For some, kitesurfing is a hobby. For Mostafa Al Hussaini and the other instructors and members of DuKite, the Dubai-based kitesurfing club, it’s a calling
It is that moment of peace when you are out at sea, enjoying the solitude and the sound of the water lapping against your board, that is an undersold benefit of kitesurfing, according to Mostafa Al Hussaini.
“It can either be a very tranquil experience, or it can be quite active and aggressive,” he says. It is this versatility that the Managing Partner of DuKite loves most about the sport. Whether in a group or alone, he sees kitesurfing serving as an almost therapeutic experience.
“It takes your mind off everyday stresses,” he says. “You just grab your board, escape to the beach for a few hours, and get completely carried away. You stop thinking about everything else going on in your life.”
Like many sports, it’s not smooth sailing from the get-go. It takes endurance, practice and the right equipment. As Al Hussaini speaks about his first experiences with the sport, which combines kite-flying with wakeboarding and surfing, it’s not difficult to see why.
“I was lucky I didn’t get seriously hurt,” he says. “When I started riding, there weren’t any proper kitesurfing schools in Dubai and I didn’t have any guidance on how to do it safely and properly. It was kind of like trial and error. It’s an extreme sport and it can get very dangerous.”
With almost 15 years of experience under his belt, Al Hussaini has been devoting his time to making sure that others won’t have to put themselves at such great risk.
“It started off as just something I did on the weekends. The more I did it, the more passionate I became. I quit my job and I started kitesurfing full-time, teaching and riding. I turned it into a business,” he says. Having seen the potential this kind of business could have in Dubai, due to the lack of professional coaching and high demand for equipment, everything came together quickly.
Now one of the Middle East’s main distributors for some of the top kitesurfing and stand-up paddle boarding brands in the GCC, it covers the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait.
Dubai has since become a top kitesurfing destination, for professionals and beginners alike. “The municipality has even allocated two beaches in Dubai purely for kitesurfing, and that definitely encouraged a lot of people,” he says. Aside from the sport itself, Al Hussaini notes that it’s the people that make kitesurfing so enjoyable.
“We have a big community in Dubai of around 6,000 people, and it keeps growing. You get to meet a lot of new people from all walks of life, and when newcomers arrive, they very quickly become part of this group where everybody knows everybody. It’s great to see so many people coming together with a mutual love for the sport. You’ll always see people on Kite and Sunset Beach helping one another launch and land their kites.”
Currently in Mauritius in search of his next wave, Al Hussaini encourages everyone, from teenagers to seniors, to get out on the water – so that they can perhaps achieve the level of skill seen in these images. “My favourite manoeuvre is the kite loop,” he says.
“It’s a very powerful trick, but it’s the most amazing feeling when you’re in the air, rotating... feeling your body follow the wind.”