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Red Bull Skyride day 2

Light winds and minimal swell has put the Red Bull Skyride on hold for today and given the world’s leading kitesurfers a chance to discover New Zealand’s coastline in the way they know best – racing across the ocean behind massively powerful kites.As an alternative to the Freestyle Competition and Hang Time events in the Red Bull Skyride, the 24 selected athletes who’re gathered at Mangawhai Heads, 1.45hrs north of Auckland, begin an 8km fun race race at noon today (december 7) using larger kites to power them in winds of 5-10knots.The race is held on the same protected coastal site as the Red Bull Skyride’s two main events – at an isolated stretch of surf-pounded coastline that cannot be accessed by the public. Since the start of the international contest on December 5, the skies above the sand dunes have been awash with colour as vibrant yellows, pinks and blues of the massive kites fly above the ocean with athletes in tow."The wind conditions are disappointing today, but we’re running using the light winds to our advantage and running an endurance race down the coast," said contest director Luke Wigglesworth. "The great thing about the sport is that you can kitesurf in all kinds of conditions, just by adapting your equipment."Today’s event is just for fun, but it’s still quite a hard-out endurance test of the athletes. They’ll be out there for probably an hour and 20 minutes. That’s a long time to be out there – a real test of fitness," he added. A special guest of the Red Bull Skyride is legendary windsurfer Robby Naish, who flew in today to take part in the action. Hawaii’s Naish won his first of numerous World Championship windsurfing titles at age 13 and has since taken up the exhilaration of kitesurfing with a passion.The Red Bull Skyride is the first international standard competition held in Australia or New Zealand and has NZ$19,6000 in prizemoney up for grabs. Action kicked off on December 6 and ends on Sunday December 7, 2000.Among the competitors is reigning ‘King of the Air’ Marcus "Flash" Austin and World Number 2 Max Bo of Hawaii, along with Australia’s Ben Merkenhoff and top New Zealanders such as Kane Hartill, who is Australasia’s best.ENDS**Professional photographs will be available to press at the end of competition. Please contact the media centre at Mangawhai during competition or Alison Smith on Ph021-50-70-20 or check the Red Bull photo archive site at www.redbull-photofiles.comFor more information on the Red Bull Skyride New Zealand contact:Alison SmithMangawhai Media Centre: Ph64-9-431 5572 Fax64-9-431 5573Ph (mob) Bull New Zealand LtdTanya Suddick – Event organiserGavin Pook – Marketing managerPh64-9-378-4581Fax64-9-378-4501ENDS

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