4th Annual King of the Lagoon

 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.

Big Air:

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.

Freestyle:

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

Freestyle Women:

1ST PLACE: Sjoukje

2ND PLACE: Nina

 

MENS:

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 

Master Guru

Hany Soliman

Kareen Ghoneim

Ramy hadad

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.

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Susi and Dre Hit the UK

Rain or Shine...Join Dre and Susi at The Watersports Academy, Sandbanks Poole UK, this weekend.  

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Dre and Annabel head to Belgium

There's a party going on....Join Dre, Annable, Cabrinha and Matos Kite & Surf shop July 13th from 5PM on at Matos in Bruxelles.  

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The Venezuela Report

 

After a few hiccups on his way to Venezuela Alby finally made it.  WIth his pockets a lot less heavy from the fee's he paid on the way, he was stoked to be done traveling and exchanged some money before heading to the event site.  "Adicora definitely impressed me! It looked like the smallest fishing village on the beach during the week, but for the weekend it got super packed with people from the closest cities coming down to enjoy the beach.  The wind was non-stop from sunrise to sunset and apparently it is like that from December all the way until June. The water is shallow and really hot with little kickers all along the coast! " he said.

"The comp started and I had a good first heat with a local guy from Adicora." said Alby.  For the 2nd heat of the single he was against Kevin Langeree, former 2009 World Champ from Holland.  "I had a solid heat, only crashed once, landing regular and switch backmobes, Grab S-mobe5, FrontblindMobe even landed my first ever G-spot in competition (which is a toeside backmobe) and rode fully powered. " he said.   Unfortunately a few of the judges, not all of them,  gave Kevin more points for more basic high maneuvers.   This comes as a big disappointment to Alby as the riders voted for the Pkra rules to score higher for more technical moves.  Loosing by 0.1 points Alby sucked it up and headed for the doubles.
 "I was against Marc Jacobs, who got 3rd overall last year…I was stoked to have a solid heat and advance!  Everything was allright until the first trick in my heat with Sam Light. I didn’t land my S-mobe and my strap broke so the board hit my knee …the water was quite shallow too, so I hit the bottom.   Sam was riding solid…I changed boards but I could’t come back!  I guess that’s how it goes sometimes!" Alby said.  
Although Alby was sour about taking 6th place AND realizing how he could have doubled his money had he exchanged it on the black market, the new kids on the block Annabel and Liam were both pretty happy placing in the top 10 at this stop.  Bryan Lake is another Cab rider to keep your eyes on... this guy is smoking the comp like a stogie in the racing department. Exciting times ahead as the team heads to Cold Germany for the next stop of the tour.
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Kiteboarding for Cancer

The Columbia Gorge Cabrinha Crew heads up a fundraiser to benefit Kiteboarding for Cancer or KB4C.  Join the festivites in the Beer Garden at the Big Horse Brewpub in Hood RIver OR, July 5th. 

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G Spot and special sauce

 Alby lands a G-spot...(his first ever in a competition) but it just wasn't enough to take the heat.  Stay tuned for updates from Venezuela and watch to see how he does in the doubles.

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Sneak Peek at 2013

Join Damien and Matt Collins if you are going to be in the Jupiter area this weekend.

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Keahi Reports back from Portugal

 

After a couple fun weeks in Portugal for the KSP its good to be heading home. The KSP organizers  put on a really good comp for this first event. Good location, hotel right on the beach with good rates and free breakfast and lunch for all the riders. Guincho is very well known for its kitesurfing and windsurfing potential and has its own little weather system. It's known for being 30 knots when other places aren't even windy. Unfortunately it didn't live up to its reputation and the wind didn't cooperate with us so we weren't able to get a result. They managed to run the first round of the comp and I had a great first round heat, but unfortunately thats all I got to compete in. Was still a fun event and we scored some really good surfing days as well as a couple light wind kiting days. Portugal is a really cool place and definitely has a lot of potential for kiting and surfing. If we had the wind it would have been a great comp. Really looking forward to the next competition in Mauritius and hopefully we score good conditions like they had last year!

