| Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Private surf rescue lessons

Have fun and stay safe with lifeguard lessons for children in Dubai

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There are plenty of expensive ways to entertain our children here in Dubai, but we’re also lucky enough to live near one of the most natural forms of entertainment that doesn’t cost a penny to enjoy: the big, blue beautiful sea. There’s nothing better than a day at the beach, splashing around in the waves, but recent tragic drownings have made us all a little more wary of the dangers. None of us of sane mind want to keep our kids locked away in their rooms, but it’s important they’re aware of the dangers. The Pirates Surf Rescue courses run by Goal Attained make sure that our kids have all the knowledge they require to stay safe in the ocean, and even help others should they need it.

An experienced fitness company, Goal Attained offers courses and specialised training in multiple sports for both adults and school-aged kids. The Pirates Surf Rescue programme caters specifically to youngsters who want to learn all there is to know about staying safe while playing in the surf. Under the motto ‘the beach becomes a classroom’, ‘Little Nippers,’ for children from ages 6-13, teaches kids how and where to swim in the sea, body boarding and surfing skills as well as various life saving techniques using rescue boards and torpedo buoys. They are given first aid training, learning CPR from the age of 10, and are taught the basics of anatomy, physiology and the respiratory system. How to spot a rip tide and tons of other valuable safety information, such as what to do if they get stung by a jellyfish (and no, you don’t have to wee on it), also form part of the course. Plus, they get fit dashing around on the sand and swimming in the sea whilst have loads of fun too.

Buoyed by the prospect of learning a skill that could one day earn her some extra pocket money, I persuade my youngest daughter to sample one of the classes available with Goal Attained. On a hot Saturday morning on Umm Suqeim beach, swarming with busy children all learning various skills, we almost join the UAE Surf School by mistake, but are pointed in the right direction to Candy and her team of Pirates by a friendly instructor. Surfing etiquette binds like-minded folk together (a bit like owning a dog or a VW campervan I suspect), and all the tutors know each other. In fact Goal Attained works alongside the UAE Surf School, borrowing their boards and expertise in exchange for tips on first aid training.

The Surf Rescue courses are generally 10 weeks long and are held at two different venues: Umm Suqeim and Kite Surf beach, where they also have a purpose built air-conditioned log cabin with a gym and classroom for theory lessons. The young Pirates we meet are half way into their third term when we join them, so my daughter is given a ‘really cool’ team t-shirt, complete with skull and crossbones, to help her look the part. Then the lesson begins with stretching warm-ups, a jog along the sand, followed by a quick surfing lesson in the sea. Next comes some lying, jumping and running games, then a couple of mock rescues using both boards and rescue tubes. This involves a volunteer waving from the sea, and two intrepid rescuers racing out to save her. Making sure the head is kept stable, the rescuers then drag the ‘patient’ back to shore before popping them down in the recovery position. It all looks very impressive, and I find myself hoping that there’s a tiny Pirate around should I ever run into trouble.

If your mini lifeguard wants to continue their training after the age of 13 and possibly take things to another level, they can join the Senior Programme. From 14 years through to adults this course offers training in all forms of rescue, including jet-ski and helicopter rescue, culminating in an externally adjudicated exam with an internationally recognised certificate in surf life saving. At six hours long, the exam sounds pretty tough, but the kids that are emotionally and physically able to handle the pressure can start to train for this course at 12. Being a strong swimmer is vitally important, and Goal Attained has access to the Al Nasr swimming pool for extra coaching if needed. During training they work under a senior lifeguard until they reach 14 when they hopefully become a fully qualified Junior Lifeguard.

It’s a growing ‘sport’, and Candy hopes to organise lifeguarding competitions against visiting teams from Australia and South Africa, and to work closely with the Dubai Police in patrolling the beaches.

The kids in this class certainly seem to be having a great time – and they’re learning skills that could potentially save lives, including their own. It could take a while though before my daughter starts earning some extra pocket money.

Classes are 4.30pm-5.30pm Tuesdays and Thursdays at Kite Surf beach, and 8.30am-10am or 10am-11am Saturdays at Umm Suqeim beach. A 10-week course costs Dhs1,000 plus a one off registration of Dhs200. The next course starts July 1. For more information contact Candy on 055 527 8931 or visit www.GoalAttained.com.

Time Out Dubai,

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good i may put my children to join

Review by : lucky