Across the world, women are pushing against the norm of sports being a male-dominated field. From football to tennis, women are proving that they are powerful, strong and able to be both competitive and team players.
In Egypt, a women-only kitesurfing camp in Gouna aims to create a space where women can feel empowered and comfortable in order to build the confidence they need to make strides in the sport. Kite Tribe Girls was brought together by Mia Ayoub, who originally had moved to Gouna to work in real estate before finding her passion for the water sport.
It all started when she met a kitesurfing instructor at a friend’s party. “I told him hell would freeze over before I would try such an extreme sport!” Ayoub told BECAUSE. “He convinced me to give it a try and I got hooked. It was my first board-related sport and I got the basics from my instructor, but I had to persist and really work very hard to actually get riding. One summer I decided to leave my real estate job, and with plenty of time on my hands I progressed very quickly.”
Kitesurfing gave Ayoub an opportunity to combine her skills and her passion and create something new.
“Kitesurfing is such a young sport and to be part of it as it grows is exciting,” explained Ayoub. “Kite Tribe Girls lets me do what I love while actually calling it ‘work’…I am extremely lucky!”
Her inspiration for Kite Tribe Girls followed an experience working on a project at Gouna’s Kiteboarding Club titled “Kbc for Girls”.
“’Kbc for Girls’ is a workshop I run once a week for women who would like to improve on their riding skills or learn new tricks out on the water,” Ayoub explained. “It’s a free workshop, but we accept donations for the Breast Cancer Foundation of Egypt. I discovered that I loved teaching and really enjoyed watching the girls improve and test themselves.”
The experience inspired Ayoub to create her own venture in kitesurfing, one that would create a space where women could feel comfortable and confident in order to excel in the sport. By creating a women-only camp, Ayoub wanted to remove any element that would cause a woman to feel uncomfortable or less able in such a demanding sport.
“Men tend to have a more competitive streak, and in kitesurfing this can be quite intimidating,” said Ayoub. “I have had experiences myself where men feel that they need to be better than you out on the water.”
But Ayoub believes that in order to excel at kitesurfing, or any sport, you need to be able to relax and take your time. “There’s nothing wrong with a bit of competition, but with a group of women, you’re more comfortable to reveal your worries or concerns about trying something new, discuss mistakes and triumphs and to give each other little tips or advice. It’s a more supportive environment and I think women really respond to that and feel much more comfortable! Kitesurfing can be scary, especially when you start to really progress with tricks.”
“Kitesurfing is a really hard sport to learn, and it’s mostly dominated by men. It is empowering when women progress and can kitesurf with the guys!” said Ayoub, who believes the sport has the power to make women stronger, healthier and more self-confident.
The first Kite Tribe Girls camp is set to begin on September 10 and will run until September 17. The camp package will include kitesurfing lessons and coaching, equipment and storage, and a range of other activities. The total price for the week is 900 euros, which includes accommodation for seven nights in a beautiful spacious villa. To book a spot in the camp, visit the camp’s page on Bstoked.
Ayoub plans to hold the camps in the spring and autumn, and welcomes Egyptians and women from across the world. “This is an inclusive camp. However, girls who are interested to join need to be older than 21 and be ready to be active, social and a team player. We will be spending a lot of time together over the week, so I expect friendly and positive vibes!”
“Most of the time in kitesurfing [women] don’t get the opportunity to be surrounded or supported by other women,” said Ayoub. “The whole idea of my camp is to make them comfortable, make them feel as safe as possible and confident out on the water.”