Ride a robot shark, fly with a water-powered jet pack and more
Ride in The Seabreacher, the ‘sports car of the ocean’ Skimming across the surface of the Arabian Gulf in a mechanical shark is not included in most people’s average trip to the beach. But this is Dubai, which as we know, is not your average city. As we splash in and out of the water, going at speeds of up to 100kph, there’s only one thing going through our mind – we are living the life of a Bond villain. We’ve left the shores of a man-made island paradise and are speeding through the sea in a shark (which is worth mentioning again). You don’t have to want to take over the world and be in a battle to the death with the world’s most suave secret agent to experience this though. This is the Seabreacher. You can book a ride in it from Rixos The Palm Dubai and it is seriously fun. The Seabreacher has been on Rixos’ shores since April, and Time Out Dubai were lucky enough to be the first to try it. As we slide into the submersible watercraft we can feel the eyes of the resort on us. We feel cool, as well as excited.
That coolness soon evaporates, though. Not only is it pretty warm when we’re squeezed into the small two-man shark with our captain, but the ride is so thrilling it’s tough to keep quiet. Frankly, we scream as the engine revvs like a Ferrari and it jumps in and out of the waves. The Seabreacher, operated by Water Adventure Dubai, can submerge up to two metres below the surface and as it dips, twists and turns, the experience takes our breath away. It is a white-knuckle ride but one that is also very safe, the captain is well-trained and has bags of experience, while there’s always a safety boat close by. Being able to see the Palm and the Dubai coastline from this angle is a real treat and the ride is as exhilarating as it gets. We spend 15 minutes in the cockpit, which is the perfect time, any more and the captain’s hearing might have been permanently damaged from our screeching. Dhs500 for 15 minutes, Dhs725 per person based on two sharing for The Pro-Surfer package, which includes a private cabana, burger and beverages, plus a one-hour paddleboard session. Daily, 9am-6pm. Rixos The Palm Dubai, Palm Jumeirah, www.rixos.com (04 457 5555).
Flyboarding This is a seriously exhilarating experience on the water. Flyboarding jets riders across the water, bounding and bouncing off the sea, breaching the waves like a dolphin and hovering like an Avenger. Flyboards were invented by French jet-ski champion Franky Zapata in 2012 and has since become a worldwide sensation. Celebrities love it and US rapper Drake took to it ahead of his gig here in Dubai in March. The board is attached to a jet-ski, which provides the engine that propels it through the water and the air. Boots are attached to the board, which the rider is strapped into and specially designed water nozzles located below the unit provide the lift using water jets. Riders must be over 18 and confident swimmers. First-timers will be assisted by experienced instructors. Dhs300 per person for 20 minutes. Tue-Sat 10am-noon, 3pm-5pm. Jumeirah Harbour, www.searide-dubai.com (055 157 8393).
Kneeboarding Developed in Southern California around 35 years ago as a result of surfboarders using homemade knee and belly boards behind boats, the towsport is now fully fledged and in Dubai. As the name suggests, you ride the board on your knees, holding a rope attached to a speedboat. The board has knee pads for comfort and control. One advantage of Kneeboarding over wakeboarding is that it’s easier to progress your skills and you’re much closer to the water if you fall in. Dhs300 for 15 minutes, Dhs800 for a 30-minute beginner’s course. Daily 9am-sunset. Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Resort, The Walk, JBR; and Sheraton Jumeirah Beach Resort, The Walk, JBR, www.adventuresports.ae (050 321 8840).
Zapcating If you have a need for speed, get ready to feel some serious power over the waves. Head to Watercooled at JA Jebel Ali Golf Resort for a blistering Zapcat experience. Zapcats are customised two-person speedboats with a dual hull equipped with powerful 50hp engines. Riders only get a chance to co-pilot the boat through the twists and turns. The Zapcat may only be a two-person boat, but groups are catered for too – the crew at Watercooled will take your mates on a speed boat to zip alongside your Zapcat so they can take embarrassing photos of you. Dhs250 for 30 minutes, Dhs1,300 for two hours (six people). Watercooled, JA Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa, Jebel Ali. Other location: DoubleTree by Hilton – Jumeirah Beach, The Walk, JBR, www.watercooleddubai.com (04 887 6771).
