It was a cold, windy night on the rugged NSW south coast and Brian Kiss von Soly was wrapped up in a silver emergency blanket like a human burrito.
A kind-hearted camper had given him the blanket to keep warm – perhaps recognising that the Ocean Shores resident was a long way from home.
‘Things were getting pretty chilly by the end,’ the local adventurer and beer brewer says.
‘Some of the spots were pretty rugged and remote.’
It was one of many small and not-so-small acts of kindness that helped Kiss von Soly achieve a remarkable feat: setting a new world record for the longest ever kite surfing journey.
In an epic three-month adventure, the 35-year-old kite-surfed from New Brighton to Melbourne.
The incredible solo mission covered more than 2,000kms, smashing the previous record of 862kms and setting a new mark that could well remain in the books for decades to come.
Kiss von Soly arrived back in the Shire last week and is now awaiting official confirmation of his world record attempt from Guinness.
‘I just wanted a bit of adventure…’ Kiss von Soly says in typically understated style.
‘I wanted to see my parents and I thought I’d have a go at going down the coast….’
‘It feels pretty good now that I look back at it… it was a pretty epic adventure… your body adapts – camping, sleeping in the bush, kite surfing for hours each day…’
One of the most memorable aspects of the adventure, Kiss von Soly says, was the people he met along the way.
‘There were a few places where it was pretty remote, particularly toward the end, but someone would just walk up to me when I was on the shore and they’d offer me a bed and a place to stay.’
‘One guy who I met actually took time off work and said “I’ll be your support vehicle till you get to the next point” – that was pretty amazing.’
‘I’d say 50 per cent of the time people I met along the way would offer to take me in…’
As well as receiving the kindness of strangers, Kiss von Soly received a dose of good fortune from the weather.
After a painfully slow start to the journey that saw him crawl down the NSW coast, he got an incredible run of easterly winds for the final leg.
‘It was the tail end of a storm in Sydney and there were just these freakish easterlies – like on in 20-year winds,’ he says.
‘It took me two months to get to Eden, and then five days from there to get to Melbourne.’
With the journey now complete, Kiss von Soly is planning for his big next life mission – The Spangled Drongo.
No, it’s not a bird watching adventure. Or a comedy series.
It’s a new, environmentally focused brewery that Kiss von Soly plans to set up in the Northern Rivers.
‘The idea is that a certain amount from every can or bottle sold goes to helping save the rainforest,’ he says.
‘It was something that was ticking away in my mind during the adventure – just the idea of doing something for the planet rather than helping rich people get richer.’
‘The Spangled Drongo is the only drongo bird in Australia. They take on prey twice their size and t from Guiness about he other birds actually nest around for protection.
‘So that’s kind of the idea behind the label, giving people the opportunity to do something as an individual to help the planet.’
The intrepid local explorer is giving himself one year to get the brewery up and running, and, based on his recent efforts, only a fool would suggest he won’t succeed.