 07:15 PM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Neil Hutchinson (954)647-7228
www.bahamacrossing.com
nhukusa@aol.com

December 5, 2005

EXTREME ATHLETES MAKE HISTORY IN OFF-SHORE KITE RACE

Thirty Kiteboarders race fifty miles from Florida to Bimini in inaugural event

Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Thirty extreme athletes crossed the forty-nine nautical miles of Gulf stream on Friday, December 2nd in the hopes of being the first to kiteboard to Bimini.

Kiteboarding, an intense twist on windsurfing; consists of kiteboarders riding atop what is similar to a surfboard powered by the wind using a large kite. These kites, some as big as 25 square meters in size, create immense power. Kiteboarders regularly skim across the water at speeds of forty mph and perform crowd-awing leaps of over thirty feet high. America watched the Rebel Billionaire, Sir Richard Branson and presidential candidate Senator John Kerry get hooked on kiteboarding last year and the sport has grown by leaps and bounds. Now, another extreme Brit, Guinness World Record holder Neil Hutchinson has elevated the sport to an entirely new level, a race across the Bermuda Triangle from Florida to the Bahamas. Hutchinson was honored for kiteboarding from Key West, FL to Varadero, Cuba in December 2001.

On a blustery, fifty degree Friday morning kiteboarders from around the globe set out to make history as part of this first-ever kiteboarding event. In the end, three teams were placed for crossing the finish line in under four treacherous hours and five others were honored for just completing the crossing. “It was the perseverance of these athletes that made this event such a success, it is their iron will that is to be commended,” said Hutchinson in an emotional moment at the finish line. Among the race winners were Team United Capital Market Holdings comprised of Kent Marinkovic, Mike Gebhardt and Captain David Smyth who took home the first place trophies. Second place went to Team Klewin Construction and riders Sean Stroud and Chad Anschuetz along with Captain Brian Mastriana. Third place awards went to Team ABX and riders Alex Bloechinger and Demian Thomas including Captain Errol Muston. Also, rider Stacey Fonas received honorable mention, for being the first female to ever successfully cross the Gulf stream on a kiteboard, making the trek to Bimini in 5 hours, 35 minutes.

Hutchinson and co-organizer, John Bartolo created an international event worthy of such sponsors as X-Rated Kiteboarding and the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism. “What Neil and John have been able to do on the island of Bimini is something we will eagerly welcome and support for years to come,” announced Bahamas Tourism spokesperson Antoinette Stuart at an awards ceremony Friday night on the island. “Much to our surprise, the island of Bimini instituted an early release for schools to witness the historical event complete with a marching band welcome. It was surreal to have all those children cheering for our riders coming across the ocean and landing just feet before them. I will never forget it.” said Hutchinson. “The Bahamian Ministry of Tourism was involved every step of the way. Their enthusiasm and hospitality was incredible, the island was spectacular and plans are already underway for Bahamas Kiterace 2006, thanks to our sponsors and Mother Nature, our event was a success!” boasts organizer and kiteboarder John Bartolo.

Swollen ankles and waterlog aside, riders went to great lengths to prepare themselves both mentally and physically for the journey and safety was priority one in often dangerous marine conditions. “Currents were strong; if you lost your board you were swimming forty to fifty yards for it. It wasn’t easy with the next team so close behind,” says third place rider Alex Bloechinger still trying to catch his breath, “I’m exhausted, my ankles are swollen, it was a great day.”


BAHAMAS KITE RACE 2005 -- OFFICIAL FINAL RESULTS

1st Place 3:28
Team United Capital Market Holdings Kent Marinkovic / Mike Gebhardt Boat: Reel Doc

2nd Place 3:42
Team Klewin Construction Chad Anschuetz / Sean Stroud Boat: Menage a’ Trios

3rd Place 3:59
Team ABX Kite Repair Demian Thomas / Alex Bloechinger Boat: Gabriella G

4th Place 4:00
Team Miamikiteboarding Fabrice Collard / Christophe Ribot

5th Place 4:22
Team Slingshot Hamish MacDonald / Doogle MacDonald

6th Place 4:51
Team Gamezon Jayson Orkins / H. Trimble II

7th Place 5:40
Team WindJammers Eric Castelein / Chip Johnston

8th Place 7:18
Team Rocky Point A.J. Morgan / Trace Trusler

INDIVIDUAL RIDERS TO COMPLETE THE CROSSING
Kevin Collins 4:12
Stacey Fonas 5:44
Ian Huschle 6:05