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Karim Shawky: Taking Freestyle Flight

At just 18, kite surfer Karim Shawky has competed with experienced athletes far older than him and consistently come up on top. This September, he's teaming up legendary surfer Toby Braeuer to bring the first freestyle event of its kind in Ras Sedr.

One can argue at that no other company does more for exposing extreme sports and developing talent in Egypt than Red Bull. One of the local heroes that developed through Red Bull events is rising kite surfing star Karim Shawky.

Shawki is a Japanese-Egyptian who moved from Naganoken, Japan to Hurghada at the young age of three and grew up loving sports. When he reached high school Shawky, found an attraction to kite surfing, but had a problem. “I wanted to do for a long time, but had no money to get into the sport. In school they had a poetry competition and the winner would get kite surfing lessons, and that is how I was able to get into it,' explains Shawky.

About five months later Shawki, poet turned kite surfer, would prove that he could compete professionally, winning first place in a juniors tournament, and second place on a national level, going up against pros far older than him. “I was amazed that I was competing against professionals and was executing new tricks during the competition after five months only of engaging in the kitesurfing world”, Shawky adds.

It didn't take long for Shawky to garner attention from Red Bull, who sponsored the young talent, helping him reach competitions outside of Egypt. Recently, Shawky represented Egypt at the worlds largest kitesport event in St. Peter-Ording, Germany, competing against some of the world's best, including superstar Toby Braeuer.

Toby Braeuer, widely considered the godfather of Airstyle kitesurfing, gained notoriety when he made the ultimate kitesurf reference guide DVD with over 660 tricks, many of which he pioneered. At the competition Shawky approached the star about helping promote the rising sport in Egypt. After a bit of discussion the pair were dead set to put talk into action. As a result the pair have organised an Airstyle kitesurfing event, on the 22nd of September in Ras Sedr.

The event will be action packed as riders will be showcasing their sickest tricks, attempting to jump as high and for as long as they can. The goal of the event is not only bring new fans and further media coverage, but to expose Egyptian beaches as some of the best conditions for kite surfing, while incubating young local talents to be able to compete on an international level.

Kite surfing is exponentially growing and recently being acknowledged as a proper sport. According to Shawky, “Kite surf racing is set to be an Olympic Sport at the 2020 Tokyo games.” With the chance to be an Olympian, Shawky has turned his training to racing, which he compares to sailing, but still loves learning new tricks. He hopes that by promoting this event, Egypt will be recognised as one of the best places in the world to kitesurf, as we have prime conditions year-round. And who knows, with Karim Shawky's brilliant success story, maybe these events will attract the talent to put together Egypt's first national Olympic kitesurfing team.