Miltary Coup or no Miltary Coup, June 30th was what it was and will of course be remembered as a pivotal moment in Egypt’s history for decades and centuries to come. For Soul Kitesurfing, the momentous protests and events proceeding June 30 left no other option than to postpone the 5th Annual King of the Lagoon event until September. It did however mean that Soul could give new meaning to kiting for the rapidly growing kitesurfing community in Egypt – kiting not fighting. Fueled by the violence and unrest in Egypt, the theme for the 5th Annual King of the Lagoon event was born; Kite Don’t Fight (insert a lot of exclamation marks here).
It was hard not to notice the relief on kitesurfers faces arriving to Soul having escaped the chaos of Cairo to leave their and the country’s worries behind them and smash around in the water practicing for the big event. For the months leading up to the event people wouldn’t just smile and nod as they passed someone in the water, they could be heard happily fist punching the sky shouting KITE DON’T FIGHT, KITE DON’T FIGHT.
With amazing prizes up for grabs the stakes for this year’s event couldn’t have been higher, and the desperation to be crowned the King and Queen of the Lagoon could have been just as strong as the wind that was blowing leading up to the event. Groups of kiters started arriving a couple of weeks before the event, their only goal being to practice, practice, practice (and kite not fight).
As the saying goes ‘many hands make light work’ and with all the extra kiters at the centre, preparations for the event went smoothly. There may have been times when we wanted to, but we weren’t about to complain that there was too much wind to erect our sponsors tents and flags – good wind is a good thing – always.
Finally the waiting was over and practice and preparation day arrived along with an influx of kiters and spectators. With wind reaching up to 25 knots, kiters were given one last chance to perfect their tricks and finalise their routines. With cold beer and vodka punch on offer the bar stayed open as people relaxed, mingled with old and new friends, and prepared themselves for an epic weekend.
The strong wind showed no signs of relenting and so after a safety briefing from Morgan and judge Hatem Mahmoud, the first of the competitions got underway – The La Hacienda Big Air. With strong gusts and a high tide Fady Tawakoi took out King of the Big Air with air time of 6.5 seconds and with her one and only successful jump, Ingie El Mor took out Queen of the Big Air with a time of 3.2 seconds.
After a short lunch break The Tonger Bar Freestyle Competition kicked off with the girls competition. Lina delighted and wowed the crowds with her highly technical unhooked wake-style tricks. With her slick performance she claimed her rightful title as Queen of the Lagoon.
For the mens competition 18 competitors were whittled down to three finalists Sherif Abou Zeid, Hany Soliman and Fady Tawakoi. With the tide going out fast spectators took up positions on the sandbars surrounding the competition area to get as close as they could to the action. Even with a mere few inches of water and four-legged obstacles hogging the lagoon the finalists battled it out and gave the spectators an amazing show. With only 4 points in it Hany Soliman was titled King of the Lagoon crown with his consistent, highly aggressive tricks and slick and stylish performance.
The atmosphere at Soul stayed electric and for most, Day One didn’t end until the early hours of Saturday morning as DJ S.Nakhla pumped out amazing beats. Silly Snaps was also on hand to capture all the love emulating around the centre.
With some Power Horse, strong coffee and painkillers readily Day Two kicked off with The World Gym Master Guru Competition. All competitors gave standout performances but Tarek Sedky came out on top landing unhooked backrolls several times during his heat. Frankie Stacey took out second with a jump to toeside and Damien Brown landed third place with his grab to backroll transitions.
The Cabrinha Downwinder Race started 10km up the road at Pheonix Kite Surf. The competitors were eager to get into it and after a short briefing they were out on the water racing downwind back to Soul. Seif Alaa took out the mens race returning to the centre in 12 minutes 32 seconds and Amira Mundinger the girls with a time of 17 minutes, 10 seconds.
Thanks to the fast and super efficient Egyptian customs department all winners were presented with cardboard kiteboards. Hopefully to be replaced before the season draws to a close by the Cabrinha boards sitting in a warehouse somewhere in Cairo.
The event was a huge success and everyone went exhausted from a lot of kiting and no fighting. A special thanks goes out to all of the sponsors, Amy and Ingie for all of their efforts and to the Soul Team, including judges Hatem Mahmoud and Audrius Bukauskas for working like machines leading up to and during the event.
Bring on next year!
KITE DON’T FIGHT!