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All you have to know about surfing in Dubai

The first time people started surfing in Dubai was around 1990. During that period there were only a couple of guys chasing the waves in the Gulf. The sandy beaches of Dubai were not what they are today. Surfers say that the best part about the 90s was that you could pick and enjoy any beach in Dubai you wanted. There were no crowds and no hassle. Just the waves and the freedom you would feel catching a wave. What an exciting cardio workout! Depending on the tide and which sandbanks are active, you can simply pick any spot and give the water a whirl. 

However, since they constructed the World Islands and three Palm Islands, now you only have two surf convenient beaches in Dubai. Because of the massive man-made islands in the world, the rest of the coastline doesn’t get the big waves it used to. These constructions stop waves before they’re able to break near the shore.

Surfing in Dubai aerial view of a surfer
It surprises people a lot when they see how wonderful the swell in Dubai is.

What you need to know about surfing in Dubai

From 2005 to 2018 the surfing scene in the Arabian Gulf was thriving exponentially, growing from no more than a handful surfers in the mid-nineties to the Surf Dubai membership alone counting over 1000 surfers.

This growth has a lot to do with the influx of many emigrants from South Africa, Brazil, the US, and Australia. Dubai has had luck in welcoming some ex-professionals who moved here and continued to share their love for surfing. The U.A.E’s first surfing competition, Surf House Dubai’s Sunset Open happened in 2010. It was a beautiful display of the talent now growing in Dubai. If you are looking for a cheap personal trainer Dubai, a surfing instructor could be your best choice. The modern Dubai’s surf community celebrates their 7th year of the Corona Sunset Open 2018 at Nikki Beach Resort & Spa. Such exciting days for surfing in Dubai!

The surf season in Dubai

The season in Dubai is from October-April but the best and most consistent months are December, January, and February. The water temperature is at 25-30 degrees Celsius when the season starts and when it ends. From December to February temperatures drop just a little, to 20-22 degrees Celsius.

The biggest crescendos happen when strong low-pressure systems rise at the top of the gulf in Kuwait. At the same time, the strong Northerly winds blast through Bahrain and Qatar. The distance in the Arabian Gulf where the wind can blow over water is 1000 miles. Even though this technically doesn’t qualify as a solid ‘Ground Swell’, because it would require a distance of over 2000 miles, The Gulf has great days of solid waves. Sometimes we can hardly believe we’re in the Arabian Gulf. During the winter months, the waves get even triple their usual size! However, on the rare times when waves get that much bigger, the wind usually makes them messy.

A huge wave
The average wave height recorded in Dubai was just above 2 feet. The highest wave ever was in 2007, at 11 feet high.

Surfing equipment

During the earlier years, surfing gear was very scarce, we dare to say it was almost non-existent! But with the founding of Surf House Dubai, along with a number of other outlets, the surfing goods are very present and in high demand now. World class surfboards and accessories are now everywhere.

Unlike many other water sports, surfing only requires a surfboard and persistence. It takes determination to be able to glide over the ocean waves. The essential surfing equipment consists of a surfboard, fins, leash, wax, and wetsuit. Then as you progress and improve your skills on the board, you’ll desire more gadgets. You’ll need a bag to protect your favorite stick, skin and ear protection and items like longboards, mini-mals, and SUPs.

Some attire recommendations 

We recommend boardies and a quality rash vest. Covering up is important while surfing in Dubai. Dubai is a Muslim country, which means you should at least cover your torso. Do not walk around town half naked, this is very important for men especially. Women are not discriminated when in the company of men, but it is not smart to strut in a bikini. This country is very conservative. On the plus side, a full suit will protect you from sunburn.

Girl holding a surfboard on the beach at sunset
When going surfing in Dubai, it is highly recommended to hire boards because of the fickle swell.

4 spots where you can experience surfing in Dubai

Are you dreaming of a travel-and-surf vacation? If you are already a surfer, you’ll fall in love with Dubai’s beaches. It is also a great way to keep up the cardio during Ramadan. and if you want to learn how to do it, the surfing conditions here are quite ideal. Book an unforgettable holiday in Dubai and experience the most popular surfing spots in Dubai. Before we list the 4 best spots where you can learn surfing in Dubai, note that the most consistent months when surfing conditions are optimal are between December and March. At times the waves in November to April are good, but it’s all up to chance in that period. So, be sure to check the weather and wind conditions when you plan your surf-vacation.

1. Sunset Beach

Start your surf-adventure vacation at one of the busiest beaches, expanding in the heart of Jumeirah. Sunset Beach is a beautiful place where you can work on your surf moves, also known as one of the best workouts for a toned body. There you can enjoy the iconic Burj Al Arab as a backdrop. As a great swell surfing spot, the beach is always packed with board-riders and surfers, so anticipate crowds. 

2. North Beach

Another popular surfing spot, the North Beach is located near Sharjah. It is a small sandy beach, ideal for surfers. The beach is not avoided by tourists and other beach-lovers like paddle boarders and kite surfers who love to try the waves here. The cross-onshore winds make it a perfect beach to enjoy the sport and the waves.

3. Tim’s Reef

Surfers should visit one of the most exciting spots to learn surfing in Dubai, the Fujairah. Its location on the east side of UAE, while facing the Indian Ocean make it an ideal surfing swell. The summer months extend the solid surfing conditions with favorable weather and winds. It is an hour outside of Dubai though, so check the surfing conditions first before planning the road trip to Tim’s reef.

4. Surf Sharjah & Surf Ajman

Despite popular belief that the Gulf is flat, there are approximately 100 days of great conditions during the winter months. On those surf-able days, the north-westerly winds blow onshore, generating waves of up to 4ft. But if you need a quieter surfing spot, the Sharjah beaches & Ajman beaches are ideal for your needs. The sandy beaches are extremely enjoyable, and you can hit the waves freely to make the most out of your surf-vacation.

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