- Life Style
Wakeboarding has become a growing water sport among Egypt's upper crust in recent years, and with a large number of resorts and great weather, the north coast is seeing its fair share of young enthusiasts.
The sport is essentially a development from waterskiing, and involves standing on small board (something like a snowboard) while being pulled along the water behind a motor boat. The fact that one is standing on a single board, as opposed to a pair of skis, means that turning tricks is somewhat easier, and experts at the sport can be seen performing some dazzling somersaults in the air.
“To hit it off as a new wakeboarder you need a board, boots, rope, the handle, and a boat with a wakeboarding tower, normally made out aluminum or stainless steel,” says Heba Wahdan, who discovered her passion for the sport last year in Marina. “In preparation for this summer, I went to the States for a three-day wakeboarding course in Orlando; now I am all set.”
The rider is usually pulled at a speed of 20 miles per hour and a lot of the ride depends on the type and speed of the boat.
During the training, riders learn how to stand up and maintain correct posture while keeping their balance, explains Wahdan. In more advanced stages, wakeboarders learn how to get out of the boat's wake, moving to one side or the other of the central line. Then come the rather tricky skills of turning and jumping, followed by high-air tricks.
“The sport is simply addictive, and each time you play, you learn a new trick,” says Wahdan.
After learning the basics, it all depends on you ability to practice and create. Like any freestyle sport, trial and error is key. The sport develops the muscles of the entire body with emphasis on the hands, arms, feet and legs. However, it can take a toll on the back and knees.
In response to growing interest in the sport, a new shop opened this summer at Marina's gate seven, selling wakeboard equipment, while the yachting shop in gate five now sells wakeboards too.
“It is all about supply and demand, and the demand is rising,” concludes Wahdan, pointing to the increasing numbers of wakeboarders each year on Marina's salt-water lake.
Ras Sedr on the Red Sea is also a popular destination for wakeboarders. A company at Ras Sedr called Soul Kite Surfing offers excursion packages aboard boats with wakeboarding towers, although no training program is offered. Wakeboarding Taba Egypt on the other hand, offers a training program, although prices are a bit high at 30 euros per session.
The most renowned brands for wakeboarding gear are Ronix, CWB, and Hyperlite, which are sold through specialized dealers and wholesalers in Cairo. However, there are no specialty wakeboarding stores in the capital.