Windsurfing in Hurghada, Egypt.

Other things to do / Good - Bad / Windsurfing in Egypt / Accomodations / Tips

The first thing you notice as you circle over the sea with the plane preparing to land, is that the Red Sea is definitively not red. Whoever came up with this idea must have had too much red wine…. The second thing you notice is the whitecaps, plenty of them. The deep blue, green in the shallow areas, expanse of water is covered with these little sheep, all running downwind, but never seemingly getting anywhere. From above, the seas, the desert, even the tiny little people windsurfing seem perfect.As the plane lands and taxies to the terminal, the excitement level rises a notch, only to climb sharply again as we step onto the tarmac and feel the sauna like heat attack us with relentless power, driven by the wind.

As we drive to the hotel, we notice the barbed wire fences of the airport are covered with multi colored plastic bags stuck at different heights, another good sign. On one side, the desert, hot, arid, unfriendly, lifeless, derelict buildings, not at all like the scenery from the plane: no sand dunes in this area, just hard, caked sand. Even the hills (mountains?) in the background are just a darker shade of beige, sometimes almost black, over backed, as if someone had left the oven on for too long. On the other side, green, blue water (definitively not red…), palm trees, grass, cacti, buzzing with activity, a hotel being constructed here, another being renovated there, life, as it is almost everywhere else. We arrive at our hotel, by this time the wind has died down, go through all the check-in procedures and drop our luggage in our "Bungalow" and head for the beach to find the windsurfing center and organize our gear for the next 2 weeks, maybe even get some sailing in, as, arriving at the beach we realize it's still blowing quite hard, the hotel buildings were just shading us.

It takes us a while to orient ourselves and we finally find the Tommy Friedl Pro Center. Unfortunately it is closed (ok, in our excitement we didn't realize that it is 19h00, local time (Egypt is 1 hour ahead of Central European time). The area is empty, but there are rows upon rows of boards, and pre rigged sails everywhere, for us never having been on a windsurfing holiday, the place is paradisiacal. Instead of sailing, we just head out to the sea and enjoy the warm, yet refreshing, greenish crystal water, the sun setting over the hills in the background, igniting the sky with different hues of red and orange. The should have called this place the Red Sky, not the red Sea…….

The surf center in the evening light

We have dinner, enjoy the activities organized by the hotel, and finally go back to our bungalow, anxious about the coming dawn: Will it prove to fulfill the promises of the day just past?
A not so early rise (why not, we're on vacation….) promised a great day as at around 9h00 the wind was already blowing quite hard. We had breakfast, not hurrying thinking that thermal winds usually get stronger in the afternoon when the temperature is at its maximum, we headed of the surf station and organized everything that needed to be organised and finally got our boards and sails and hopped on the water. The wind had died down, but was still quite good (5.2m). I started off going not so far just to check things out, scope the area around, make sure my sail is not too big etc… after a few minutes, I realized that the wind seemed to be calming down and very gusty, it was hard to keep a plane all the way back to the beach on the last straight and I got back to wait around for the wind to pick up again. As it turned out, the wind didn't pick up again that day, despite the promises of the people working there. At around 17h00 the wind did come back to a decent force, but was very irregular and it didn't last very long.

So it turns out that in Hurghada, the wind is stronger in the morning where it is side-offshore, and then turns around 11h00 to become side-onshore and lessens down a bit, with a bit of a revival around 17h00. We spent 14 days, of which only 2 were really good (4.1m and 4.7m) a few of them, maybe 4, were good (5.8-6.2) and unfortunately too many of them where it would have been good with a 7.4-8.0m sails. These sails are available at the surf station, but I didn't bother.

Other things to do in the area, when the wind is not blowing:


Kitesurfing: For kitesurfing, the wind conditions were good, from what I see they can have a lot of fun when the wind is not strong enough for windsurfing. Many people tried it, as the surf center gives lessons.

The bay area for kitesurfing.

Snorkeling: The easiest available snorkeling: right next to the beach, walk to the beginning of the deep waters and swim for 5 meters from there on, you can swim through quite a big number of coral reefs, if there is a bit of wind, make sure, for your own safety, that you do not drift into the windsurfing area. On windless days, where nobody is on the water, there are some even more interesting reefs in the windsurfing area of the beach. You didn't bring your equipment? For 15 Egyptian pounds, you can rent for a whole day a mask, snorkel and fins, the later not necessary) at the Jasmine Village (neighbouring hotel) dive center. The snorkeling amazed me, I have never dived outside the freezing gray waters of the lakes in Canada, and the coloured corals, fish of every types and shapes, left me slacked jawed, which is quite dangerous when snorkeling….I will try to make a page of pictures of all the fish I saw and corals, but it might take some time as I took none, and will have to borrow from other websites. This was just the coral reefs near the surf station, everyday, the Jasmine Dive center organises, snorkeling and real diving trips to the outer islands, some of which are famous, and the deeper sea itself, which has a worldwide reputation for being one of the most amazing diving places on earth. I have no problems believing that after having had a beautiful glimpse of it in the bay where we were staying. Jasmine village dive center

Archaeological trips: Of course, you are in Egypt, what else should you do on non-wind days but visit the great sites that history has to offer: Luxor, Cairo, and Aswan.

