The idea that extreme sports are just for men is an age old stereotype that recently is being destroyed thanks to badass women not just competing but masterfully pushing the boundaries of their sports. With Egypt having some of the best kitesurfing conditions in the world it is about time that Egyptian women take to the sea. So we spoke to Egypt’s award-winning female kitesurfer Ingie El Mor about how it’s done:
Did you have much previous experience in extreme sports before kitesurfing?
Not at all. I had only really done normal sports like swimming and volleyball before this.
So what made you want to try out kitesurfing?
When I went to Ras Sedr I would see all of my foreign friends kitesurfing. I had a few weeks off and thought, I may as well do the course. It takes 9 hours to finish the course usually, it took me 12 hours. Half way through the course I thought, I don’t want to get back on the board. The next day, I managed to get myself back on the board and ended up completing the course.
What was your perception of kitesurfing before you tried it?
I was a little worried that I was too short. Also I thought it was something just for guys, as back then there were only two or three girls kiting and no Egyptian girls at all. I think that is how other Egyptian women feel, but progress is definitely being made, you see a lot more women trying and even competing in it now.
So you finished the beginners’ course, what came next?
I stayed in Ras Sedr for another two weeks kitesurfing and after that whenever I have even one day off I go to Gouna or Ras Sedr to kite. It needs a lot of practise if you want to do tricks.
“I managed to win the highest jump amongst the girls, and that gave me a big big push to go for it more and more.”
Tell us about your competitions.
The first competition was in Ras Sedr, I decided to compete as I was there already and it was a challenge. That day, as the only female representing Egypt, I managed to win the highest jump amongst the girls, and that gave me a big big push to go for it more and more.
Last year at the World Cup in Gouna, they asked me to compete. I jumped on the opportunity as it was a chance to see the world’s top kitesurfers although I was incredibly nervous to compete with them. When I got into the water I felt like I had forgotten everything about kitesurfing! It was still a great experience for me as I managed to control my fear and compete against the best in the world.
How did your friends and family react to you competing in extreme sports?
My mom loves it, she has always encouraged me to explore and try new things. My friends are generally very supportive, although sometimes they tell me to be careful. But I can cross the street and have something happen to me, so I shouldn’t let worry stop me.
How do you balance kitesurfing with your life in Cairo?
I am a freelance stylist without a fixed schedule and whenever I am free I go to Gouna or Ras Sedr. It has become my getaway from Cairo, because you don’t think about anything, it is just the board, kite, wind and sea. We call it ‘Wind Therapy’.
“You aren’t just doing the same thing over and over, so that makes you want to learn every day.”
What motivates you to get up and train when you are in a lazy mood?
There is always something new you want to learn. At first you want to learn how to turn, and then how to jump and then how to do a back roll. You aren’t just doing the same thing over and over, so that makes you want to learn every day.
What would you say to girls who want to try kitesurfing but are nervous?
You just need to try it, you have nothing to lose. Of course it will take you a while at the beginning to understand the wind and the kite but I don’t know a single person who started the kitesurfing course and didn’t finish.
Follow Ingie on Instagram @ingie_elmor.