While kiteboarding is many things to many people, a side of the sport that has been around for quite some time has just begun making its mark recently. Kitefoiling—the next big thing for kitesurfers—is here in Qatar. Xtork joins Qatarbased watermen, Jonathan and Omar, in a foiling session where we watch them, well…fly.
Qatar is an absolute gem when it comes to water sports.
While Omar does most of his foiling at the Qanat Quartier and nearby
beaches, he advises beginners otherwise. “These beaches give you at least 2 m of water depth just a few meters from the beach shore. However, I must say they are not the best place to start learning with all beach goers around. For an advanced rider it is no issue since you ride away from any swimmers on the beach,” he says. Jonathan knows of locations he jokes of not wanting to reveal.
“The best places to practice in Qatar is near Al Gharrah resort in the North—this is great for beginners and The Pearl- Qatar for more experienced riders. There are a number of other spots and unexplored locations that opened up because of foil boarding,” he says.
Jonathan is witness to the evolution of foilboarding. He started kitesurfing in 1999 and stumbled upon an early
version of the foil board in Cyprus, 2003. “This first foil board was made out of heavy Aluminum with a wakeboard with bindings attached. This truly was an ankle breaker and riding it came with a warning sticker,“ he shares. It was, according to Jonathan, the crude method of producing foil boards and the rise of kitefuring freestyle taking centre stage that left foil boards out of the picture until hydrofoil fins with carbon-fiber structure were produced. He was introduced to the sport once again in 2015 by Mostafa of Dukite in Dubai with a “‘try it, like it, buy it, don’t like it, give it back and I will take you for a slap up meal’ how could I refuse a free meal?” kind of deal. The next thing he knew, Jonathan was at the beach, embarking on a ride of his life on what he called a “work of art.” “This one session turned out to be the most dangerous, exciting, fast and totally out of control experience I have ever done on the water in over 30 years of water sport experience. Long story short my bank balance got hit bad and I was hooked and currently own two foil boards: one for free ride and waves and the second for racing,” he says.