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UK's Olly Bridge wins his third Red Bull Lighthouse to Leighton Kiteboard Race

by Janine Pittaway 8 Dec 2019 04:55 PST 7 December 2019
2019 Red Bull Lighthouse to Leighton Kiteboard Race © Peta North Aerial Photography

Olly Bridge has taken out his third Red Bull Lighthouse to Leighton title, crossing the Indian Ocean from Rottnest Island to Leighton Beach in Fremantle in 21 minutes and eight seconds in the race's 10th year.

The three-time Men's European Champion and seven-time Under 21 World Champion won the race in 2014 and 2017 and has won the title back from his brother Guy Bridge who continues to hold the race record of 18 minutes, 49 seconds for the 19km crossing.

The slower speed of the crossing in today's race was reflected in the high winds of over 20 knots, making the ocean notably choppy for the 138 starters.

Olly, aged 22, said it was one of the toughest Red Bull Lighthouse to Leighton races he's competed in.

"It was the most amount of seaweed I've ever seen in the channel so it was about just jumping, getting seaweed off, but trying to go fast at the same time and not crash and it was nice and windy at least. Yeah, a good race," he said.

21-year-old Jean de Falbaire from Mauritius came in 2nd fastest at 23:11 and the fastest West Australian competitor was Lincoln Sullivan in a time of 23:22.

For Lincoln it was his sixth and most successful attempt.

"It was a beautiful day! The conditions were right for the equipment I was using and, yeah, no complaints.

"I had a custom-made slalom board and an inflatable kite. So, yeah, it was a bit different to the guys on the foils, today it was the right gear for the job.

"I knew that one day it was going to work out, and it turns out today's the day," Lincoln said.

Queensland's Breiana Whitehead, a regular placegetter in World Championship kiting events, took the trophy for the fastest woman, crossing the line at Leighton Beach in North Fremantle at 28 minutes 7 seconds. It was the 19-year-old's first attempt at the Red Bull Lighthouse to Leighton race and she did it with a sore ankle.

"I hurt my ankle about a week ago so it's a bit unstable but luckily I still managed to do the race. I'm pretty happy that I was out there, it was heaps of fun."

She said it was a different race to what she is used to.

"It's just completely different. Just doing one straight reach, I've never done that before as a race and it's really cool just to try something new.

Current GKA Kitesurf World Tour World Champion Airton Cozzolino-Lopes, 25, from the northern African island of Cape Verde raced his first Red Bull Lighthouse to Leighton today.

"The race was pretty fun," he said. "It was my first time of doing it. It was a bit of a mission, was a bit tricky but it was fun. It was a lot of people and my first race like it."

First, second and third place getters in each category shared a total A$7000 in prizemoney, plus a GoPro Hero7 Black for the winners.

The race was originally scheduled for Saturday but organisers moved it to Sunday for improved weather conditions.

The Red Bull Lighthouse to Leighton is made possible thanks to Red Bull, Mrs Macs Pies, GoPro and Action Sports WA. Generous community support is provided from Rottnest Island Authority, Fremantle Sailing Club, Kiteboarding Western Australia, Rottnest Express, Fremantle Ports and Royal Life Saving Society.

Find full results here

Men's overall and Men's Foil

1 Olly Bridge (Devon, UK) 21:08
2 Jean De Falbaire (Mauritius) 23:11
3 Lincoln Sullivan (Bicton, WA) 23:22

Men's Twin Tip

1 Daniel Anderson (Coolbellup, WA) 25:33
2 Charlie Wise (Cottesloe, WA) 26:43
3 Jason Lewis (Safety Bay) 27:25

Women's Foil

1 Breiana Whitehead (Townsville Qld) 28:07
2 Natalie Broughton (Palmyra, WA) 40:25
3 Claire May (Trigg, WA) 40:28

Women's Twin Tip

1 Rachael Hughes (Shoalwater, WA) 32:09
2 Rebecca Bury (North Fremantle WA) 35:04
3 Megan Barnett (Devon, UK) 35:22

To find out more, visit lighthouse2leighton.com.au or the event's Facebook page.

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