SECOND-PLACED Samson kitesurfer Alty Frisby (46) and Nedlands kiter Mani Bisschops in third were behind record-breaking British entrant Guy Bridge (19), who broke the Lighthouse to Leighton kite race record in 18 minutes 49 seconds on Saturday.
“There was plenty of seaweed in the shipping channel which slowed us down for 3km, then it cleaned up close to shore and we really started moving,” Bisschops, the Australian National Kitefoil Champion for the past two years, said.
The race’s previous record was 19m 3s set in 2016 over the 19.4km from Rottnest Island to Leighton Beach, North Fremantle.
Frisby completed the crossing in 21m 14s and also won the Marc Sprod Memorial Trophy for the fastest West Australian.
Bisschops, Frisby and Bridge were all riding boards with small hydrofoils underneath that travelled at speeds that tested the pacing speedboat in a seabreeze of about 22 knots.
Another 132 kitesurfers completed the crossing on foils, race boards, surfboards and twin tips usually used for tricks.
The first woman across the line was Safety Bay’s 22nd-placed Rachael Hughes (30), who also won the women’s twin tip division in a time of 31m 10s.
“The wind was pretty good the whole way across, I got in the shadow of one of the ships out there for a bit but then was ok the rest of the race,” Hughes said.
The men’s twin tip winner was Coolbellup’s ninth-placed Dan Anderson in 26m 45s.
However, UK champion kiter Bridge was always going to be hard to beat after securing a 750m lead in the first five minutes of the race, which for some was their first experience of competition kite surfing.
“Oh, man, it was the best thing because of being with a bunch of friends in a great environment doing something we love to do,” Kingsley teenagekiter of one year Logan McCormick, who was 22nd in 29. 39s, said.