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Riding The Waves

These might not be dazzling beaches of Hawaii with high waves and impressive shorelines...where the sun always shines and the tide's always up! But UAE surfing enthusiasts try and make the most of what the waves in this part of the world offer.

The sea beckons as the weather picks lovely hues of winter. You could laze all day at the beach and get bronzed under the gleaming sun. Surfing is exhilarating and comes with truckloads of fun. A beginner would need an instructor to help him/her take the plunge and learn to ride the waves.

Whatever is your definition of fun it is not only the bleached hair dudes who appreciate this sport. You could also get into your wet suit and get wild.

YT cruised its way to Jumeirah to offer you fresh surfing scenes from the other side of land. We met Jehangir Khan, Events Co-ordinator, Sheraton Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai who is a surfing enthusiast.

Charming, crazy and lively, Jehangir loves the water and the outdoors and believes that life is to be lived Kingsize as we live only once. "I love surfing next to go-karting, music and swimming," he chirps. "Surfing is extreme but hey, it's the best of both worlds for me!" says Jay (his nickname) with a faraway look in his eyes, which meant he would rather be in a wet suit, riding the waves than be formally dressed, seated at a table.

He laughingly recalls his stints, "I am die hard fan of board surfing. Unfortunately Dubai cannot boast of riding waves so I have to make do with what is available. Like the other night there was bit of a storm brewing and good ole me.bundled my surfing equipment together and made a dash to the ocean."

"It is an addictive but relaxing sport and a great stress buster!" he exclaims. YT decided to get to the boards and sails of surfing along with two instructors from Al Boom Marine. You could be the best athlete to strut your stuff on the surf but surfing requires a lot more dedication and balance is very important during the first stages of learning. And it definitely takes more that a couple of moves to impress.

Simon Duke, Instructor, Al Boom Marine, Dubai.
Simon loves water sports and enjoys going out with friends. "Surfing to me is more of a spiritual feeling", he asserts. He explains that the surfing is more relaxing and requires concentration, unlike football. Where one can just go and kick the ball! "And in this sport you are on your own," he says.

"Surfing in Dubai is not very popular, though it is a craze among youngsters between ages 16-19. The percentage of wind surfers is only about 5-10 percent," he confirms. When questioned about the different kinds of surfing sports in Dubai, Simon informs that one would be long boarding if he or she used a 7 feet board, which requires small waves. Or one could be windsurfing using surfboards and sails. Wind Surfing requires more of wind and less of waves. And all types of surfing require balance, co-ordination, determination and physically fitness.

YT get quizzical on the dangers of the sport. "You stand a chance of drowning and one has to be wary of sharks depending on the destinations. I know people who go to surf after they spot a shark in the water only to experience that adrenaline rush," says Simon excitedly.

Simon discloses, "some of the hottest destinations in the world are Hawaii, Fiji, S. Africa, S. France and Australia and those who want to get ridin'...go ahead, it's a wild life!"
Justin Robertson, Head of Staff Training and Professional, Al Boom Marine, Dubai.
'I am a Nice guy' says Justin. A Professional surfer who has taken part in PWA, French Connection World Championships and QuickSilver World Championships. He goes to describe Dubai's surfing scene, "Dubai is a lousy place for surfing. But beginners on the other hand can give it a shot in more sheltered areas."

He says, "the tricky part in surfing is when conditions get too much to handle. One must remember that he/she is fighting against the sea." He recounts some of his amazing experiences, "it was crazy. I went windsurfing far into the sea and my sail just ripped off due to the presence of strong winds. And I just sat on the board and waited for someone to get me back ashore! Another incident I remember was when I went wavesailing and I did a flip 35 feet in the air but before I made it back I got stuck in my harness and got knocked out."

"But surfing is a lovely sport since one has got no powers, no artificial environments except mother nature and that incredible adrenaline buzz," coos Justin.

YT recently witnessed the first ever Swatch Wave Tour2000, which culminated in Dubai at the Wild Wadi Water Park. The Swatch Wave Tour2000 took place in Norway, Long Beach California, and San Diego and pulled off moves that people have only dreamed about.

The final Swatch Wave Tour 2000 in Dubai showcased talents of world class surfers. And it is a start of the surfing scene being officially recognised in Dubai.

Surfing gives one a sense of freedom. You could be perfecting your manoeuvres and riding the waves when you hit the beach next time. So the next time try to do a lot more than just soak the sun!

For learners Al Boom Marine will help you ride the waves. For information call 04-3476982.
An hour's class of surfing will cost Dhs 100.
Text: Carolina D'Souza
Courtesy Young and Trendy

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