For those who have never heard of the PKRA (Professional Kiteboard Riders Association) World Tour before, in simple words it’s a professional kiteboarding competition held in several countries with riders competing for the #1 ranking at each stop of the season.
Egypt was honored to be home to the pro tour’s 5th stop with its beautiful turquoise shallow waters at the Palm Royale Hotel in Soma Bay. Of course, our local Egyptian community of kitesurfers highly anticipated the event and pre-booked flights and hotels to guarantee a first row view of the competition and full coverage.
Having watched over and over the professional freestylers’ YouTube videos – stunting KGBs, Crow mobes and S-bends – now was the time to watch the real shit happening live.
Before giving you some more details, we must give a big shout out to the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism for supporting and sponsoring the event. Locals met with their representatives and were very grateful, looking forward to more success at the upcoming event of for the African Formula Kite Championships (Jun. 23-28) and hopefully another PKRA stop next year.
Back to our pro riders with their bikinis, shorts and fluorescent lycras, we spotted the hottest strongest riders in full action. Sadly, the location chosen was not the sandy beach we all expected – the marina of the Palm Royale Hotel was not ideal and outside of regulations for such an extreme sport. The riders had very little space to set up their equipment and launching was slightly dangerous due to hazardous items around.
Yet it was quite entertaining to see the riders jump from the top of the pier with mega loops and landing their kites in the middle of spectators (no injuries)!
The riders put on an epic show. The competition lasted four days with one day of no wind and a burning sun, but some made use of El Gouna’s new Sliders Cable Park, while others went snorkeling and wakesurfing.
Day 1 started with qualifications for riders competing for the first time and others who had not yet made it to the Main Event from the previous tour. Our talented Egyptian riders Karim Shawky, Noussa Denkler, Sherif Abouzeid, Emad, Bakar Ahmed and Hassan Ahmed represented Egypt in the qualification round.
By the time the Main Event started and Single Eliminations were on, Big Airs, Front Rolls and 313’s could not compete with KGB’s and triple S-bends with handle passes. Sounds complicated, yes, so we all decided to lay back and listen to the German DJ play progressive house, meet the pro riders and have some fun with the MC/announcer who was leading the crowd though the competition’s progress.
All kinds of cheers and roars were heard Day 3 and 4 while the riders pushed themselves to the max with some difficult tricks. Judges were slightly secluded from the crowd as they scored the tricks and closely monitored the wind’s speed. They also quickly reacted to banned hazardous movement inside the competition area, including glass bottom boats and windsurfers – don’t we all just love them?
When the sun came down and it was time to wrap up the day, most pro riders went straight to bed to wake up fresh for a pre-gym workout before Day 4. Yea, these guys were pretty serious!
Overall, the competition ended smoothly with Day 4 seeing tough wind conditions. The winners of the males competition was Tack Christopher from Belgium and Karolina Winkowska from Poland (currently Kiteboarding Ambassador of Egypt) for the females competition.
The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism will be sponsoring Karolina during 2014 as she promotes kiteboarding in Egypt. Ranked #1 in the PKRA, the Polish rider is very excited to be visiting other beaches around Egypt, so if you stumble upon an extreme female rider stunting Low Mobes in your local beach, that’s probably Karolina!
As the competition ended, Egyptian Minister of Tourism Hisham Zazou greeted the players and handed out their prizes. Now was time to party with live band Cosmo Klein! Players popped champagne and partied until sunset.
If you weren’t there, you definitely missed out on a super sexy weekend. The next PKRA is on our calendar!
WE SAID THIS: Don’t miss the “Top 10 Kitesurf Spots in Egypt“.