“Hey Lasse, would you like to join us on a private cruise on the Red Sea in Egypt? We’’ll be staying on a brand new super yacht with friends and VIPs, visiting the best kite spots you could dream of on a kite safari.” Scoring invites such as is this particular one from Heli travel agency is how some pro riders roll. Obviously Lasse was in!
WORDS: Lasse Walker PHOTOS: Andy Culp / Heli
EGYPT KITE SURFARI
I arrived at Hurghada airport on Egypt’s Red Sea coast straight from the Cold Hawaii event in Denmark in September. Quite the temperature shock, it was thankfully just a 15 minute drive to the harbour where we would leave at dawn on our home for the next week, the Golden Dolphin IV. A brand new 50 metre long luxury yacht, complete with cinema, multiple sundecks, 14 air conditioned rooms, DJ booth, dining areas, scuba gear, two zodiacs... and so on. Not to forget a group of 28 good friends. Travelling to Hurghada was super easy as there are once again many direct flights and countless connecting options via Istanbul or Cairo. Entry is easy with a vaccination certificate. Walking up to the top deck on the first morning, grabbing a coffee, feeling the wind and looking towards a small, deserted sand island with butter flat water and 25+ knots in the middle of the ocean, I’d woken up in paradise. I was getting anxious to go out, but first, breakfast. I headed downstairs to the dining room where we’d enjoy three epic meals a day.
Our guide, Jonathan, discussed the plan, which included the instructions: - Don’t stress - Don’t grab your gear - Don’t land or launch kites - And don’t ever pump or pack your gear. There’s staff for that! Two zodiac boats took kiters from the yacht to the beach every 15 minutes or so. The gear had already been transferred, with some shade, cold drinks and loungers to sit and relax on should you need a break from kiting. The vibe was great and for most of the trip there was barely telephone signal. A slight struggle for me, I’ll admit! But nice to have a break...
THE TRIPS AND STOPS
GEISUM Exiting Hurghada harbour, we cruised towards the first island of the trip, Geisum. The spot is very accessible for beginners with a sandy beach and a big expanse of flat, shallow water. More experienced riders can cruise along the beach for several kilometres, enjoying the buttery flats and super steady wind. There’s so much to explore and see at this world class spot. ASHRAFI ISLANDS We spent two days at the Ashrafi Islands which, for a quick description, are long, thin islands with a huge flat water lagoon in between. Dry sandbanks surrounded by more butter flat water, water colour like nowhere I’ve seen and beautifully consistent wind made this my favourite spot for free riding and cruising around. Situated furthest north of the islands we visited, the wind is usually the strongest here and we had a steady 25-30 knots each day. TAWILA ISLAND The best was saved for last – Tawila Island really is the dream. Perfect freeride conditions with 20 knots of wind with a big area downwind of the sand bank where you can still be in standing depth for about 100 metres away from the island. Alternatively, ride upwind of the sandbank and cruise around the island in about 90 minutes. The choice is yours!