Francisco Lufinha is being hailed as a hero in Portugal where the former national kitesurfing champion this week broke a Guinness World Record for longest kitesurfing journey without stopping.
Lufinha, 30, traveled continuously for 29 hours while covering 310 nautical miles (356.7 miles) along the coast of Portugal from Porto to Lagos, beginning his journey Tuesday afternoon and completing it on Wednesday night.
The kitesurfer actually broke the previous record 20 hours into his journey called the MINI Kitesurf Odyssey.
But there were some moments of doubt that Lufinha could beat the record of 199.6 nautical miles set by American Phillip McCoy Midler, who traveled from South Padre Island to Matagorda, Texas, on May 10 to May 11, 2010.
"The worst happened along the Cabo Espichel when I was only two miles from breaking the world record," Lufinha told the Record, a Portuguese sports newspaper in Lisbon (translated). "I was running out of wind. I thought I wouldn't make it, but fortunately I started to get a little wind, which was enough to achieve the record."
The wind eventually strengthened and from there it increased "and never stopped."
Lufinha admitted "that period [of no wind] could have thrown it all away," adding that falling asleep on top of the kiteboard was also a concern.
"But the motivation of the team that was on the [support] boat was crucial to maintain hope," he said.
The support team used an inflatable support boat to deliver food and water to Lufinha while he continued kitesurfing, and it helped light the way for him at night with a spotlight, though a full moon also helped (see video at bottom).
Preparing for the world-record attempt involved hours of kitesurfing and spending 24 hours on top of a surfboard in a swimming pool to understand how the body would react to standing for a long period, a test he passed.
It proved beneficial along the coast of Portugal as the kitesurfer realized his dream.
"It was very difficult, but I'm pleased to have been able to achieve this challenge to beat the world record," he told reporters at the marina in Lagos.
Lufinha now awaits world-record confirmation from the Guinness World Records.
Here’s a brief video of Lufinha kitesurfing at night, posted on Facebook by MINI Kitesurf Odyssey: