Lonely Planet Writer

Aussie kitesurfing champion releases Great Barrier Reef adventure video

One of the Sunshine Coast’s resident kitesurfing champions, Ben Wilson, has released a new video of his first kitesurfing adventure on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The documentary-style film, which you can see on YouTube, shows secret surf breaks that only locals know about.

Kitesurfing the Great Barrier Reef was a long-time dream for Ben who is well-accustomed to reef-pass breaks, holding the world record for kitesurfing the largest wave ever captured on film, Cloudbreak at 35-foot in Fiji.

When wind, swell and tides aligned earlier this year, Queenslander Ben and photographers Stu Gibson and Tom Rawlins raced 500km north of the capital city Brisbane to chase the waves off the coast of Gladstone. “The feeling of kitesurfing the Great Barrier Reef for the first time was just incredible,” he said. “It’s everything you imagine it to be – blue water, schools of fish, nobody around and all lined with colourful coral.”

Gold coast kite surfer, Ben Wilson
Kitesurf champion Ben Wilson. Photo courtesy of Chelsea Hauschka

Ben had heard rumours of remote waves that break off the reef under certain conditions; their exact location remaining a tight-lipped local secret. It took Ben fifteen trips over two years, and dozens of conversations with locals, to plan the making of his documentary. “The preparation that went into it was intense. The rest was completely up to Mother Nature,” he explains.

Ben Wilson riding the waves
Kitesurfer Ben Wilson in action. Photo courtesy of Chelsea Hauschka

As well as kitesurfing the group went snorkelling with turtles, caught fresh trout for dinner and watched dolphins frolicking. Another Queensland resident, Earth Hour founder Andy Ridley has spearheaded a new social movement called Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef. He’s on a mission is to engage the worldwide community to take positive action for sake of the future of the Reef – and the planet. A healthy planet means a healthy Reef, it’s like the litmus test for global warming. Read here to find more about how you can join the efforts citizensgbr.org