Al-Ahram Weekly Online   6 - 12 August 2009
Issue No. 959
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875


By Mohamed El-Hebeishy

DIVING is the main attraction of the Red Sea, but the waters there also offer other aquatic recreation. Mohamed El-Hebeishy probes the latest extreme water sport craze -- kite-surfing.

Add a kite to a windsurfing board, and you have yourself a kite-surf. But this simplistic description omits all the important details and professional techniques needed to be a professional kite-surfer. In fact, a VDWS licence is required to practise kite-surfing, similar to that of PADI when it comes to diving.

The 1990s mark the official birth of kite-surfing in its modern form off the Hawaiian coast of Maui. However, the very first form of kite-surfing dates back seven centuries, when the Chinese used a similar technique as a mode of transportation.

While Hawaii remains the Mecca of kite-surfing, legions of kite-surfers swarm Egyptian waters in search of the perfect lagoon. The perfect lagoon can be best described as a water enclosure which lacks rocks, reefs and sharks, but offers plenty of depth and safety. Knee- or waist-deep water is optimum, so is plenty of wind. Steady wind speed is preferable because if wind conditions deteriorate, this might endanger the kite-surfer; please check the local weather report before you put on your safety strap.

Today, there are kite-surfing schools around the world where you can get a basic training course and a licence as well. In Egypt, there are a few scattered along the kite-surfing hotspots; from Dahab and Ras Sedr to El-Gouna and Hamata.

July and August are not ideal for kite-surfing, courtesy of the low tide. Come September, however, it's time to hit the water with this addictive water activity.

Kite Village is the latest addition to the kite-surfing scene in Egypt; log on to www.kite-village.comwww.kite-village.comor drop them an e-mail at

photo: Mohamed El-Hebeishy

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