Before leaving for Dubai, I casually kept an eye on the surf forecast. It was mostly flat with the occasional 0.5 to 1m blip. My expectations were low.
Two days after I arrived a blip was forecast for the next morning. The Surf House surf report recommended getting in early, as it would be gone by the afternoon. So I kept calm and carried on.
The next morning I got up early and sneaked out before my missus and daughter woke up. Then quickly flip flopped down to Sunset Beach to check the swell. It was waist high and clean, with only two people out. I was frothing!
I raced to the Surf House for opening time (7am), hired a longboard, left my bag behind the counter and legged it back to shore.
There were only 3 other surfers out that morning, 2 resident Aussies and a local girl. All were friendly and gave each other space. According to one of the Aussies it does get a little crowded in the winter, but it’s a far cry from Bondi.
I only hired the board for an hour but surfed for two, as it was sooo much fun. After catching loads of little peelers, with a handful of straight handers thrown in, I reluctantly dragged myself out.The Surf House staff were stoked that I grabbed a great morning of waves and never charged me for the extra hour. I helped myself to a warm shower, ordered a flat white and chatted to the resident skater/surfer/barista Tomas Campos Fox from Chile.
Tomas waxed lyrical about the waves and surf scene in Dubai. I must have appeared unconvinced, so he showed me this video as proof:
When I returned to the beach later that morning the waves had died off to mere ankle snappers. It remained flat for the remaining 8 days of my stay. But it was a really special morning.
What you need to know about surfing in Dubai
Best swells are during winter between December and March. November and April sees occasional waves as well (like my morning session). June to September is mostly flat and unbearably hot.
Waves are often waist to head high in winter. On the rare times when waves are bigger, the wind usually messes things up.
Your standard shortboard will do you proud. Remember, it’s mostly beachbreaks around here. So a slightly wider and fatter board will help.
Longboards, mini-mals and SUPs are also a popular choice.
You can bring your own board, but given the fickle swell I highly recommend hiring.No wetsuits are required at anytime of the year. Maybe an overcast winter dawny will be more comfortable in a shorty, but it’s not essential.
I recommend boardies and a quality rash vest. Covering up is important. Not only will it protect you from sunburn, Dubai is a Muslim country, which means you should at least cover your torso. Do not wander around town in a bikini, especially if you’re male.
Thanks to all those who tweeted me with advice during my stay. Because of you I now know:
• You can go on a surf trip to Oman from Dubai:
— DealHubFX (@DealHubFX) April 6, 2015
• When it’s flat there’s some fun fake waves to enjoy at Wild Wadi or Wadi Adventure:
— Surf Republic (@thesurfrepublic) April 10, 2015
• Poisonous snakes are rumoured to be on the loose. Not confirmed:
@surferdaduk I'm pretty sure they have poisonous sea snakes there :0
— Andy (@theseaandthesky) April 6, 2015
UPDATE: Poisonous sea snakes are a genuine danger. I thought Andy was winding me up, but it turns out he saw two sea snakes when he visited in 2001.
And finally, thanks to Jodi, Matt, Hope and George. Without whom our trip wouldn’t have been half as much fun.