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Downwind in Dahab

3: Windsurfing heaven

This place really is a heaven for windsurfers; plenty of wind, a relatively sheltered, enclosed bay which means you canít come to too much harm, and beyond the bar, bigger breezes and waves for windsurfing die-hards. The breeze was up from day one, with my first attempt on a morning where a steady Force 7 decided to throw a tough test my way. Itís pretty gusty too, so finding my feet proved hard.

Iíd spent a week learning to windsurf two years ago, unfortunately I hadnít been since, I really needed to find out just how much I had forgotten. It was difficult to know which group to join ó I wasnít a complete beginner, but I hadnít been for so long that I felt completely left behind in the intermediate group. I really needed someone to run through the basics with meÖ and who better than top pro John Hibbard!

To be honest, I was so rusty I really didnít make the most of having someone so good giving me a one-to-one on my beach start, but what made the biggest difference was Johnís shoreside demonstration. As with anything you havenít done for a long time, a few key points made all the difference ó where my feet should be pointing, what not to do with my arms and backside, and where to look.

All the wind stuff was second nature to me, which was what I was finding really frustrating ó I knew what I wanted to do, but the breeze was so gusty I just kept losing control and going for a swim. Before I knew it I was miles downwind of the centre waving vigorously for a rescue boat to get me home. Johnís simple tips made all the difference to my ability to balance and stay upright and suddenly I was making a bit of progressÖ unfortunately we were also out of time and we needed a practice run in the cats.

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Previous page:2 Kitesurfing

Our first few hours were spent learning to control the spinnaker, working in pairs

Next page:4 Sailing in Dahab

Flat water and strong winds delivered some awesome sailing

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