Longboarding in Egypt

By December 6, 2012 No Comments

A couple of weeks ago, we posted a video from LGC Russia’s Maria skating in Egypt, now hear from the lady herself about her time riding in the land of Pharaohs.

I’m in Dahab, Egypt. There is a wall of rain outside my window. Strange, huh! Hopefully that won’t be a sand river down the road I ride. I’m going to take this oppurtunity to share what longboarding in Egypt looks like. I can’t speak for the whole of Egypt, only Dahab – home to hundreds of windsurfers and kitesurfers.

When I was packing my stuff, my mum thought I was crazy for taking my longboard. She was screaming that I would be killed by an insane Arab on the road! Well, she was nearly right – I never skated local roads while they were busy, people wouldn’t even think to brake! But I believe that if you want to skate – you will skate. Hotel zones, pedestrian areas in the city, wherever.

I took my Rayne Rival with me, and I was sure that local surfers would know some places to skate. I was right! I found a huge longboard playground just behind the Medina village where I stayed. It’s a hill with tons of new roads, it’s like a net of wide roads with nice corners, very long, with an average slope. These roads are closed to cars and there’s nothing around, just a desert full of pavement. Unbelievable but true!

Of course there are some problems like stones and sand which can cause a hard crash, I couldn’t get rid of it even using a broom – too many little stones came with the wind over and over again. But it was alright to skate. Another problem was a “soft” pavement. I don’t know, maybe because it’s new. But every time I did a slide there were tracks from asphalt, not wheels. And I didn’t have stiffer wheels for that. But again, I got used to it quite soon.

The last hurdles were the weather and time. I was working everyday from 9 till 5, and it was completely dark at 5.30. So I could ride only from 6-7 in the morning (I’m not really a morning person), or when I was lucky enough to finish my work a bit earlier. So it took a bit of effort to be energetic in the early mornings.
And it’s hot here. You’re sweating in the protective gear and it might be hard for you if you don’t normally skate in such weather. I was riding in hot weather during the summer, so I was okay to spend 1-2 hours under the strong sun having all the protection on.

I was riding alone all the time. It’s strange, having a longboard heaven and nobody to skate it with. I was told that many guys have longboards, but everybody ended up crashing and gave it up. If you crash, you can’t work in salt water, or you can’t work at all because of the injury (most of the locals are windsurf or kite instructors). Using protection seems logical in these situation, but these surf guys don’t bother themselves.

For Egyptian kids, a skateboard is like a magic carpet or a space ship. They were looking at my deck like they would a red Ferrari. There are no skate shops or skate parks, only water sports. And no people who could do things about the issue. They are surfing every day, from morning till evening, so I can understand it.

It was awesome to skate in Dahab for the whole month that I spent here. If you ever come to catch some wind here – grab your longboard, you won’t regret it! You can see the roads from the Dahab Lagoon, on the hill behind the Medina (the nearest village to the windsurf spot).

And don’t forget your protection! Would be sad to spoil the windsurf vacation.

Maria Esyutina.