Damien Leroy and other speed kiters, including world speed record holder, Rob Douglas (55.65 knots over 500m), are assembled in Martha's Vineyard, an island of 100 square miles, just off the coast of Massachusetts, competing for the Lynch Cup at the North American Speed Sailing Invitational, a world class event.
Of course the last few days have produced incredibly volatile wind conditions along hundreds of miles of the USA's eastern seaboard, but Hurricane Sandy hasn't stopped the event. Quite the opposite. Damien says there has been only one day during the event that the riders decided not to go out - when it was blowing 60 - 80 knots. Modern kites are now so efficient and well designed that, in the right hands of course, they can handle incredibly strong winds and, as Damien points out, winds of 40 knots are ideal for setting really fast speed kiting times.
The NASSI event concluded yesterday, Rob took the win and his record remains in tact, showing just how crazy the conditions were in Luderitz, Namibia back in 2010 when he set the record. Damien took second at this year's event with previous World Record Holder, Alex Caizergues from France in third.
And check out the very first episode of The Kite Show, in which Rob Douglas is interviewed about his scary ride down that speed strip in Luderitz where he set his infamous record. Fast forward to 3.40 mins... although by doing that, you'll be fast forwarding past an interview with Lewis Crathern, the pier jumper from the UK who talks you through his huge boost over Brighton's huge sea side attraction!
The Kite Show is now available as a free podcast in the iTunes store!