Learn more about the KSP World Tour here.

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Asia to Africa- Crossing the Gulf of Suez

My alarm goes off and it is 5:55am. I reach for the snooze button and doze for another 10 minutes. Eventually I get up and open the curtains.

I look out the window to find that my wind gauge, the centre palm tree across the street, is dancing vigorously.  The predicted forecast on wind guru was accurate. Today would be a great day to make the crossing to the other side. Ras Sudr to Zafarana, Asia to Africa, 26kms across the Gulf of Suez, the busiest shipping lane in the world.

After a good wholesome breakfast I gathered my things and walked down to the Soul Kitesurfing Centre. I was greeted by the two big smiles from Hamada and Hassan. “Hawa mea mea qwais, Bro!” The wind is 200% good they say.

My phone goes and I answer it. Antoine from Paradise Fun Kite Centre is on the other end, “Morgs how windy is it?” he asks ” 20 knots” I reply                                    “ I am trying to make the decision between my 9m and 10m, what do you think?” he asked, “ Bro bring them both, make the call when you get down here, also don’t forget your passport for the return journey” I stated.   “No problem, see you in 20minutes” Antoine said.

Aldo arrives totally pumped and is high-fiving everyone, we check the kites and the boards all is good. Jacques turns up and is amping to get on the water.

Ossama and Saad arrive from Phoenix Kitesurfing. Ossama tells me the boat is ready and waiting but the boat driver has decided to double the cost because it will be a rough crossing. I told Ossama to tell him we will all put in to pay the extra cost as this has to be the best window of opportunity we have had so far this year. With the last month preparing for this we were not going to lose the chance again.

Greg from Moonbeach Windsurfing Centre arrives with his windsurfing kit and starts getting rigged up.

I gather the group of usual suspects that you will find on the beaches of Ras Sudr and start my briefing.

“ Thanks guys for taking the time out from your busy lives to make this first ever crossing of the Gulf of Suez on kitesurfing equipment. Today’s conditions look perfect for our challenge. I have a few points I would like to cover before we head off.”

First of all our group will be split into two teams, the boat team that will consist of Ossama, Hamada and Hassan. We have made a tool box, kite repair kit, provided 3 extra kites and an extra board in case of any gear failure on route which will also be on the boat.

Take this with you, and inshalla, we won’t need it. Our second team will consist of the surfers, from Soul Kitesurfing - Aldo, Jacques, Sherif, Mohammed and myself, from Paradise Fun Kite Centre - Antoine, from Phoneix Kitesurfing -Saad and from Moonbeach on his windsurfing equipment is Greg.

We will be running a buddy system so pair up with the guy that you hope will save you if you get into trouble out there!

There are two major elements we will be up against as we make the crossing:

1: Wind dropping in the middle and the closer we get to the other side.

2: The 50m high container ships that are cruising up from the south of the Red Sea.

In both cases stay close to the safety boat, check on your buddy, if anyone feels we are getting to close to the ships, turn around and tack away. Let the container ships pass, and once we think their wind shadows are far enough away, return to our original bearing for the other side. If the wind starts dropping and we are close enough to shore, stick together as a group and head to the landing point as quick as possible. Our aim is to land at La Vista 5 compound at the Fly Kitesurfing Centre, there we have Steve Walden and his team waiting for us with cold beers. 

Any questions? No? …. Sweet ass! Check your equipment boat team, then take off. We will see you off the reef in front of the Soul Kitesurfing Centre. Good luck”.

After an hourof waiting, double and triple checking our equipment, we see a small white boat on the horizon. Adam from Redbull has made it on the boat after complications with the Egyptian Coast guard, all members entering onto the boat in Ras Sudr have to exit in Ras Sudr. No one is allowed to get off on the other side as it is classed as smuggling. Our boat kit, consisting of extra kites, board, tool kit and first aid were not allowed to be carried on the boat.