Hoverboarding Another zany Franky Zapata creation, the Hoverboard is like snowboarding on water. The Hoverboard uses a thrust system similar to the Flyboard and riders can do tricks and stunts in the air or on the sea skimming across the waves. Hoverboarding is more difficult for newbies to adopt and Sea Ride Dubai recommends that enthusiasts have at least one hour’s Flyboarding experience before trying out on a Hoverboard. Dhs400 per person for 20 minutes. Tue-Sat 10am-noon, 3pm-5pm. Jumeirah Harbour, www.searide-dubai.com (055 157 8393).
Fly Fish If you love a watersport where you can bet your kids’ inheritance that you’ll fall into the water, then Fly Fish is for you. Like an evolved banana boat, the Fly Fish is a flat rubber craft that can hold between two and six people that is pulled along by a speedboat. Riders can lie flat or sit on the giant inflatable boat while it picks up seed, which causes it to rise and dip. A dunking is guaranteed. Dhs150. Daily 9am-sunset Dubai International Marine Club, Al Sufouh Road; The Ritz-Carlton Dubai, JBR; and Kempinski Hotel & Residences Palm Jumeirah, www.seawake.ae (055 166 3344).
Stand-up jet-skiing Adrenaline junkies with Go Pro cameras might make this variation on traditional jet-skiing look hard, but it’s much easier than it appears. As the name suggests, you stand up on custom jet-skis rather than sitting down. Starting from a kneeling position, riders progress to a standing position. You’ll need to be a good swimmer to try this one out, and it uses all your muscles, so you’ll need to be physically fit, too. Once mastered, riders can impress with stunts including backflips and 360° turns. Dhs250 for 35 minutes. Sat-Thu 9am-sunset. Marjan Island Resort and Spa, Marjan Island, Ras Al Khaimah, www.facebook.com/flyfishwatersport (055 742 7524).
Flying inflatable boat As barmy as this one may sound, it’s a fun ride. A microlight aircraft attached to an inflatable boat and fitted with propellers for a thrust takes off and lands in the water. Passengers fly with a pilot and soar above the sea. Riders need to weigh less than 85kg to take flight and should be aged over 14. The best time to take a boat fight is in the early morning or at sunset when the wind is best and there’s great light. Dhs400 per person. Sat-Thu 9am-sunset depending on weather conditions. Marjan Island Resort and Spa, Marjan Island, Ras Al Khaimah, www.facebook.com/flyfishwatersport (055 742 7524).
Wakesurfing Wakeboarding is so last year. Watersports enthusiasts have graduated to the next big thing – Wakesurfing. The board is the size of a small surfboard. Riders initially stay three to four metres behind the boat they are attached to by rope. The boat is specially designed so you can add ballast to create a big wave behind it. Once out on the open water the surfer can release the rope and ride the surf created by the boat. This new sport is a cool alternative for the city’s surfers. Dhs300 for 30 minutes. Daily 7am-sunset. Dubai International Marine Club, Al Sufouh Road; The Ritz-Carlton Dubai, JBR, Kempinski Hotel & Residences Palm Jumeirah, www.seawake.ae (055 166 3344).
Jetovator Try the Jetovator on the Palm this summer. Available to ride from May 31, and operated by water Adventure Dubai, this jet-powered flying watercraft is works with a jet-ski and is like riding a Flyboard, only it has handlebars and a seat. The Jetovator’s 40-foot hose attaches to the jet-ski, redirecting the water thrust from that watercraft and pushing the Jetovator and its rider into the air. There are also levers to steer the craft and speed freaks can propel to up to 25mph. Dhs400 for 30 Minutes, Dhs850 for one hour. Daily 8am-7pm. The Beach, JBR; Rixos The Palm Dubai, Palm Jumeirah, www.rixos.com, www.wateradventure.ae,(04 440 8949).