One of the very best things about living here in the Middle East is the fact that we get virtually uninterrupted awesome weather all year round. Yes, it gets horrifically hot and humid in the summer months, something that I am yet to actually experience first-hand, but the fact remains that it is excellent weather for being outdoors. On top of that we have some incredible beaches virtually on our doorsteps and easy to access.
I have already discovered a few of the stretches of beach along the Dubai coastline, from Nesnass beach where the kitesurfing crowd hang out, to JBR beach, with the Palm to the right and the towering skyscrapers and apartments of the marina as a backdrop, and where I regularly play Ultimate with other like-minded sports enthusiasts.
Friday saw me check out one of the main beaches here in Dubai, Kite Beach, as I signed up to attend a charity event called ‘Paddle for the Planet’, during which loads of people got together for an early morning paddle out into the ocean in aid of ocean based projects globally. I had just seen the event posted on good old Facebook and figured “why not?” I was due to be off work on Saturday and there was no wind forecast, so no kitesurfing to be done. It just sounded like it might be a laugh, and it was.
Kite Beach is one of those classic stretches of golden sand that you see in holiday brochures, complete with permanent wooden and palm sun shaders, volleyball courts and a range of civilised beach amenities, such as showers. There is even a cool little gym called The Shack, which has the feel of a mini Venice Beach vibe going on. I am actually going to try and attend a session one morning as I can’t think of a better place to pump some iron than right on the beach.
The turnout was impressive, with a whole host of paddlers, from surf-skiers to stand-up paddle-boarders, to kayakers, to Dragon Boats, surfboards and more. There was a big group photo on the beach at about half past 8 before we were all given the go ahead to launch ourselves into the water and paddle. I headed out as far as most people would dare and decided to turn back once I realised that I was, in fact, on my own and didn’t really fancy the idea of drifting off to Saudi. The view on the way back to shore was breathtaking, with the Burj al Arab off to the right, the towering, futuristic spectacle of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, to the left and the low rises of Jumeirah, with the beautiful minarets of the many mosques punctuating the view. I hadn’t really fully appreciated previously just how azure the sea is in Dubai, with this being one of the key things evident on the paddle back to solid ground.
After the hard (yeah, right!) work of paddling was done, there were loads of other fun activities to keep people entertained on the beach, from the mobile climbing wall, to a pretty awesome double decker bouncy castle, to a slackline, which I had to have a go at. Actually, several, as it was certainly a lot harder than people make it look. I think I managed about one to two steps each time before wobbling and promptly falling off. Still, it was a laugh and there were plenty of freebies in the form of energy drinks and snacks on offer to keep energy levels topped up.
As far as a cracking start to a day off goes, even if that day off started at 5am, I couldn’t think of a better one 🙂