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The Story Behind the Naked Model Kitesurfing

Beatrice Lessi

When Richard Branson happened to be photographed kitesurfing with a gorgeous, naked girl on his back, the photo went viral and became one of his iconic images. Typical Branson: daring, adventurous, tongue-in-cheeck, and a bit mysterious: how did that happened? And wasn’t his wife upset?

In a recent video for Business Insider, Branson entertains us with the story behind the shot.


Branson is concentrating – the girl is posing for the camera. Photo: stern.de

I was kitesurfing and there was this quite delightful South African young girl with a photographer boyfriend on the island who wanted to take a particular picture. So he said: “Would you mind putting her on your back and taking her for a kitesurf?” I said I’d be delighted to!


Richard Branson with his family – you can take naked girls for a piggyback, when you have a good family around you! Photo: virgin.com

And then he said…would you mind if she didn’t wear any clothes?
And I said…oh well I’m an English knight and there’s a lady in distress…I’ll be very happy to do that!
So we we went kiting, and it did become one of those classic pictures that went off all around the world, and …we all had a good laugh, and I remember as we all came in, catching my wife’s eyes…she was standing on the beach, ops!


Model Denni Parkinson – the girl on Branson’s back. Photo: http://quitclaim1.rssing.com/