Channel surfing Richard Branson abandons world record attempt

Sir Richard Branson has had to abandon an attempt to set at least two world records by kite-surfing across the English Channel.

Sir Richard Branson has had to abandon an attempt to set at least two world records by kite-surfing across the English Channel.

The Virgin entrepreneur hoped to become the oldest person to cross the Channel by kite-surf and to make the fastest crossing by a kite-surfing team.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Accompanied by his son Sam, nephews and friends, he left Wimereux in northern France yesterday and aimed to make the 30-mile journey to the Kent coast in around two-and-a-half hours.

But half-way across, Branson, who turns 62 next month, realised his kite was too small and he had to turn back while his friends and family continued.

There was joy, however, for his son Sam who became the fastest person to kite-surf solo across the Channel when he reached Folkestone in two hours and 18 minutes, beating the previous record set in 1999 by 12 minutes.

Sam and the eight others who finished also entered the record books as the fastest group of kite-surfers to make the Channel crossing, for which there was no previous record.

Speaking after stepping off a boat on Folkestone beach, Branson said he hoped to try the crossing again today if the weather permits. He said: “I got half-way across and the kite was foolishly too small for me. I was heading for the cliffs of Dover where there is no beach.

“I was told to go back to France, which I did, to get a bigger kite. When I got there they had packed the kites up and were heading to England.”