Billionaire adrenaline junkie Sir Richard Branson became the oldest person to kite surf the English Channel, despite failing his first attempt because his kite was too small.
Branson crossed from Dymchurch, Kent, to Wimereux in northern France in three hours, and45 minutes to set a new Guinness World Record at the weekend.
He failed however to become the fastest person of any age to kite surf the channel - that record still belongs to Branson's son Sam who set it just the day before.
Branson succeeded in his mission on Sunday after abandoning Saturday's attempt at halfway when he realised his kite was too small.
"All was going fine until we reached half way across and could clearly see the white cliffs of Dover," the Virgin entrepreneur, who had tried to set the same records two years ago, wrote on his blog.
"The chase boat then told me that I needed to go more up wind or I would collide with the white cliffs, sadly my kite wasn't big enough, so I realised I needed to head back to France to get a larger kite."
At the end, he said it was great to be standing on French soil "and not be surrounded by French police", after the French authorities expressed their disapproval at the bid.
Other members of the Branson family also set the record for the fastest group to kite surf the channel.
"It's wonderful for the family to have set three world records in two days. I have even more respect for Sam's world record having taken so long myself to get across.
"The trip was far more challenging than I thought, with 40 mph winds in the middle of the Channel and major waves.
"I have to admit there were moments when I was tempted to abandon it. The wind direction was the opposite of what had been forecast.
"I expected to scream across but was greeted with a long, downstream kite that took considerably longer."
Branson's first tried to kite-surf across the Channel almost two years ago in August 2010.
He was thwarted by strong winds and a choppy sea but the next day the winds were too weak to make it across.
In 1987 he and Swedish aeronaut Per Lindstrand became the first people to cross the Atlantic by hot air balloon, while in 1991, he was in the first balloon to cross the Pacific from Japan to Arctic Canada.
Between 1995 and 1998 he, Lindstrand and US adventurer Steve Fossett tried to travel nonstop around the world by balloon.
- © Fairfax NZ News