Mike and his giant kite

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Queenstowner Mike Holland thanks his giant kite for helping him win a tribute race last weekend. 

Holland, joining other windsurfers and kiteboarders (above) on Lake Wakatipu, completed the 10km Big 
Queenstown Downwinder course with his 17sqm kite and custom-made board in just 15 minutes. 

“A 17m kite isn’t normally flown in 17 knots of wind like we had but for the downwind run it was really amazing,” Holland says. 

“I usually use a 9m kite in those conditions. I had a guy holding me down on the beach at the start so I didn’t fly away.” 

The second annual event – a race from Glenorchy to Pigeon Island – attracted 39 South Island windsurfers and kiteboarders. It’s a tribute to well-known, experienced windsurfer Jude Green. She died in a freak windsurfing accident on Lake Wakatipu in February 2008. 

“It’s always a special tribute to Jude whenever we have an event up there. There’s always a moment when we’re thinking about her and how much fun she would’ve had,” Holland says. 

“She was right into that stuff.”