Visit the town: Go and visit Hurghada and it's market, the town is approximately 15 km from the surf center, or 2 Egyptian pounds if you use the minivan taxis, do not let them charge you more than 3…..

Luxor's archeological sites

The Good and the Bad

We spent a total of 2 weeks there, staying in the Aladdin hotel, close 200m from the surf station and all in all, we were disappointed with our vacation, the statistics were not in our favor (normal September shows a 70% of force 4 winds for more than 3 hours), but there is nothing we can do about that.

The Good

The Bad

  • When the wind is blowing, the area is nice and fun, the chop gets high enough to get some good jumps on the way out from the beach, mainly, but the way back is nice as well. I have never been in a tropical windsurfing area, and the blue-green waters are very attractive and fun to sail on: the colour of the water changes from deep blue to green to a slightly darker shade of green, to go back to a light blue and so on.
  • The surf station is well equipped, plenty of boards, and sails, all pre rigged, a good variety of the same sizes, so they don't run out when everybody is going with 5.0. It is easily possible to change boards as the wind conditions vary; they even have a few young very friendly locals to help you carrying the sails to and from the beach (not that the distance is very long, 25m, but the sand does get really hot).
  • When the wind is blowing, the instructors from the surf station in the afternoon are often on the water demonstrating a variety of freestyle moves.
  • The surf station organizes some activities, in case you get sick of the ones from your hotel: Movie nights right on the beach on Mondays, on Saturdays there seems to always be a voodoo party somewhere in town.
  • The wind is irregular, due to the presence of other hotels in the bay (either there or being built).
  • The area for total beginners is pretty good, behind the surf station, a little artificial lagoon, but it is very small. The beginner's area on the sea itself is very small, maybe 25 meters long, and for someone who is not comfortable water starting or would like to learn, there isn't much room for doing so, without being in the deep water where you cannot stand, or being bothered by other people that use the flat water area to practice free style maneuvers and jybes.
  • Lessons seemed expensive (but I wouldn't have anything to compare with)





Other windsurfing areas in Egypt:

Click on the map to view an interactive map of Egypt

Dahab, which seems to be better for wind and mostly more regular, with a bigger shallow area for beginner water starters
El Tur
Safaga apparently is more constant for strong winds.


Moon beach: A british owned surf center
A French sports group (UCPA) organises sometimes some windsurfing trips on the Red sea, more in the adventure type, you sleep in tents in the desert, and the nearest town is 1-hour drive from the camp.
Makadi bay
Other Hurghada links
Other info about windsurfing Egypt


  • We stayed at the Aladdin Beach hotel (15km from the center of the town of Hurghada and 5 km from the airport) only about 150 m from the surf center. The travel agent recommended this hotel. The room was spacious and comfortable, with air conditioning and satellite TV. Disappointment was the price of bottled water and the variety of the food, we expected more local specialties.
  • A bit cheaper and nearer to the surf center is the Jasmine Beach Hotel, sister hotel to the Aladdin.
  • These are the 2 closest to the surf center, Hurghada is a resort town, so there are plenty to choose from, but be aware that they might be quite distant (up to 5 km) from the surf center.


  • While alcohol is not illegal in Egypt, it is hard to find, and therefore expensive, especially in the hotels. It is illegal to import alcohol in Egypt, but a good, and legal thing to do, is to buy a few cases of beer, or hard alcohol at the airport in the duty free when you arrive. Make sure that you hide them in your luggage before going to the hotel, as most hotel specify that it is not allowed to bring in food and beverages.
  • Especially for women, but applicable to men also: Egypt is a mainly muslim country (there are about 20 million cristians) therefore it is nice to show respect. When in the vincinity of the hotel or surf center you can dress any way you like, but when leaving these premises, please respect other people's religions and wear decent clothing, women should at least cover their shoulders and legs at least to the knees. Men can wear anything, but a t-shirt and a pair of pants is recommended.
  • If you go and visit the archeological sites, remember that it is these people's history and that also people will come and visit these sites for many years to come, scratching your name on a nice statue is a very nice sign of stupidity. When visiting tombs and other places that have been closed to light and normal air for thousands of years, DO NOT TAKE FLASH PICTURES as the extra light will cause the hieroglyphs to lose their sharpness and colour and also DO NOT TOUCH THE WALLS, this will also cause the hieroglyphs to fade and even crumble, these things are extremely fragile. I know it sounds stupid to warn you now, but despite all the warnings and the signs, during our visits people were still touching and taking flash pictures, it does not only get the local guards and guides mad, it is a blatant sign or retardeness, stupidity and disrespect. If you want pictures you may take as many non flash ones (for a fee), or buy postcards, they are better anyways than any picture you could take yourself.
  • Bargain: when buying anything (almost) you should bargain, it is expected from you and will definitively lower your budgeted expenses, it may take time, but is enjoyable. Remember to bargain in a friendly and civilised way.