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Kite the Strait-Westpac Rescue Helicopter

Kiteboarders Louis Tapper and Alistair Quinn are making the first ever bid to cross the notoriously treacherous Cook Strait by kite, and raise money for the Wellington-based Westpac Rescue Helicopter while they're doing it. Chopper rescue services can mean the difference between life and death for thousands of New Zealanders every year. And you can't get more deserving than that.

Donate now at: http://www.fundraiseonline.co.nz/kitethestrait/

Louis Tapper and Alistair Quinn, who have spent more than six months pouring over maps and weather charts, waiting for the perfect conditions to be the first kite surfers to cross Cook Strait. They think the time might be right today (Monday 8th December).

The pair, who will raise money and the profile of the Wellington-based Westpac rescue helicopter, think it will take between two to five hours to travel the 26 kilometres from North of Makara to Arapawa Island and have chosen today because of the northerly winds.

“It’s got to be just perfect – we need steady wind, not too strong and not too light. It’s also got to be particular direction, and is not the prevailing wind in this region,” says Louis. “So we’ve had to be very patient, as well as very well-prepared. The real challenge in coping with the large wind variation that occurs across either side of the strait”

There have been several failed attempts in the past few years, Louis says, but he thinks his chosen wind direction and patience will make their attempt a successful one.

Louis, an IT Security Consultant for Westpac Bank, has put his professional risk assessment skills to the test and has “assessed the risks from all angles” as well as many practice runs along the Wellington coastline. He has also consulted with Met Service forecasters, police, local fishermen and the coastguard.

“We’re confident that with the weather playing its part, we will be the first to cross this notorious stretch of water. It’s been our dream since we started kitesurfing and I have used it to motivate myself to get fit over winter. It’s even better that we can also raise awareness of Lifeflight’s Westpac Rescue Helicopter, because we’re really passionate about the great outdoors lifestyle we have in New Zealand. We have a real appreciation of the rescue choppers service and their dependence on people fund raising, so we want to play our part.”

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