GALE-force conditions could not scupper one East Preston ten-year-old’s hopes of achieving a Guinness World Record over the weekend.
Talented Tom Seager, of Willowhayne Avenue, completed a gruelling 50-mile kitesurfing course, from Hayling Island to Lancing, with his parents Anna and Mark, on Sunday (September 15).
Tom was the youngest of 318 competitors to take part in the Big Charity Downwinder event – which included the likes of Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson and four-time British kitesurfing champion, Lewis Crathern.
Speaking after the challenge, Tom, a pupil at Windlesham House School, in Washington, said: “My legs are pretty sore.
“It feels really good to have completed it. But I don’t think I will be doing anything like this again.”
Tom had been training throughout the summer holidays in preparation for the event.
Only 72 people – including Tom and his parents – completed the entire length of the punishing route, with wind speeds peaking at 45 knots, about 52mph.
Mum Anna, aged 45, said: “It was absolute carnage out there.
“The wind speed, once we hit Littlehampton, was incredible. The organisers had already pulled some people from the event. We’re amazed that Tom managed to complete the entire course.
“At Littlehampton, we were told to pull out of the event. But Tom is a very determined little boy and knew he could make it. It’s a stretch of water he is very familiar with.”
The family had already stopped in Pagham to change kites, due to the rising wind.
Anna added: “Tom was basically surfing using a handkerchief. He has never been in winds this strong before. He amazed everyone at the finishing line.”
The event was supporting the RNLI, Snow-Camp and Virgin Unite. Tom and his family raised almost £1,200.
The record was for the largest number of kitesurfers on a downwind course, in a single session.