Libyan kitesurfers set sail in the wind in a local championship in the city of Benghazi, hoping that their kite journeys would land them at the 2019 African Beach Games in Cape Verde. Competitors took to the sea in strong winds and cold water, which, although painful, were favorable conditions for kitesurfing. Armed with their kites, protective gear, and equipment, the surfers leaped into the waves and cleverly maneuvered in the wind.
Among the people who took part in the race was Hafeth al-Bobaa, who hopes that more people get the chance to pick up the sport at a young age. “It [kitesurfing] truly did arrive in Libya quite late,” he said. Around 30 students are training at Libya’s National Union schools, according to a member of Libya’s National Union for Sailing and Water Sports, Ahmed Amer. But the number of students is growing, Amer added. The old center of Benghazi still lies in ruins from a conflict that ended in the city in 2017. But from the ashes of war, many new establishments were born, including kitesurfing schools and training centers. Yasser Boothan, a surfing enthusiast who started practicing kitesurfing at the end of 2012, won the qualifiers.
He said that there were no schools or trainers in 2012, so he and his friends sought knowledge from the internet, hoping he could be good enough to qualify for international championships one day. He is one step closer to that dream, with his win at the Benghazi race qualifying him to compete on the national level. Winners of the competition in Benghazi are due to compete with winners from other Libyan cities, and the top performers on the national level will represent Libya in the African games, due in Sal, Cape Verde, between June 14 and 23. The Benghazi championship was held at the Palm Beach Resort and organized by Libya’s National Union for Sailing and Water Sports.