Bahamian enters Guinness Book of World Records

Kite surfer Islay Symonette along with Stewart Edge were participating in the sport for a cause and ended up in the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest kite surfing journey by a team for their 4,509.01 kilometers (2801.76 miles) trek from May 2 to August 12 this year.

Symonette has been kite surfing for past 14 years. She and Edge kite surfed around the entire nation of Great Britain.

Symonette, who resides and works in the United Kingdom, not only did it for the adventure but for raising awareness about the amount of plastic ending up on beaches around Great Britain. She and Edge also raised funds for two British charities – the Armada Trust Kite and Sup Tour and the Marine Conservation Society.

The idea to partake in kite surfing came from her love for extreme sports and her interest in having an awareness of the sport. Also, she wanted to be proactive in stopping man-made pollutants from reaching the ocean.

Back in 2011, Edge climbed Mount Everest to raise funds for Starlight, a charity that specializes in making wishes come true for seriously and terminally ill children, and provides entertainment in hospitals and hospices across the United Kingdom.

Standing at 8,848 meters (29,029 feet), Mount Everest is one of the most difficult climbs in the world. Around 800 people attempted to climb the mountain that is located in the Himalayas in Asia.

In training for this feat, Symonette was in the water by 9 a.m. and left around 5 p.m. on a regular basis. A 45-foot support boat followed their quest and doubled as their home.

Symonette said there is more to kite surfing than just the physical and mental side of it. She said one has to also figure out wind and course-plotting difficulties that arise.

For example, early in their expedition while crossing the River Thames, where the river meets the waters of the North Sea, Symonette and her team were faced with a decision – kite through a large-scale wind farm or veer around it. The latter would have meant another two to three hours on the water.

In line with her daring nature, Symonette decided to kite through the wind farm, weaving around the turbines, avoiding the lines and the kite from getting entangled.

On May 26, Symonette wrote on her blog that Edge kited for 100 miles, the longest distance they ever covered at that point. They spent seven hours and 30 minutes on the water that day.

In addition to kite surfing, they decided to clean a beach. On May 31, they cleaned Chesil Beach which stretches 18 miles. They left with four large garbage bags and over 5,000 pieces of plastic that they removed from the beach.

On August 11, the duo almost reached the finish line but due to a lack of wind, they were unable to cross the Humber. They saw the finish line but could not make it.

They started their journey on the final day, August 12, at 4:45 a.m. They left for Haile Sand Fort on a rainy and a blustery day. They kited for 19 nautical miles (21.86 miles) on this day.

All in all, the two adventurous surfers were out for a total of 103 days and kited for 51 of those days.

Symonette is the daughter of Minister of Financial Services, Trade and Industry and Immigration Brent Symonette and wife Robin Symonette.

Pollution prevention and waste management is a critical global issue.

Kite Britain has raised £10,945 or 108 percent of its £10,000 goal as of this week toward pollution prevention and waste management.

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Simba French

Simba joined The Nassau Guardian in 2012 as a technical producer for Guardian Radio 96.9 FM. He joined the Editorial Department as a sports reporter in 2018. Simba has covered a wide range of sports stories, including the 2018 CARIFTA in Nassau, Bahamas. Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism

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