Alex Thomson has unveiled his latest stunt 'The Skywalk'- kitesurfing more than 280ft in the air over the top of his IMOCA 60 race boat
Scroll down for video
First came the keel walk in 2012, then came the mast walk in 2014, and now, after much preview hype, Alex Thomson’s Skywalk video was released on 15 March. And it was definitely worth the wait. These action packed videos have the aura, excitement of a new Bond film release.
Solo round the world sailor Thomson, 41, has once again combined his daredevil reputation with the marketing leverage of the Hugo Boss brand. And he’s done so with the meeting of his two loves, sailing and kiteboarding.
The SkyWalk video shows Thomson arriving by convertible Mercedes to Alvor, southern Portugal, a kite surfing mecca. He kitesurfs offshore in pursuit of his IMOCA 60 HUGO BOSS. Once he is able to grab the 120m floating towline and attach it to the back of his harness, the boat powers upwind at 12 knots, as he pulls the line tight to start the jump.
Thomson ascends and keeps climbing until he reaches the max height and length of the towline. He releases the line to start a parachute-style 40-second descent to water, controlling the kite despite the bad wind influences of helicopter and yacht.
And he does it all while sporting a slim line stretch-wool Hugo Boss suit, shades and a watch. It really is absurdly cool.
35 people were involved in the planning, co-ordination and execution of the stunt. The Hugo Boss team reports that Thomson had 13 attempts at the stunt over a period of four weeks and landed successfully three times. They say he reached a height of 280ft – whatever it is it is certainly higher than the 95ft mast of the IMOCA 60 and looks jaw-droppingly impressive from the shore and equally frightening from Thomson’s aerial view.
“The idea of combining two of my favourite sports and executing something which, to our knowledge, had never been done before was really exciting,” said Thomson.
If only the Vendee Globe could be won on style, Thomson would have it in the bag already. At least he’s conquered his fear of heights – in the most public way possible.
All photos Mark Lloyd/ Alex Thomson Racing
The SkyWalk in 2016
This behind the scenes footage of how they made SkyWalk is equally gripping:
The Mast Walk in 2014
The Keel Walk in 2012