Monday, May 28, 2007

Moon Beach – Egypt

I have just returned to Plymouth after 10 days in Ras Sudr, Egypt. In case you haven’t already heard of this location it is possibly one of the most tranquil and perfect locations for freestyle that you can imagine.

The location is a mixture of lagoons and open sea. The lagoon beach area is over 5.5km2 of natural and man made lagoons while the open sea area is a 3km sandy beach of shallow pristine water. Both are equally as awe inspiring and delightful to ride within. There is so much space its crazy.

There are 3 resorts to stay in the lagoon beach area: Green Sudr Hotel, Lagoon Club(private villas for sale, accomodation soon) and Ramada.

We arranged the trip with Airspace Holidays They are far more equipped and they have the premier lauch spot at lagoon club where only guests travelling with airspace are allowed to kite. They operate out of the Green Sudr Hotel.

Moonbeach itself is about 15 minutes further south and is the most established resort in the area, and the only resort offering more variety in activities(windsurfing, massage, yoga, excursions) and a cool British run bar. Guests staying there wishing to kitesurf jump on the shuttle in the morning to theAirspace centre.

We flew to Cairo, but you can also fly to Sharm el Sheikh. Cairo is slightly closer, but its still around a 3 hour transfer before you reach the lagoons. The wind is good between May and October although April and November can be good, but are slightly less reliable.

We had 70% days with wind on our trip which is fine because you cant help but ride all hours that the wind stays for and after 2 or 3 days your body needs a rest to be able to ride a full fitness the following days.

The two kites I used the most were my 10m and 8m Naish Torch 3’s. They were perfect combination here.

I went to Ras Sudr with the intention of a holiday and to relax after the first couple of World Tour competitions of the season. I had the intention to have a varied trip freestyle, hangtime, speed, cruising, sunbathing, eating, reading. Basically whatever took my fancy!

My two favourite days were for 2 completely different reason. First of all the experience of a lifetime must have been snorkelling with wild dolphins. There was no wind and we had heard through Airspace that when the wind is light Dolphins often come into the bay at Moon Beach Hotel. It was something that we considered unlikey, but there was no way that I wanted to miss the chance and it turns out that the Airspace staff know there stuff. Within half an hour of arriving just a couple of hundred metres from the shore a pod of dolphins cruised into the bay. A boat was at the ready and before you could say ‘take me to the dolphins’ we were already half way there.

I’ve got to be honest while Rou and Jez (iksurf magazine) launched themselves off the boat with no shadow of a doubt, I was strapping myself into a buoyancy aid as if I could protect me from the ferocious beasts that were guaranteed to head butt and tail slap me, but I followed closely behind and slightly nervous, but the dolphins swam off. I was starting to worry that they were gone when they all turned around and headed back in our direction. Within seconds we were surrounded by a pod of 20 or 30 who were just crusing around the bottom or popping up for air. They were so calm and relxed that all fear dissolved. Rou swam down and was so close to being able to touch them and I wanted to as well even though they were only a couple of metres from me anyway, but try as I might I could not beat the design of a buoyancy aid and I floundered at the surface. The dolphins hung out for about 20 minutes, sometime swimming too far away and other times coming really close. When beneath you they would turn their heads to one side and for a moment it would be me passing though the brain of wild animal. It was a special feeling and an experience that can never be forgotten and then it was made extra special by being able to share it with my friends! Thank you for Donna at Airspace for giving us the idea and an extra special thank you for taking us out on the boat

The next of my favourite days would be a close call between speed and hangtime on my 10m Torch 3 when actually 6m weather or the evening when a sandstorm passed through while I was out on my 8m.

The sandstorm was another new and very strange experience. Beautiful sunshine in late afternoon turned into a bleak grey day not unlike a winters day at home when you don’t want to get out of bed. However, it was Egypt not England. The sand was whipped up in approximately 35 knots of wind and it engulfed the entire area. The sun became blocked out and the visibility cut down to around 100 metres. I can see (or rather not see) why camels have eyelashes like they do when they have to put up with this. On the lagoons the sand whipped into our eyes and mouths, but the water was mirror flat and as such impossible to draw myself away from for too long, but I did venture out to sea and up to the back end of the top lagoon (the top lagoon is massive). The safety wasn’t really a problem because the water is shallow for miles, so it would have been possible to walk back if a problem, but everything went smoothly. When we reached the end of the lagoon it was impossible to see anything. The huge hotel had gone and the sticks marking a place where the Egyptians temporarily considered building a marina was also covered. I was just me, Alex from One Clear Shot photography (kiting not shooting) and nothing. It could have been the end of the world! Freaky to say the least!!!!

The following day everything had cleared up but the wind had stayed although perhaps a few knots less and a hell load less gusty. My 8m was out of action so it was a choice of 6m or 10m. Probably should have stuck with the 6m option, but after all ‘go big or go home’ so the 10m came out to play. Phil from Airspace bought out a GPS so we could try some speed runs and Aaron Hadlow (flexifoil) and Rou from the Iksurf Magazine had the fastest speeds at around 34 knots, but I feel I did pretty well. I tried to break the 30 knot barrier, but came up just short at 29.2 knots. It was really good fun and next time I sure I will manage it. After that it was time for some hangtime. I felt like I was going massive – you know those jumps when you zap you go miles in the air and just float for what feels like forever. Clouds would drift passed my head and I just contemplated life and set the world to rights… well felt like that!!! The boys took the bisuit after me and said I was going high ‘for me’, but when I saw the video footage I have to agree! I was slightly disappointed! There were no clouds… (outside my head anyway)

Well that just about sums up the highlights of my 10 days in Ras Sudr organised by Airspace Watch out for the next issue of Iksurf Magazine. They have some great photos, video footage and all the lowdown of how to get yourself there. I just had the best time and I’m sure you will to.

Thank you to Alex Webb of One Clear Shot Photography for photos 1, 2 and 5.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your holiday sounds awesome, even though it was a few years ago now! Have you tried kiting at La Hacienda resort about 10 minutes north of Moon Beach? New spot and it's perfect! The centre has only been open for about 1 year, definatly worth a go at.
Have a great year, Cat