Egypt, Ras Sudr, south Sinai-14TH – 16TH JUNE 2012
by Morgan Fahey
This year has to be the most exciting year Egypt has given us. The political situation is making history. From protesters in Tahrir Square, Cairo, to Bedouin tribes in the sinai, blocking the roads and kidnapping tourists (all whom have been returned unharmed to fully enjoy their experiences... only in Egypt!) to foreign organizations’ placing restrictions on foreign staff traveling throughout the Sinai. People believe in a better way of life, and want to voice their own free opinions.
The local demand for this years King of the Lagoon was essential to bring a bit of normality to Ras Sudr, the competitors and the public. Even if it was for only for 3 days. I am always up for a challenge and the organization this year was just that. Many times I thought I had bitten off more than I can chew, and there were outside forces working against me.
Two weeks before the event was to take place the acting Egyptian parliamentary power announced the final elections to be held on the same dates as the competition, between two major parties racing to be the first democratically elected president in the middle east. I considered postponing the dates until the following weekend but knew the tides would be all wrong and a had gut feeling that the wind would let us down. After a quick ring around we did a poll of our own, asking guests, neighbors, competitors and good mates’ if we should run the competition on the scheduled weekend. To my surprise 90% of the results supported running the competition on the same dates as the elections. The majority of voters were able to vote the following day. At this crucial time of decision making one of my team members came up to me and said “ Morgs, this is our life…this is what we do”. That there, was the nail in the coffin, the green light to do what we got to do.
THURSDAY 14th June 2012
Typically Thursdays’ of the King of the Lagoon are planned for the sponsors to set up their banners and early competitors to come down register for their events and get a feel for the competition area. Over the past 3 years it’s a quiet day, no one turns up as planned, some would say it’s the calm before the storm. This year was different. All local sponsors turned up in the morning asking for help to put up banners and flags, the first 20 competitors turned up wanting to register into their events and get on the water as soon as humanly possible. The energy around the soul kitesurfing centre was electric. Everyone was moving with purpose and had these great big grins spreading from ear to ear that did not leave their faces all weekend. Registration went right up until 9pm that night, we even had a couple of professional sponsored riders turn up from Safaga, at least 8 hours drive away from Ras Sudr. Respect for that!
FRIDAY 15TH JUNE 2012
7:30am the Soul Kitesurfing Team was on the beach preparing before the 9am briefing.
The caterers from Helly's Kitchen arrived and made themselves at home behind the bar, with the most food we have ever seen… Bring on lunch time! The P.A system had also turned up and our resident MC Giles Wilkinson was making magic happen with a make shift extension cable and a dodgy power point.
8:30am and the first competitors started to appear on the beach claiming a bean bag or two setting themselves up under the shade of umbrellas with the best views.
9:30am running a bit late as the last competitors were registering I started the briefing. I welcomed all competitors to the fourth King of the Lagoon Competition, Hard to believe this was our fourth event. I explained the days format 10am first heats for the Big air will hit the water, 4 competitors each having a judge timing them. Longest time wins.
Lunch will be served from Midday until 5pm .
2pm is low tide thank God it wasn’t too low this week. There was enough water to start the first heats of the freestyle event. 4 person heats lasting 10minutes each, competitors scored on a points system. Top two competitors move into the next round.
6pm will be prize giving.
9pm Taxi van will be leaving for the party at Moonbeach Windsurfing Centre.
Both events Master guru and 20km downwinder will be run on Saturday.
10am: 18knots of wind kicked in and the first groups of competitors hit the water. The lagoon was pushing up to high tide and was creating some small chop that allowed competitors to get extra height on their jumps. Jumps were only recorded if competitors completed their jumps within the competition area and rode away. For the next 2 hours Competitors were seen flying high, and some crashing hard. The crowds on the beach started to gather in numbers.
2pm: The tide was at it’s lowest and the judges Aldo da silva and Jacques Van Schalkwyk decided to postpone the start of the Freestyle event till 3pm.
By 3pm the first heat was on the water and competitors were not holding back. Big grabs, front and back roations, kiteloops were seen from the judging tent. The second heat was even more explosive, lots of unhooked tricks, bar passes and kiteloops. By the end of round one it was clear that all competitors had pushed the level of riding from last years event. The start of the semi finals saw spectators crowding around the sand bars up wind of the competition area with a new respectful riders point of view. As the end of the second semi final came to completion so did the wind. Judges made the call to delay the final by 30minutes to see what the wind would do. Finally there was a spell of consistent wind that looked like it was going to hang around long enough, so the competitors got out there and fought it out. The final was a great show and congratulations to the competitors they worked hard for their results.
The results were:
Big Air Winner: Omar Fata: 5.28secs
1ST PLACE: Sjoukje
2ND PLACE: Nina
1ST PLACE: Vincenzo
2nd PLACE: Sherif Soliman
3rd PLACE: Mathieu
After Prize giving and a quick feed, most competitors were seen rocking out to the live band that was playing down at Moonbeach windsurf centre. Truly a great night of music the band had the beach pumping.
SATURDAY 16TH June 2012
After a sneaky few hours of sleep, I was back at the Soul Kitesurfing Centre. Briefing was held at 9am. The Master Guru event was to take place at 10am, followed by the downwinder from Fun kite surfing Centre. Taxis were to pick competitors up from the centre at 1pm, the event was scheduled to start at 2pm on the beach at Fun Kite.
The wind was great for the master guru event. This event is designed for all levels of riders. The challenge is to push your own riding. A competitor names a trick they have been trying but not yet can perform and goes out in a competition setting for 15minutes and solely performs the trick. If the competitor performs the trick they get crowned as a master guru.
1pm: A single taxi Van arrives to take competitors up to the start line of the down winder. I had planned and booked two but those forces working against me were in full force and so was my hangover.
The boys from red bull put there hands up and offered to carry all the equipment and anyone who didn’t mind open transportation to jump on the back of their truck .
Problem solved and away we went. Traveling in the back of a truck at 90km per hour surrounded by a handful of friendly faces and a stack load of kitesurfing equipment made me smile the true spirit of why I kitesurf was showing and it was a great moment I will never forget in my life.
Unfortunately by the time we got to fun kite set up all our kites the wind had dropped and we had to cancel the event. Our taxi van had left so we all traveled back in the pick up back to soul kitesurfing centre.
Once back lunch and prize giving were to follow congratulations to the following
Amir Allam TBC
Thanks heaps to all the local and international sponsors without your help this event would not of happened. Until next year see you on the water soon.