During the summer of 2013, adventurers Seth Warren and Kirk Hollis embarked on a 500-mile, unsupported journey up the east coast of Africa. The duo traveled by stand-up paddleboards and kite surfed from Pemba, Mozambique to Zanzibar in Tanzania, hopping between more than 50 island along the way. Their six week journey is now the subject of an online film series brought to you by EpicTV.
The KUZI Project was a 500-mile, self-supported stand-up paddle boarding and kite boarding journey up the coast of East Africa named after ancient trade winds. Photographer-filmmaker Seth Warren and his good friend South African adventurer Kirk Hollis – the same guy that previously kiteboarded 3,500km from South Africa to Kenya – traveled a stretch of the Indian Ocean coastline—from Pemba, Mozambique to Zanzibar, Tanzania—that is world renowned for its wildlife, marine life, and ancient historical significance.
They hit, among many others, the Quirimbas Archipelago—a string of 31 islands extending northward— that were once part of the trade routes for the Arabs and Portuguese for centuries, but have been largely uninhabited in recent history.
Seth and Kirk named their expedition after the Kuzi tradewind—a summertime force that pushes wind and swell from the Indian Ocean northward. The team will stand-up paddle (SUP) and kite board the entire stretch of coastline, exploring the islands and remote, pristine coastal areas.
Kirk was the mastermind behind this whole project. In 2010, he kiteboarded 3,500 kilometers from South Africa to Kenya over the course of eight months with just a small backpack of his belongings. As this is his second project in the region, he dreamed this up as the ultimate adventure during the best winds in the most beautiful part of the East African coastline.
As a character, Kirk is an African legend. Charming, good-looking, and a classic South African accent. There’s a group of people that built their lives around the White Nile in Uganda, and Kirk spent much of his life in this environment of ‘endless summer’ working as a river guide. Since the Nile was dammed last year, he moved to Zanzibar and is currently working at a dive shop. He is a perpetual entertainer, a great athlete, and he likes to have a really good time. Most of all he loves his adventures.
And with his Kuzi project he has accomplished a kickass mission once again!
The project did not end completely according to plan as a nasty poisonous spider bite tunred into a full-blown medical emergency and essential evacuation from Matemo island. This abrupt end to a trip of a lifetime comes to a wise conclusion in the boys’ own words: “Sometimes the best adventures don’t always turn out as expected, but that just makes planning for the next one that much more fun”
Have a look at their awesome webcasts about the trip below. 5 kickass episodes definitely worth your time (below photo)
Episode 1: What could go wrong? Hair-Fire, Knee Surgery and Drunk SUP Promises
Gear was loaded. Boards were shipped. Plane tickets purchased. But what happens when you’re faced with the adventure of a lifetime, and something doesn’t feel quite right? With their chips all in, adventurers Seth Warren & Kirk Hollis reunite in Mozambique for an experience that’s been months in the planning: a self-supported 500-mile SUP and Kiteboarding Mission off Africa’s coast.
Episode 2: SUP & Kiteboard Adventure – Going, Going, WRONG
Africa is one of the harshest continents in the world, where even the best laid plans are crushed by nature’s will. Adventurers Seth Warren and Kirk Hollis find this out firsthand when they start their kitesurfing and SUP journey from Mozambique with a kite surfing session and test their fully-loaded paddle boards for the first time. Still, tide patterns, unruly wind and unknown coastlines have thrown a massive wrench in the works which may change the whole game plan for these two SUP-ers. Will their video adventure be compromised by these unknowns? Find out next time!
Episode 3: Getting Past Deadly Punta Diablo, African Adventure Underway
Among the ENDLESS unknowns on this adventure, the ocean is the greatest threat. The Punta Diablo is a potentially dangerous threat that could seriously derail their progress on kiteboards and SUP… Luckily the team successfully make it past the deadly Punta Diablo straight, and they reach their island-hopping kitesurfing destination of the Quirimbas Archipleago in Mozambique. They find, to their delight, dozens of islands with pure kiteboarding and surfing potential. The adventure is finally underway! But where’s the wind?
Episode 4: Stand Up Paddlers Get Lost in African Mangroves
Every corner looked the same, every tree WAS the same. These guys had popped into an inlet or two and BAM, Lostville. Would they find their way out?? As the team continued North, they were getting a nice taste of adventure and vastly different cultures, they were finally getting in the groove. But then, when a wrong turn in a labyrinth of tangled mangroves dished up an un-planned night out in the wild, they were really starting to question their navigational decisions…
Episode 5:Poisonous African Spider Bite Sabotages SUP/Kitesurfing Adventure
What seemed like a harmless enough spider bite on his knee turned into a full-blown medical emergency and essential repatriation for treatment – and the premature end to the trip of a lifetime. Kirk Hollis and Seth Warren were still able to explore a ghost town from the slave trade era, kiteboard remote sandbars of the Indian Ocean, downwind SUP across miles of turquoise ocean all before the emergency evacuation from Matemo Island, Mozambique! Still, the spider bite caused fevers, septicemia and untold pain and took a dozen injections, countless antibiotics, multiple doctors and two months of recovery, but mostly it created an exciting (if painful) ending to an amazing trip. Sometimes the best adventures don’t always turn out as expected, but that just makes planning for the next one that much more fun.