Where to ride the new craze for wakeboarding's younger brother
One of the original behind-the-speedboat water sports is seeing a resurgence in the city. Kelly Crane learns more.
Wakesurfing has earned its wings as a legitimate water sport. Unlike wakeboarding – its more famous big brother – the sport relies on horsepower to get going, but once up and riding it’s all about good old fashioned surfing ability.
One of the first ‘behind speed boat’ sports, original wakesurfing was a nine foot board behind an aluminium boat. The wakesurfers couldn’t let go of the rope for longer than a couple of seconds to surf the wake, whereas today, riders can let go of the rope for longer as well as use it to help them do all sorts of tricks.
But there is one important rule: only wakesurf behind inboard boats. Which is where Amr Abdelrahman comes in. ‘Seariders is sea riding for sea lovers with sea addicts,’ he says about his new company based at Dubai Marina Mall jetty.
Equipped with some of the best kit in the region, the Searider’s water sports boat is a machine even non-petrol heads will appreciate. It has a clean white seats throughout, pumping sound system and most importantly, a powerful inboard engine (one that sits under the boat rather than at the back). Wakesurf behind an outboard boat and you could end up a limb short, in hospital or worse. ‘If you can see the boat’s propeller you should not surf behind that boat,’ says Abdelrahman.
Wakesurfing lends itself perfectly to Dubai conditions as the afternoons can get a little choppy out at sea, making wakeboarding more difficult and frustrating. ‘It’s just great to be able to offer customers something else if the weather isn’t playing fair,’ says Abdelrahman. ‘We carry boards for all eventualities so if the wakeboarding isn’t working out people can have a go at wakesurfing.
‘Standing up on a wakesurf board is the bit which frightens most new riders,’ says Abdelrahman. ‘The key to getting up on the board is to take a wide stance and maintain a low centre of gravity until the boat picks up speed. As the boat accelerates the board will rotate so it is parallel with the boat and riders pull themselves through the wake foam and into the constantly breaking wave just at the back of the boat.’
Seariders was launched just weeks ago by Egyptian-born Abdelrahman, an investment banker by trade and sea junkie by heart.
‘My father had both my brother and I around the water and boats from a very young age,’ he says. ‘Sailing, water sports, the ocean, this is where my passion is. I knew I wanted to start a small business and thought it made more sense to invest in something I’m passionate about.’
Passion pin-pointed, Seariders was then born. The company occupies two spots at Dubai Marina Mall harbour, which is located at the back of the mall.
Fishing trips, sightseeing, cruises and water sports are available to both residents and visitors of Dubai.
‘I’d say we’re less commercial than other companies,’ says Abdelrahman. ‘We are more about people having fun. We won’t be clock-watching, within reason, and we won’t start a session until the first person is on the water. It’s about enjoyment and time on the water with friends.’ Dhs500 per hour (Dhs550 Fri-Sat) for wakesurfing/wakeboarding. Seariders, Dubai Marina Mall (055 510 3739) or (050 100 2018).
Get more kicks on the water
Zapcats Perfectly designed for high speed and impressively agile, these boats offer an unforgettable thrill ride experience. Dhs250 for 30 minutes. Watercooled, JA Jebel Ali Golf Resort (04 887 6771).
Jet Ski A super fast ride off the coast of Dubai. Dhs300 for 30 minutes. Golden Tulip Al Jazira Hotel And Resort, Ghantoot (050 1234 603).
Donut rides Thrill-seekers are pulled across the water at high speeds, even through choppy water or across wakes. Sky & Sea Adventures (04 399 9005).