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The kite rider: World's fastest wave machine

By James Masters, CNN
updated 6:18 AM EST, Thu November 28, 2013
Alex Caizergues broke the World Sailing Speed Kitesurfing record over 500 meters, reaching an average speed of 56.62 knots. Alex Caizergues broke the World Sailing Speed Kitesurfing record over 500 meters, reaching an average speed of 56.62 knots.
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Kite rider
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Winds of change
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Alex Caizergues sets new world speed kitesurfing record
  • Frenchman broke record over 500 meters after averaging 56.62 knots
  • Run aided by the Mistral -- a fierce cold wind which blows down south of France coast
  • Caizergues now looking forward to next run in fierce conditions

(CNN) -- Alex Caizergues toasts danger with a glass of bubbly in one hand and a clenched fist in the other.

The Frenchman has good reason to celebrate after smashing the World Sailing Speed Kitesurfing record over 500 meters, reaching an average speed of 56.62 knots (104.8 kph).

The record was officially confirmed by the World Sailing Speed Record Council on Thursday.

"This record was something else," the ecstatic 34-year-old told CNN earlier in November. "It was fantastic."

Facing fierce winds and unrelenting waves, Caizergues beat the previous record set by American Rob Douglas by 0.97 knots -- an effort achieved in a sport where danger is always lurking.

Kitesurfer overcomes near-death moments
The Kite Runner
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The Kite Runner The Kite Runner
Riding monster waves

"It's an action sport, so of course, it can be dangerous," said Caizergues, who celebrated his achievement with a glass of champagne..

"It's as dangerous as any other sport like cycling and you have to be careful not to make any mistakes because it can end with bad injuries.

"I've been lucky and only had one bad injury, which came in competition last season."

Ask Caizergues about his latest achievement and he gives a Gallic shrug and a small laugh, but this is no minor achievement for the Provencal-born star who has hunted down record after record.

In 2010 he became the first man to break through the 100km/hr barrier -- an achievement which earned him no shortage of recognition.

His latest triumph came in the salt marshes of Salin-de-Giraud where he was carried along by the Mistral -- a fierce cold wind which blows toward the Mediterranean Sea from the uplands in southern France.

The wind speed can often reach up to 130km - making it the ideal place for breaking records.

"It is a very strong and powerful wind," added the Frenchman.

"It blows really hard. We had speeds of 55 knots sometimes. The wind can be really wild and you have to be careful.

"We've had days when its almost 60 knots and that can be too much."

After taking up the sport 12 years ago, Caizergues has excelled by winning three world titles and two national championships and he now plans to break more records.

But before that, he plans a celebration -- or two -- with that champagne.

"The team have worked with me throughout this record and they deserve to celebrate," he added.

"Everyone has worked so hard to make this happen and I want to enjoy it with them."

Read: The girl who fought back from the brink

Read: The biggest wave ever surfed?

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