Earlier this week, Damien Leroy decided it was time to get his name in the record books, so along with buddies Alex Aguera and his sister Kalia, they jumped on a ferry and headed for the little beach of Shipwrecks, Maui.
First, Alex Aguera broke the record by one knot, which previously stood at 42.1 knots by Pieter Biehl. Aguera's max speed was recorded at 43.54 knots. Using an Ozone Edge and custom speed board, he negotiated the choppy water well to achieve such a speed. It didn't take long before Leroy snatched the record away from him however, upping the record by another knot, 44.33 knots to be exact. Leroy was also using a custom speed board, but like the current world speed record, he was riding a stock standard Cabrinha Switchblade.
Alex's sister Kalia also broke the womens record, just nudging over 31 knots using what looks to be a Naish Park. With her lighter body weight Kalia had to use a much smaller kite than the boys, which is big disadvantage for speed riding.
The location itself isn't exactly ideal for making the record attempts, Shipwrecks has a shallow reef ledge with a small wall around the outside which keeps the swell out. Although relatively flat, there's still 30cm chop rolling though there which makes riding fast very difficult. It's also extremely shallow, with sharp reef under water making high speed crashes extremely risky. There's a couple of crashes in the video below, but note how the riders keep themselves on top of the water, never diving deep like freestylers do.
To record the runs, the trio used a GPS set to record their average over 500m. This is the same method used by the world record guys, and keeps things fair for all riders. During these runs the kiteboards can reach speeds far faster than the 43(ish) knots, but it's the average speed that gets recorded. The boys probably had max speeds in excess of 50 knots (92km/h) from this day, but unfortunately they don't count.
Check out the video below to see them in action...