international windsurfing association
 - Archive News
     .. All News
     .. Events
     .. Aloha
     .. FW
     .. IFCA
     .. IMCO
     .. MJOD
     .. PWA
     .. Raceboard
     .. Other
 - 2005 Events
 - Windsurf E-News
Archive News: Other
News Item
Windsurf to new heights
Posted On:  01/09/2003

Nisar Malik, a 45 year old producer of TV documentaries decided to take a little holiday. On July 12th, he set out, supported by his cousin Wajahat Malik, on a one month expedition to windsurf on the high altitude lakes in the North of Pakistan. The highest he had windsurfed before was 3177m in the Himalayas in 1994. The first lake they headed for was Sheosar (Blind Lake) is at 4142m on one of the worlds highest plateaus, the Deosai Plains which is accessible by road, albeit a very tough jeep ride in antiquated machines on such narrow tracks that at times you can lose paint off the body work. They used this lake to acclimatize and test all their gear. From there, they went to a town called Gilgit where they bought supplies before driving to the Ishkoman Valley where the real journey began.

22 porters, donkeys, horses and Yaks took six days (from 2500m to 4500m at our highest point), to get to Karambar lake (4272m) where Nisar windsurfed on the 26th of July. The trek covered a very diverse terrain of Juniper and Birch forests, dry desert conditions, rock and boulders, glaciers that take 3 hours to cross, climbs and descents that take your breath away, Rock slides, ice falls, ice melt streams, sulphur springs, wild onions and clusters of roses growing in a desolate landscape, all of a size that is undeniably massive. The scenery and the wonders it contained made them feel very small and humble. Everything after all is of gigantic proportions.

It took another day to get to the last lake, Sirkhan Jui 3786m (Red Lake), which straddles the Pakistan - Afghanistan border at the Darwaza Pass leading to the Wakhan Corridor. Here the Oxus river meets the Pamir river and history comes together. (Read the book the Great Game by Peter Hopkirk). The people are a melting pot of ethnic backgrounds and are some of the most soft and humbling people in Pakistan. Thanks especially goes to them.

As for the windsurfing, it was not great, winds were erratic and unreliable, but the thrill of windsurfing such beautiful and unspoilt lakes was the most cleansing experience!

Some technical details:
- The three lakes were all windsurfed within a period of 15 days.
Approx distances: Islamabad - Skardu 15 hours drive time (On the KKH - The Karakoram Highway which leads to China over the Khunjerab Pass at 5000m)
Skardu - Deosai Plains 6 hours drive time (Dirt track for 4WD vehicles only)
Skardu - Gilgit 6 hours drive time (Road, bad condition single lane)
Gilgit - Bilhans 6 hours drive time (2 hours on road and 4 hours jeep track)
Bilhans - Karambar 5 - 6 day trek (Medium to hard trek for amature trecker)
Karambar to Sirkhan Jui 2 day trek or 1 day horseback (Medium to hard trek or tiring horseback)
And all the way back!
Equipment: Two Fanatic boards, The Viper and the 90.
One 6.1 Fanatic sail and Tushingham 7.1 and 9.1 Max sails.
EPX Masts and Prolimit Booms.
O'Neill wetsuits.
Heights were measured by Thuraya Sat Phones using the GPS manager. Waypoints are stored in the phones.

Nisar Malik (Pakistani/UK dual national, currently living in Islamabad)
4 children - 2 boys and two girls, married to Catherine, currently making travel and adventure theme documentaries/packages for the local and international markets.

If you want to windsurf to new heights or get a copy of the expedition film contact Nisar at Sponsors donations would be much appreciated!
web design Christopher Gibson