Discover how to hang ten in the city
Dubai's breaks have helped carve a thriving surfing scene that, for the region, is in a league of its own. Despite popular belief that the Gulf’s waters are always flat, there are easily around 100 days of surf-able conditions during the winter months when north-westerly winds blow onshore and generate waves of up to four feet. As a result, a brilliant surfing culture has emerged in the past decade.
Where to find the best breaks
The city's most famous break, Sunset Beach, is located right next to one of Dubai's most iconic landmarks, Burj Al Arab, which makes for some spectacular surf photography. Pretty scenes aside, it’s also one of the best spots to find that perfect swell. Mamzar Park and Kite Beach are also popular with budding surfers in the city.
Long-time expat and co-founder of surf and lifestyle concept Surf House Dubai, Scott Chambers, believes that the city’s surf scene is second to none, and wants visitors to experience its magic.
“Our vision has always been to show the world that you can, in fact, surf in Dubai,” says Chambers. “People have been surfing here since the late 1980s. It’s grown tremendously from literally a handful of expats at the start to a now-estimated 2,000 active regular surfers, and an annual event that attracts international attention. While the waves might not be as big as in Australia, the accessibility to quality instruction, the equipment available and culture of the local community is world-class."
Kit yourself out for the waves
As you might have guessed, Surf House is something of a Dubai surfing haven, so it’s only natural that they’d offer a one-stop shop. Whether you need apparel, a new surfboard, or just some wax and good banter, this is the place to go.
Surf House also rents boards for just AED75 an hour. Alternatively, try Fahrenheit Beach Sports’ Surf School Arabia in Jumeirah 1 for hourly rentals, starting at AED200. If it’s wakeboarding or wakesurfing rental gear you’re after, head to places like Xtreme Wake UAE in Dubai Marina or Sea Riders at Dubai Creek.
Get on a board behind a boat
If you’re up for more high-speed thrills, you’ll be pleased to know the wakesurfing and wakeboarding scene is also alive and well in Dubai. There’s a plethora of spots around the city to hire a boat and take some dips and spills behind a boat.
Head to places like Xtreme Wake UAE, Sea Riders and Fahrenheit Beachsports for boat hires priced by the hour, and they’ll usually throw in the gear and a bit of coaching for free. Expect to pay around AED600 per hour for the boat. You’ll also find a number of smaller rental shacks along popular beach spots such as Kite Beach – this beach is also home to Kite N Surf where you can rent kitesurfing equipment or book lessons from AED200.
Go from novice to pro
Surf House’s in-house studio is home to a range of yoga and surf conditioning classes, as well as surf and SUP training. Located in Umm Suqeim 2, the company offers lessons tailored to surfing novices, with instructors helping you with paddling, catching waves, standing up and manoeuvring a surfboard. Private surf lessons cost AED350 per person.
Surf School Arabia, a division of Fahrenheit Beach Sports, also offers budget-friendly private lessons for just AED250 per person. This includes a one hour lesson and 30 minutes freestyling.
Lastly, it may not be surfing in the sea as such, but if you just want to brush up on your skills why not try out the Wipe Out Flowrider at Wild Wadi Waterpark or the WaveOz 180 FloRider at Laguna Waterpark in La Mer? Grab a board, jump on as water shoots out and try not to fall off.
The best surf-inspired eats
Dubai’s breaks are not just famed for action and adventure, it’s also the ideal location to grab a bite to eat. Head to Surf House and dine at Single Fin Cafe, where the vibe is laidback and the friendly regulars are sun, sand and sea-obsessed. Dubai’s vegan community tends to gravitate to Single Fin due to their extensive vegan options, and their coffee is widely lauded as well.
At Kite Beach, Salt is a popular stop for the city's hungry hipsters. The food truck turned burger restaurant is famed for its unique creations, such as the spicy Hook Wagyu beef slider served in a butter bun, and the delicious Chicken Cheetos sandwich.
The Surf Cafe is another laidback choice, encouraging visitors to pop in either their suits or board shorts straight from the beach. The menu offers everything from nutritious breakfasts to burgers, to fresh seafood and sushi.