The two things that came to mind when I embarked on this trip to Oman were that there would be a lot of sand and it would be very hot. So it was no surprise to find the sand and heat as soon as we arrived at the airport. On the other hand, I expected a completely different, urban landscape, but there are no skyscrapers, no excess of luxury like its neighbors; the Sultanate of Oman is simple and surprising.
Jamal and Marcelo, our guides, welcome us like princes. I feel that they really want to show the beauty of their country and the infinite possibilities it has in terms of wind and waves. After the first night at a hotel waiting for the whole team to regroup, we decide to start our adventure on the island of Masirah, located about 10 hours by car south of the capital. Our guides make this decision because the weather window is ideal for the next three to four days and they really don’t want to miss it, and frankly, neither do we. The road is long and straight, and the desert stretches away as far as the eye can see… not a blade of vegetation on the horizon… The camels in the distance are distorted by the mirage effect. There is no doubt that we are in the Middle East. We arrive at the ferry at dusk, just in time to board the last boat of the day. The sun sets gently, oozing the characteristic gray and yellow colors of this part of the world. Tomorrow the conditions should be spot on and we are all eager to stretch our legs on the water.
One of the main advantages of the island is that it offers perfect conditions for freestyle for Max, Francesca and me, but also beautiful straight lines with tubular sections for Mitu, Hendrick and Marcela… the dream. The alarm rings, we gobble down an omelet, and off we go. We alternate between wave and flat spots, with the locals coming to appreciate the spectacle each time. One of the lasting memories will be this Big Air session in the port of Masirah, jumping between the fishing boats and the crowd watching the show on the pier. The police have to regulate traffic because there are too many people on the jetty – the whole town turns out to watch us. Seeing all these people smiling, being amazed by the jumps, makes me so happy, and only nightfall forces us out of the water. We haven’t got tired of their encouragement at every pass; no matter the trick they have cheered us warmly. I guess they have no idea how the kite works, and that’s part of the beauty of this sport. They can just appreciate people flying above them and doing tricks.
The wave team are also enthralled by the conditions and our days are quite busy in terms of time spent on the water, from morning to night for everyone. After three days on the island, it is already time to leave. A storm is forecast and it is possible that the ferries could get stuck in port, so we hurry to pack everything up and head to the embarkation point. However, one car is not allowed to board the normal ferry… mine with Olivier and Anthony, the two cameramen. We have to take the more local ferry on which is written in big letters on the deck, “Safety First”. I’m not sure that reassures me too much, but we don’t have much choice otherwise we would be stuck on Masirah. We find ourselves trapped between two garbage trucks, in the middle of the sea, taking the brunt of the waves. Sitting in a car and being swayed by the waves is a rather special feeling… We eventually arrive on land without any problems, just three hours after the other cars.