Even though we were gutted, we did not let this stop us.

Catherine helped launch our kites while snapping away getting some good pictures of us all, and screamed good luck.

I was the second to last to leave the beach, and instantly I felt the incoming tide fighting to keep me on the beach. I had chosen a 12m Cabrinha Switchblade and 136cm Caliber board. I had to depower the kite as it was blowing 20 to 22knots which was fine, but the board was heavy and really sticking to the water, bulldozing through the chop. I would stick with it and hope once out of the lagoon and in the deep water it will feel better.

I looked up and saw the rest of the team heading up wind to meet the boat. It was great to see the boat getting closer and closer. I noticed Greg was finding it hard to get out of the lagoon, finally planning he told me that he wished he had bigger gear. He was concerned about there not being enough wind in the middle and that we should go on without him.  What a team player…Good on ya mate. I later learned Greg down winded back to Moonbeach Windsurfing centre (12km away) solo.

I left Greg to it and caught up with the rest of the team and the big ass safety boat that was tracking along at a full speed of 8knots. I could hear the engine of 176-horse power working to move the big beast.  I was greeted with shouts of joy from the boat team, and Bedouin Captain. The boys had pumped up a Red bull buoy and positioned it on the front of the boat.

Cameras were snapping away and a video camera was recording. Yalla! We were off.

As we headed away from the safety of the shore line I couldn’t help noticing a large yellow dust cloud covering the sky towards Ras Sudr, great there is a sandstorm on our backs surely that’s got to help us.

As we approached the middle, I noticed two large ships coming up on our downwind side extremely quick, looking back at the team and the sleepy safety boat I made the call for the team to turn back and let the ships pass before us. The group turned away and circled the safety boat, we had a bit of time up our sleeves so we started to show off in front of the boat for the cameras.

Once the ships had passed we continued on our way. Looking back in the direction the ships had come from, I could make out two more large ships making their way towards us. Looking back at the safety boat, I was hoping the captain could get across the infront of the ships before they were on top of him. Thankfully he did.

At this point I could make out the wind mills from the wind farm on the outskirts of Zafarana. I was not sure where the Fly Kitesurfing Centre was located, but before we had left, Greg and I had loaded the coordinates of the Fly Centre into his GPS from Google Earth. Ossama had the GPS on the boat and was instructing the captain to hold the course. I dropped back and had a talk with Ossama, he told me that Steve could see our kites from the beach and to go ahead on the same course as the boat was pointing in. I headed back to my position and instantly felt the wind drop by at least 5 knots. I powered up the 12m. The wind dropped a second time and I had to start really working the kite. Looking around I could see that the rest of the team were feeling it also. I spotted two kites in the sky about 3kilometres downwind of our current position. I started kite looping my kite and heading in the direction of the other riders.

As we got closer I could make some other kites on the beach. Yes!!! Fly Kitesurfing Centre. As I came into the beach and landed my kite, Steve was there taking photos and giving out congratulations. It wasn’t until I was out of the water and watching the rest of the team land that it sunk in that we had made it across, all safely.

High fives and cold beer followed by some pizza was the call while we waited for our taxi van to  pick us up.

All in all it was great to be part of a team that completed the crossing.

Congratulations to all of you involved, I couldn’t have done it without you!

1hour 48mins and 27.3kms.

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Welcome to the Team Moona!

 

IMG 9831We are excited to add another ripper to our Team.  Moona Whyte from the north shore of Oahu joins team Cabrinha!.  

"I live on the beach at Laniakea and...i love surfing, hiking, playing guitar and painting!  My dad taught me how to kite about 4 years ago and I've been in the waves ever since.  You can find me at the beach park everyday, minus school.

Keep up to date with Moona at NeilPyrdeMaui's facebook page.

 

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