Never shy about making a scene, billionaire Richard Branson literally breezed into Squamish on Monday to promote the launch of his Virgin Mobile services in Western Canada, as well as a contest to sponsor a Virgin Mobile X-Treme Team.
Branson kitesurfed into Squamish, accompanied by a crew of three professional kitesurfers including Daphnee Laliberte of Quebec.
"Pushing things to the extreme is a way of life for everyone at the Virgin group of companies we just do things differently than other companies," he said. "Our X-Treme Team rewards athletes who represent what Virgin Mobile is all about: living on the edge, taking risks and competing at the top of their game."
Branson rose to fame with the launch of Virgin Records, which then begat a chain of Virgin record stores, which then begat Virgin Airlines, and, most recently, the Virgin Mobile service in partnership with Bell Mobility.
In recent years he has gained notoriety with several failed attempts at circumnavigating the globe by balloon, for launching a space tourism company alongside X-Prize winner SpaceShipOne, and for his reality TV series The Rebel Billionaire: Bransons Quest for the Best.
A total of four female athletes will be named to the Virgin Mobile X-Treme Team who are competitive in one or more of the following sports: BMX, freeskiing, kiteboarding, mountain biking, motocross, snowboarding, surfing, skateboarding and wakeboarding.
Each successful applicant will receive sponsorship money, a Virgin Mobile phone, a years free service and clothing. The total sponsorship is worth $100,000.
Virgin Mobile also used Bransons publicity stunt to launch a competition offering $10,000 in free airtime to B.C. or Alberta residents by offering the first 100 customers to sign up $100 in free service each.
Athletes can apply online until Sept. 30 at www.virgin.com/mobile/xtreme , and the final team will be announced in November.