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! šŸ™‚

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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 Ā 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 Ā 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. ItĀ“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

One day to go…

“This is the stuff we are made of, this is what men do well, what we are equipped to do, what most men alive today never discover, this is what populated every corner of this planet, what began the civilisation that followed.”Ā 

As we assembled everything to check the gear and then packed it down to make sure it fitted in the car before leaving for the airport tomorrow, it was an inspiration to receive an email from Craig Hansen containing the sentence above. Craig and Jenny at PLK buggies in New Zealand are basically the third and fourth members of our team and it was good to get a reminder of why we’re setting off on this crazy adventure in the first place.

Assembling the buggies and packing all the gear made us realise how much planning has gone into this, and how lucky we’ve been to get all the help we’ve had. ContainingĀ all our gear and perfectly fitted, the buggy bags look

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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 (thanksĀ 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!

First kite buggy lesson – with one or two crashes!

Buggy lesson with SB kites in Poole

Buggy lesson with SB kites in Poole

I’m sitting typing this with two ripped holes in my shorts, a graze on my elbow, and a wide grin.

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