ION CLUB Safaga // Four days fun!

Back   09.10.17

Once again we sent our delivery team to Safaga. As one of them is a hardcore windsurfer and the other a kite beginner the two could not be more different. One thing, however, remains in common - the enthusiasm of our Lucky Boys Sebastian and Felix for their sport and Safaga!

Sebastians Story:

Yes, finally it is on again. Felix and I are being sent to Safaga for 4 days!

After a short 3,5 hours flight from Munich we arrived in Hurghada. The fun started already on the runway, when the busses bringing us from the runway to the arrival terminal started overtaking each other honking as if there were no tomorrow.

Izzy our windsurfing centre manager picked us up at the airport with a big smile and then we were driving through the desert to Safaga for around one hour.

My decision if I should continue my 3 days kite course which I started 8 months ago, or if I should just relax and go windsurfing these few days was clearly answered by Franz Josef: Kiting is the sport ! End of discussion.

Just after breakfast I was welcomed by Mohamed and his superbly motivated crew at the kite centre. Before I could realize, I was equipped with a shorty, harness, vest, shoes and helmet. The 9 sqm Evo from North Kiteboarding was pumped by compressor in a matter of seconds, lines were sorted and I was ready to go. First some exercises to control the kite in the water and then working with the board already… waterstart ... worked! So off I went at around 20 knots, out and back, again and again into the turquoise blue lagoon.

Might this be Felix down there, wobbling out with 80 litres and 4.7 m²? Get there as fast as possible and pass him with a superior smile… and ... my first major mistake – a jump (jesuswalk) - feeling at least 5 metres high - crashed directly on my back. In Germany, I would need to wear a neck support for at least one week. But here the show must go on!

In the afternoon I was able to go with Ahmed the kite instructor into the lagoon again. In a twinkling of an eye he gave me some technical advice such as “bend your knees more!!!” (I even dreamt about it afterwards) and “Arme laaaaaang” (arms long)!!!! as he even speaks some German as well. All together a perfect day!

The next morning every muscle in my body was aching. At the well sorted breakfast buffet Franz Josef was commenting in his Austrian dialect loudly: “Did you take your pain killers already?” I actually really needed them - but that was meant to be my secret….

This day was going to be a perfect day in Safaga and it was plainly visible to everybody. The water was full of whitecaps and the wind was unmistakeably howling through every crack of the Hotel Imperial Shams. At 9 o’clock I was already on the water. It was like a dream, on one side I could already ride upwind. Unfortunately, not on the other side which resulted in Ali – who was in complete control of all his rescues – becoming my best friend. After 3 hours, I allowed myself a break and realized that the wind, after turning into the bay, was increasing again. After the break, I was surprised when I looked at the anemometer showing 25-32 knots. The guys from the centre showed a really good level in kiting: Jumps of 10 to 15 metres high from our instructor Ahmed were not a rarity anymore. The party boys from Vienna and the freestyle guys from eastern Europe showed their best skills as well. I myself tried to kite with a Mono 7, but sadly I became just a toy for the forces of nature. Ali for president! Maybe I should have gone windsurfing… Felix was blasting up and down on the horizon as if there was no tomorrow.

The same evening at the Happy Hour everybody was of course in an extremely good mood. The party boys from Vienna had a really good reason to party again and mixed around 30 mojitos on their own.

Totally flayed I dragged myself to the centre the next morning. Thank God the wind had dropped a bit during the night. Only 18 to 25 knots. Mohamed fixed a GoPro to my kite lines which brought me back to full concentration. Now no mistakes anymore. I was cruising with the 9 m² Evo over the Red Sea which was blazing in all colours and the shots were amazing.

At our day of departure Mohamed was in for a surprise for me. As our flight was scheduled for the late afternoon, there was enough time for a trip to the island Toubia, 3 km off the coast. Ali raced me to one of the most beautiful atolls. Enchanted by this almost magical piece of Earth we pumped my kite and I got the opportunity to kite the 3 km downwind back to our centre! After we got supplied with the best mangoes in the world by Izzy, we started our trip home with a broad smile.

All in all, this was a trip which I won’t forget. Safaga, I’ll be back!

Felix story:

Finally, the chance to get some pleasant change into the daily work routine: Safaga is in need of some new equipment and Sebastian and I are supposed to take care of that and also check out if all is working well at the centres. This will be the first time Sebastian and I are travelling together, that’s going to be fun for sure. Sebastian is already extremely nervous and is pondering if he should go kiting or windsurfing. As he is talking about kitesurfing most of the time, I reckon the choice is already made, he will continue his kite course…

Flight, transfer and check-in into the hotel work smoothly and after a good night’s sleep we head down for breakfast early in the morning. Just by accident we are seated amongst a group of kitesurfers, being a windsurfer they are a bit suspicious about me, but Sebastian gets instantly integrated. They are all nice guys and we throw the common jokes between wind- and kitesurfers.

Then we go our separate ways, the kiters windwards to the kite centre and I walk leewards to the nearby windsurf center. There are not many people around, although the wind is already full on. In the morning the wind blows side off and due to the wind shadow caused by the hotel, the wind in front of the centre is still pretty gusty. I can’t wait, grab a Hero 5.0 and the new Freewave STB TE 85 – (finally some small boards and sails again!) – and run into the water. I should have known better, the board is too small, I am on stop and go, but that way I am lucky enough to watch Sebastian blasting downwind from the kite centre towards me, then getting lifted out of his footstraps by a gust to massively smash on the water. Good that he is wearing a helmet and protection vest! But it seemed to be fun for him. For me for sure as well!

I sail back to the centre and change to a Fanatic Skate 110, the sail stays unchanged with 5.0 and now all is running smoothly. The wind has finally turned sideshore. With only a few other windsurfers around I have plenty of space on the water to practice my almost forgotten moves again. It has perfectly flat water and it is the biggest fun to carve my turns with full speed into the turquoise sea. Now the team is joining me one after the other on the water, showing all their skills, everybody is fully motivated to try something new and we are pushing each other. After a long session, I go for a break and Izzy and the boys from ION CLUB cater to me with fresh mangoes, sweet Egyptian tea and very refreshing cold milk with lemon. A pure explosion of all taste sensors! Then back on the water as fast as possible, the wind did not change but now I want to go for my new passion: I take a Fanatic Blast 115 LTD and the North Sails S-Type 7.3 and prepare myself for some capital catapults, but the really flat water and the top gear allow it to transfer every gust directly into acceleration and I get the feeling of flying over the water.

Later in the evening we finish the day at the hotel bar, we both had a great day and the smiles are fat on our faces. The next days pass by in a blur, there is wind every day and we spend every possible minute on the water. Sebastian is coming less and less to visit me with his kite, he is improving rapidly with going up wind. But I almost piss myself every morning laughing when he is literally forcing himself out of bed full of pain, but as soon as he is on his feet he is fully motivated again. On some days the wind is a getting bit stronger, the kiters already starting to complain, but for us windsurfers the fun is now really kicking in, I stay on 5.0 or 5.3 and just change to a smaller board. In the evening everybody is happy and satisfied again.

To get a bit of a change we drive to Safaga town for dinner – we are served fresh seafood and fresh mango juice – it can’t get any better, that’s how a holiday should be. 

Then the 4 days in Safaga are over already, I have been here several times already and every time it is hard to leave again, the local people, the spot, the sea and super reliable wind – all only four hours flight away from home, are just unbeatable. Sebastian and I would like to stay but the office is calling already. But next year I will be back!

 

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