Egypt's Army Generals take the wind out of kitesurfer's sails
Waiting on security clearance: Mike's ready to ride to his kitesurfing Guinness Record.
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Maciej Zimowski who likes to go as 'Mike' is inches away from challenging World Guinness in the category of long-distance kitesurfing, along the coast of Egypt. Psyched and pumped-up to make the ride of a lifetime, can he overcome the final paper-hurdle presented by the Egyptian army?
Maciej Zimowski thought he'd seen it all in terms of obstacles and near set-backs to the challenge of a lifetime he was about to embark on any day now (even this very day with any luck we were promised.) Poisonous fish, injuries and ferocious weather conditions notwithstanding, he was patient and kept his head low and feet to the board in training. He lived and breathed a disciplined regime - on and off the sea route. This is a man of strong mettle, tried and tested by life as student, teacher, manager and father, between Europe and Egypt. He is no stranger to sports and hard work.
Mike had decided that he wants to face the elements and plumb the depths of his own strength, to break the Guinness World records in category: "The longest kite surfing journey“ of which the current record stands at 369.7 km - 229.73 miles.
But just as he was set to take up the challenge of his sporting life, determined to beat a Guinness World Record in long distance kitesurfing, out came the paperwork obstacle that the physically poised Mike had not banked on. But now he was dealing with Egypt's all-powerful, re-pumped Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). While all was in place from safety equipment to energy snacks and filming crew, apparently the army were having none of it. It turned out he had not yet secured permission from the omnipotent Egyptian army for the trip that scaled the shores of Egypt's popular Red Sea. So before battling with the elements, Mike is "fighting for one paper."
16 years of experience as a windsurfing instructor, and 11 years experience as a kitesurfing IKO Level 2 Senior instructor, and recently made Nobile Kiteboarding Team Rider, had not necessarily prepared him to find the reserves of patience to give to paperwork and 'officer's' security clearance required. His kite-boarding trip of a life-time was not the only Egyptian plans SCAF was scuppering, elections not least.
In Mike's own words today, he is frustrated and slightly stressed to say the least.
A reminder of the El Gouna Kitesurfing Challenge:
He plans to beat the current long distance kitesurfing record by riding:
From : A. Peninsula of Suez Gulf in the area of Adabiya Port (29°50'54.71"N, 32°30'8.96"E)
To : B. El Quasir Kalawy Imperial Hotel (26°30'40.92"N, 34° 4'11.65"E) close to the coastal zone.
The deadline was set for June 2012 - given that this month's daylight hours are optimum for a long-distance expedition.
The founder of the Red Sea Zone, a kite surfing school in El Gouna, Egypt, which he manages hands on to this day, speaks with feeling on the subject close to his heart:
"I would like to ensure that my trip will be duly prepared and safe.
• I have all necessary permits (I am not crossing the country border)
• I am riding along the shore
• Rescue Speed Boat will assist me during the whole trip. There will be also spare equipment in any case.
• I will be equipped with GPS navigation."
He will also be stoked up on Red Bull (one of the official sponsors) who will give him the wings to soar along the coast, and candy bars for sustenance as he attempt of a new world record.
Main Sponsors of the event are : El Gouna Red Sea & Al Bawaba
Check out Mike-in-training for a preview of the action ahead in this Teaser.
Keep following Al Bawaba's coveage: Find out details of the mission with personal anecdotes and details close to our Mike's soul, brought to you along the way, as well as the action and progress as he advances on his marathon ride. Find out who will be riding alongside him on the emergency zodiac. Who is his kiteboard ride dedicated to? Who are Marlon and Anna? Keep tuned to find out when Mike receives SCAF's security clearance...
Al Bawaba would like to wish Mike all the strength and force for the epic journey ahead! Go Mike, come wind, rain, or shine!
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