Onboard footage from the kite buggy adventure

This video shows several clips from the Video VBOX mounted on Harry’s buggy, showing our accident with a power line at the end of the video…

The gauge you can see on the video is a graphic overlay, which takes GPS data to show accurate speed. Its embedded on the footage at the same time as the video is recorded. The map and g force (and any other gps info you like) work the same way. You set up a ‘scene’ in the Video VBOX software with the graphics where you want them, place the gps antenna and cameras on the car (or kite buggy in this case) and off you go!

The gear that got us here

The gear that got us here!

I remember pondering (whilst flying along at a VBOX registered 40mph!) how phenomenal the kites and buggies we have been using are.

Hitting a small beach stream at 40mph (screenshot from Video VBOX)

Hitting a small beach stream at 40mph (screenshot from Video VBOX)

You can point the buggies at anything you choose; almost no terrain is impossible. On one day, we kited across four deep rivers. The largest was around 40m wide. We have bounced over sand dunes, pounded across rock hard sand, and broken through hard vegetation. Having the PLK Outlaw buggies has provided us with the confidence that anything terrain is possible.

Navigating through rocks and sea with the outlaw buggy and ozone kite

Navigating through rocks and sea with the outlaw buggy and ozone kite

Not satisfied with the kite surfer versus kite buggy race we would love to have a race with a 4×4 over an off-road course. Having spoken to a local all terrain vehicle driver we think it would be close – especially without luggage and with more skilled pilots than ourselves!

The Ozone kites have also been brilliant. It is amazing that the kites are so easy to control – enabling us to do an expedition of this magnitude with no kiting experience. They have kept us on our toes but still provided stability over difficult terrain and turbulent wind conditions.

So there you go – we picked the correct sponsors! 🙂

Night time buggying in Baleia

Buggying as the sun vanishes in Baleia

Buggying as the sun vanishes in Baleia

Our buggies have rolled over rocks, thick sand, cacti and through rivers and waves. When we reached Andreas Staehelin’s place in Baleia (paradise) we were glad to spend a day cleaning and maintaining the buggies (and ourselves!) ready for the final section of the adventure.

Kite surfer Louis Tapper trying out Charlie's PLK Outlaw buggy

Kite surfer Louis trying out Charlie's PLK Outlaw Buggy

We also spent a day swapping sports with the kite surfers.

Charlie and I spent the morning being dragged around in the atlantic waves under the instruction of kite surfing adventurer Louis Tapper, and in the afternoon  trailered our buggies to huge dunes east of Baleia to show the surfers what buggying was about.

It was an epic session and they were still ripping  around the dunes under the power of our ozone kites until after sunset.

The wind was still strong, so we kited the 5km back to Andreas house by moonlight, almost crashing into sleeping cows and zipping through streams on the beach.

We’re aiming to cover 50km and reach the fishing village of Icaraizinho tomorrow.

To complete our charity challenges there may also be leap frogging and nakedness, although hopefully not at the same time. More details here…

Kite board vs buggy – speed test

Chasing the sunset into Baleia

Chasing the sunset into Baleia

We were having the run of our lives. Cross-on wind, huge beach, consistant 20 knot wind hitting our 7m & 9m Frenzy’s, no-one else in sight.

That was until we rounded a headland, and saw a hundred kites in the sky! Continue reading

Racing the Tide

Enxe Quimado beach

Each day we only have a window of five hours in which to kite along the beaches. Any later than this and the tide is too high to give us the space we need to progress. This has seen us get up at 5.30am most mornings to set up the kites and buggies and leave just as the tide goes down.

On some stretches the combination of wet sand and the wind being behind us means that the buggies are often too fast for the kites, and it is easy to loose power and run over your lines. For these sections we strap the buggies together in tandem. The front person kites and the back person uses a large stick to brake and maintain tension in the lines. It´s not very sophisticated, but it works!

Being in tandem also means it is quicker to set up the kite, solving problems and communicating is easier too. The only problem is that the front person must channel the power to move the buggies and two people (280kg) through their legs. Due to the inertia, starting and stopping is like driving a tanker. Continue reading

Heading off in under three weeks

Both our wallets are now a lot lighter, having now booked the flights from London to Natal complete with excess baggage (thanks to Sophie at STA Travel!). We’re heading out on 25th July.

Insurance is booked, arms are feeling numb from training (and vaccinations!), and a lot of very generous people have already donated to Centrepoint, a charity for homeless young people, on our just giving page here.

Buggies are on their way from New Zealand (thanks to Craig Hansen and Computer Solutions!), kites are en route from Vietnam (thanks Ozone!), buggy bags are currently being stitched in Wales (thanks BuggyBags!), the best tyre sealant available is already here (thanks Ultraseal!), and we are the proud owners of four very fashionable caps to keep the sun off in the day and light our way at night from 2C, makers of the Solar Light Cap.

I guess that all means we better go for it now…

We’re planning the whole route on google earth and we really appreciate all the advice and offers for support we have had so far, without which this trip would be even more of a challenge than it already is.

If you know the area between Natal and Jericoacoara, we’d love to hear any local knowledge you have. Post your email in the comments below!

‘I think you’re nuts, but I don’t see why you can’t do it…’

It was while we were researching this adventure that we noticed ‘Mad Way South’, an expedition even crazier than our own.

In 2009 Mad Way South broke the record for the first wind powered expedition across the Sahara, and the longest distance travelled by kite buggy. Craig Hansen, kite buggy expert in New Zealand and one of the four participants in the sahara expedition, was the best person to talk to. After receiving our email in May 2011 outlining the idea and asking his advice as to whether it was possible, Craig was kind enough to reply. The conversation went a bit like this:

‘Will you be using vehicle support?’

‘No.’

‘Do you know if anyone has kite buggied the Brazilian coastline before?

‘No, I don’t think so.’

‘Have you ever even kite buggied before?

‘Um, no.’

‘Do you speak Portugese?’

‘Afraid not…’

“I think you’re nuts, but I don’t see why you can’t do it…”

Dozens of emails later and Craig had told us about many of the lessons he had learned in the Sahara, and arranged to send two expedition ready Outlaw buggies to the UK from New Zealand. Without Craig’s generous advice and sponsorship, this trip would never be able to go ahead.

Craig also put us in touch with Karen Critchley, a women’s buggy freestyle champion. We travelled down to Wallop, a big land kiting festival in Dorset, UK, to meet Karen who was competing there and talk to other kiters. Everyone was very friendly and seemed happy to talk to us two crazy novices with their idea to kite buggy 1000k in just two months time, and Karen commented that she thought it would be great for the sport.

Once we’d seen the various options available at Wallop, we knew the best kites for us would be depower foils from Ozone. Craig put us in touch with Matt Taggart at Ozone who was immediately enthusiastic about the idea.

Ed Texier from Oceansource, a travel agency specialising in kite and windsurf destinations in remote spots around the world, also got involved. We had previously met Ed when we used Oceansource to go on a windsurfing trip in El Tur, on the Sinai peninsular in Egypt, a few weeks after the Egyptian uprising in earlier this year. While he thought we were mad to be doing this sort of expedition with no prior experience or vehicle support, we were grateful that he still pledged his support! Ed put us in touch with Fabio from Club Ventos, a windsurfing club in Jericoacoara, who kindly offered us windsurf hire once we reached Jeri, provided we still had any energy left!