In a first-of-its-kind stunt, British sailor and kiteboarder Alex Thomson chased down a fast-moving Hugo Boss racing yacht, attached himself to a rope connected to the top of the 94-foot mast and sailed nearly 300 feet into the air before detaching from the rope, gliding back down to the water and kiting safely away.
Thomson choose Slingshot gear for the recent stunt- called the Skywalk- which he performed with the help of a large support team and sponsors HUGO BOSS and Mercedes-Benz. The 41-year-old, who sails professionally and uses kiteboarding as a part of his training, has been a longtime Slingshot rider and supporter. When he approached Slingshot about the stunt, the decision was simple.
“It was an exciting proposition to say the least,” said Greg Kish, Slingshot sales and marketing manager. “Alex Thomson is a huge name in the sailing world and we were thrilled to be a part of his latest stunt. Slingshot has a reputation in kiteboarding for building the high performance gear on the market. We were honored that Alex chose Slingshot as the brand to trust his life with.”
Thomson used Slingshot’s 2016 RPM , Compstick Guardian bar and Misfit board for the stunt. The gear was stock construction and custom HUGO BOSS graphics.
“Slingshot kites define quality. They are built with reinforced Surf-Tough construction and our bars employ the strongest flying lines in the business, which I’m sure gave Alex an added level of confidence while he was hanging out 300 feet in the air,” said Kish, who noted Slingshot uses 800-pound-test flying lines while the industry standard is 500-pound-test.
“I have had the concept of the Skywalk in the back of my mind for a long time,” Thomson said. “Sailing is my full time career, kitesurfing is my hobby. Kiting is what I love to do in my free time and being able to combine both to create the next stunt was perfect.”
Thomson had a large support team and film crew on hand for the stunt; he even had the oversight of professional kiteboarder Susi Mai, who was on hand to watch and offer her advice.
“The crazy thing about the stunt was that Alex didn’t just do it once; he had to go up and do it over and over,” Mai said. “So the moment of relief when we would see him touch down on the water was short lived as he would go up and do it all over again straight away.”
Thomson will compete in the pinnacle event of the Ocean Masters race calendar, the Vendée Globe, later this year. The non-stop, solo, unassisted, around the world race takes approximately 80 days to complete. In 2013 he finished in third place; this time around he is determined to be the first Brit to win the prestigious title.
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