Sometimes, you take one look at a person and can just tell they have a lot of stories to tell. Amina Nessim certainly fits that description. She paints, does Yoga, climbs mountains, and is a kite-surfer. Most impressively, she does all of that while being a full-time university student! We sat down with her to know all about her athletic journey.
Though it may not look like it, Amina’s relationship with kite-surfing wasn’t love at first sight. Her father, who had been kitesurfing for 8 years, encouraged her to try it out. When she first took the course, she felt like it wasn’t for her but two years later, after a lot of failed attempts, she fell in love!
Most recently, she won second place at The King Of The Lagoon annual kitesurfing competition.
Climbing, on the other hand, is a recent discovery of hers. A friend who spent all his free time climbing introduced it to her last year.
“I climbed my first boulder in Cairo, in the Wadi Degla Protectorate in Maadi. After that, I took a trip to Dahab where I climbed several beginner routes in Wadi Gnai with my friends,” she said.
“I was in awe. Climbing became the getaway I needed. No signal, fresh air, and pushing my limits.”
Clearly, Amina Nessim is an explorer at heart. Yoga for her is a personal experience. “I was never into going to yoga classes because I felt like I enjoyed practicing on my own much more. I wouldn’t say I’m a pro yogi or anything but I like to learn at my own pace,” she said.
“Acro Yoga, I’ve been really loving! it works your body in similar ways to typical poses except it gives you a boost of adrenaline,” she continued.
Maintaining the Balance
It’s safe to say Amina Nessim has got a lot on her plate. Along with doing all kinds of sports, she paints. We asked her how she balances all her activities.
“What helps is that climbing season is better during the colder months, and kiting season peaks during the summer – so the balance happens naturally. Yoga on the other hand is something I can take with me anywhere and anytime,” she said.
“Having a variety of activities that I enjoy helps me avoid burning out. I think if I only painted or only climbed and so on, I would burn out pretty quickly. I need change.”
Though an active lifestyle comes with a lot of perks, it’s not the easiest to maintain when you have to go to university and work as well.
“If I could live in a tent in Blue Lagoon and only kite, climb, and do yoga, for the rest of my life – I would. Finding that balance between my active lifestyle and also work and university is extremely difficult and frustrating at times but it’s necessary. I try to set small goals and look forward to little things while I’m in Cairo. I think that’s healthy,” she said.
“Living this lifestyle is a blessing and a curse when it comes to friendships because either they’re on the same page or they’re not. It’s hard to spend time with friends who don’t share the same interests when I’m away. I think they get it though, they know I can’t survive long in Cairo. It also gives them a great excuse to come and visit me wherever I am!” she continued.
Luckily, Amina’s family saw her adventure-packed lifestyle coming.
“My family gets it. They do miss me a lot when I’m out of Cairo. But otherwise, they’re really supportive. I’m super grateful for that,” she said.
Amina understands, however, that society doesn’t always offer female athletes the same support she receives from her family. We asked her how she would respond to the saying that sports aren’t for women.
“I think for a lot of people, the idea of becoming super active ties into becoming super muscular. And for some reason, being muscular has been deemed “unattractive” by irrelevant people,” she said.
“Muscles are sexy! There’s absolutely no shame in being strong and looking strong. Women have so much potential and if we’re given the right tools and the right guidance growing up, we could be unstoppable.”
“So no, sports are definitely for women. I had a lot of role models growing up, I would watch surfers on youtube and just imagine being like them when I’m older,” she continued.
On what advice she would give to young kids wanting to pursue an active lifestyle, Amina said “Getting into kitesurfing when you’re young is so good because you have so much time to progress. A lot of people think kiting is too complicated for kids but I’ve seen 7-year-olds in Blue Lagoon pick up the sport in no time – so it’s definitely kid-friendly with the right instructors.”
“My best advice, in general, would be to simply book the trip. If you’re in a position where you can travel, go to Dahab. If you can’t travel, you can still climb indoors in Cairo. So the options are there, you just need to take that first step out of your comfort zone.” she explained.
For the future, Amina Nessim plans to keep on exploring. “I never know what’s next, which is exciting for me, I like to stay open to new opportunities always. I do want to focus on work and university since I’m graduating soon. After that, I’m definitely dropping everything and living by the beach full time!”
Certainly, the sky’s the limit for Amina Nessim. Click here to stay updated on her journey.