news_robdouglas.jpgFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 22, 2008

Location: Fuerteventura Kitespeed Grand Slam 2008, Canary Islands, Spain

The name of the game is outright speed and Fuerteventura is a windy unforgiving place. The shoreline looks like a moonscape of dried wind blown rocks and sand leading into the Atlantic. The strong offshore winds are like clock work in Fuerteventura during the summer months with daily averages between 20 and 40 knots. Rough choppy waters, gusty winds, and sometimes waist high waves work against any speed junkie from attaining top speeds in Fuerteventura. The location is widely known to be one of, if the not the most difficult stop on the speed tour.  Welcome to the Fuerteventura Kitespeed Grand Slam 2008. Rob Douglas, CEO of Black Dog, recently started Speed Kiting after realizing his own potential versus his sponsored team riders. On a recent Black Dog apparel photo shoot to Costa Rica (also known for it's high winds), "Big Dog" punished Cabrinha and Black Dog sponsored team riders Damien Leroy (2008 US Kite Racing National Champion) and Mike "Gebi" Gebhardt (two-time Olympic medalist) in non-official speed races. Leroy was so impressed that he urged Douglas to get involved in Kite Speed and at least train to see whether he might have what it takes to be a player at a major competition. 

Fast forward four months. Gone are the days of practicing on stock production twin tips, eating pizza and burgers, leisure freeride kiting and enjoying the occasional home brew. Douglas has been entrenched in preparations with Gebhardt, who's training resume includes the 2004 Olympic Gold medalist in Windsurfing. Gebhardt is well known for his winning mix of diet, training, and mental health that's proven to elevate good athletes to greatness. Rob obtained four custom speed boards from John Amundson, and a full size run of Cabrinha's brand new nitrous oxide powered Crossbow IDS kites. With only one week of testing on the new equipment under his belt, Douglas, with Gebhardt on his heels, were off to Fuerteventura to make history.

In the days leading up to the event, Douglas consistently turned in the fastest GPS times on the unofficial Fuerte course, 42.9 knots average, besting even current and former 500m wind speed record holders Antoine Albeau and Finian Maynard. Douglas began to gain confidence as he saw that he was one of the few riders that could perform on the course over and over again - a testament to his natural knack for speed, his fitness and his mental focus. According to Gebhardt, Rob practiced daily on the course for the entire lead-up week, something few, if any other competitors did. The Speed Kiting community was shocked to see the American holding on to a 3rd place position after the first two days of the competition. On the third day and the second heat, Douglas unleashed his mojo on the choppy, gusty, wave ridden course and crossed the line with a 39.05 knot average over the 500m course.  The judges quickly announced the new USA Kite Speed record (to be ratified by WSSRC).  Robbie Naish, the waterman legend, has held the USA Kite Speed record since 2003.  His 38.47 knot average over a 500m course was set in Arinaga, another location in the windy Canary Islands.  Congratulations to Rob Douglas - now the fastest American on kites!!  His sponsors include Black Dog, Cabrinha, and Amundson. For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .