Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

The kite rider: World's fastest wave machine

By James Masters, CNN
November 28, 2013 -- Updated 1118 GMT (1918 HKT)
Alex Caizergues broke the World Sailing Speed Kitesurfing record over 500 meters, reaching an average speed of 56.62 knots. Alex Caizergues broke the World Sailing Speed Kitesurfing record over 500 meters, reaching an average speed of 56.62 knots.
HIDE CAPTION
Kite rider
Wave machine
Winds of change
Water world
Mistral matters
End of an adventure
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Alex Caizergues sets new world speed kitesurfing record
  • Frenchman broke record over 500 meters after averaging 56.62 knots
  • Run aided by the Mistral -- a fierce cold wind which blows down south of France coast
  • Caizergues now looking forward to next run in fierce conditions

(CNN) -- Alex Caizergues toasts danger with a glass of bubbly in one hand and a clenched fist in the other.

The Frenchman has good reason to celebrate after smashing the World Sailing Speed Kitesurfing record over 500 meters, reaching an average speed of 56.62 knots (104.8 kph).

The record was officially confirmed by the World Sailing Speed Record Council on Thursday.

"This record was something else," the ecstatic 34-year-old told CNN earlier in November. "It was fantastic."

Facing fierce winds and unrelenting waves, Caizergues beat the previous record set by American Rob Douglas by 0.97 knots -- an effort achieved in a sport where danger is always lurking.

Kitesurfer overcomes near-death moments
The Kite Runner
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
>
>>
The Kite Runner The Kite Runner
Riding monster waves

"It's an action sport, so of course, it can be dangerous," said Caizergues, who celebrated his achievement with a glass of champagne..

"It's as dangerous as any other sport like cycling and you have to be careful not to make any mistakes because it can end with bad injuries.

"I've been lucky and only had one bad injury, which came in competition last season."

Ask Caizergues about his latest achievement and he gives a Gallic shrug and a small laugh, but this is no minor achievement for the Provencal-born star who has hunted down record after record.

In 2010 he became the first man to break through the 100km/hr barrier -- an achievement which earned him no shortage of recognition.

His latest triumph came in the salt marshes of Salin-de-Giraud where he was carried along by the Mistral -- a fierce cold wind which blows toward the Mediterranean Sea from the uplands in southern France.

The wind speed can often reach up to 130km - making it the ideal place for breaking records.

"It is a very strong and powerful wind," added the Frenchman.

"It blows really hard. We had speeds of 55 knots sometimes. The wind can be really wild and you have to be careful.

"We've had days when its almost 60 knots and that can be too much."

After taking up the sport 12 years ago, Caizergues has excelled by winning three world titles and two national championships and he now plans to break more records.

But before that, he plans a celebration -- or two -- with that champagne.

"The team have worked with me throughout this record and they deserve to celebrate," he added.

"Everyone has worked so hard to make this happen and I want to enjoy it with them."

Read: The girl who fought back from the brink

Read: The biggest wave ever surfed?

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
MainSail
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 1136 GMT (1936 HKT)
Over 300 miles from the nearest ocean, competitors in one of the world's fastest sailing races prepare for battle.
August 11, 2014 -- Updated 1544 GMT (2344 HKT)
London's new superyacht hotel is so enormous, authorities had to lower the water level by five meters just to fit it under a bridge.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1155 GMT (1955 HKT)
His mast-walking stunts have attracted over 3.5 million hits on YouTube, but Alex Thomson just wants to get back to doing what he does best.
July 28, 2014 -- Updated 1432 GMT (2232 HKT)
Elizabeth Meyer talks to CNN's Mainsail about the "Armageddon battle" to restore the pioneering J-class boat Endeavour.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1150 GMT (1950 HKT)
Ship captains of the future won't be salty sea dogs with their hand at the helm, and the ocean at their feet.
July 10, 2014 -- Updated 1348 GMT (2148 HKT)
Like "Downton Abbey," Henley's Royal Regatta reminds its visitors of an England of old. But for how much longer?
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1156 GMT (1956 HKT)
VO65 'Dongfeng' Training in Hong Kong
Nine months at sea, one change of clothes, freeze-dried food and a strange language. Could you cope?
June 11, 2014 -- Updated 1317 GMT (2117 HKT)
Can a $134 million budget and the royal seal of approval bring the coveted America's Cup back to British shores for the first time in sailing history?
June 3, 2014 -- Updated 1554 GMT (2354 HKT)
Bored of lounging on your superyacht in the Mediterranean? An increasing number of millionaires are now sailing their luxury vessels to the ends of the Earth, to get their kicks.
May 22, 2014 -- Updated 1613 GMT (0013 HKT)
He's one of the great landscape artists, but JMW Turner also had a watery passion -- and his maritime travels are being retraced.
May 20, 2014 -- Updated 1022 GMT (1822 HKT)
How do you get a foot on the property ladder, when you live in one of the most expensive cities in the world? The answer may lie in the water...
May 6, 2014 -- Updated 1142 GMT (1942 HKT)
Quadriplegic yachtswoman Hilary Lister was saved from suicide through the sport of sailing. Now she is plotting a voyage across the Atlantic.
ADVERTISEMENT