Exmouth marine kite surf bid

PUBLISHED: 14:02 16 June 2010 | UPDATED: 11:35 18 June 2010

EXMOUTH Royal Marines are bidding to raise thousands to help injured heroes with a daring five-hour kite surfing race across the Channel.

EXMOUTH Royal Marines are bidding to raise thousands to help injured heroes with a daring five-hour kite surfing race across the Channel.

Kite4Heroes has been organised by the combined armed forces kitesurfing associations and aims to raise £20,000 for Help for Heroes.

Teams of six representing the three services will launch from the north coast of the Channel island of Alderney and kite surf 70 nautical miles to Poole.

Royal Marine Steve Mackay, 39, from Exmouth, is one of six team members on the Royal Navy team and he picked up the kite surfing bug during some downtime in Exmouth after his first posting in Afghanistan three years ago.

He said: "The plan is to set off some time in June, but we can only go when the conditions are right.

"We have been waiting for a window of opportunity when there are south-westerly winds from our starting point at the harbour in Alderney and 12-knot winds."

The weather is being closely monitored and organisers will issue a five, two and finally one day warning before the starting pistol.

Steve said: "Hopefully the first person will be able to launch from the beach and then once they've kitesurfed for about an hour the next person will get into the water from his place on the safety boat, clip into the kite, take charge of the board and carry on.

"We've been rehearsing our swap-overs over the past few weeks and have perfected our drills, so we are more than happy and feeling confident."

Steve will be joined another Exmouth Royal Marine Scully Scullion, Trev Calvert and Sam Quirk as well as Henry Waite and Bob Bowman from the Royal Navy.

He added: "Kitesurfing was easy to pick up - it's all about balance. I'm a keen runner so have been keeping myself physically fit and I've been trying to get out kitesurfing at least once or twice a week.

"Most of us taking part have been out to conflict zones including Iraq and Afghanistan so we hope to raise as much money as we can and awareness for Help for Heroes."

To make a donation visit www.kite4heroes.co.uk or www. justgiving.com/RMRM-kiteteam

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