Lakeland family plans epic kiteboarding trip for charity - WFLA News Channel 8

Lakeland family plans epic kiteboarding trip for charity

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A Lakeland family is turning their love of extreme water sports into an opportunity to raise thousands of dollars for charity. They plan to kiteboard more than 50 miles from Miami to the Keys.


"We are ultimately raising $50,000 through this process to build the first facility and orphanage in Tanzania Africa that will house 12 children some of which are currently homeless and parentless," explained Mark Russell, the kiteboarding patriarch of the family. 

Their website spells out the specifics. The Russell boys, dad Mark, 17-year-old Chase, 14-year-old Holt and 12-year-old Trey will soar and sail a total of 68 miles around the southern tip of Florida in order to help kids half a world away.

"We really equate this to like the marathon of kiteboarding," Mark Russell said.

The distance is a haul for even seasoned kiteboarders, and the Russells are waiting for the perfect weather window to complete their trip. They hope that will happen this weekend. 

In the meantime, they all laugh that mom Tracey initially hoped for something a little less extreme.

"I mean my mom kind of wanted to do something more lower key like maybe a walk-a-thon. I think she mentioned it a couple of times," Chase Russell said.

Tracey Russell says she's warmed up to the idea now. "I initially went into this thinking why can't we raise money like every body else, but I married a very passionate man. He is an extreme sportsman and extremely generous, and the combination of those two things ended up with the FreeRide fundraiser," she said.

The Russells won't make their trip alone. They expect as many as 15 professional kiteboarders to join their trip once Mother Nature gives the green light.

Stay with WFLA.com for more updates.

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