A KITESURFER’S skill and not being selected in a draw gets entry into the ninth annual 19km Red Bull Lighthouse to Leighton race from Rottnest Island to Leighton Beach after entries opened last week.
“This year for the first time we have moved to a selected field basis to ensure that the standard of competitors participating has increased, and a further reason is to allow racers who have missed out in prior consecutive years a fair go at getting in and racing, as distinct from just ‘doing the crossing’,” race director Tim Turner said.
Entrants now must declare they have more than 100 hours of kite boarding experience,
Despite the requirement, Mr Turner said demand to do the crossing is still strong, with 62 applying in the first 24 hours of entries opening.
Entrants will be vying to beat the race record of 19 minutes and three seconds for the crossing set by Frenchman Nico Parlier in 2016.
Many are expected to take less than 30 minutes to finish on December 8, with the following Sunday and both days of the next weekend set aside in case the wind fails.
However, the race could still be run on the last of the four dates with a reduced fleet if the increasing variability of once-consistent seabreezes made it the only viable date,
Mr Turner said the 135 places were expected to be hotly contested by international, national and WA kiters.
“Each year we see a growing interest from local and international kiteboarders who have heard about the Red Bull Lighthouse to Leighton from Rottnest Island and want to take on the challenge,” he said.
Entrants will race on a kitefoil, slalom or twin tip board for equal prize money for the top three men and women, comprising more than $5000 in cash and $4000 of trophies, in addition to the respected Marc Sprod Trophy for the fastest West Australian.
Entry forms at www.lighthouse2leighton.com.au close at midnight on November 2.