Try out your trampoline skills at Dubai's newest urban playground
Time Out Dubai staff
Since it opened in June 2014, UAE residents have been flocking to indoor trampoline park, Bounce. Venue manager Greg Campbell and co-founder and C.O.O Doran Davies, chatted to us about what makes the park so unique and what to expect from the venue’s latest offerings, Bounce Fit and Bounce Flight Academy.
You call Bounce the home of the ‘free-jumping revolution’. What does that mean? Doran:Bounce kind of fuses trampolining with parkour – ‘free-running’ – hence, ‘free-jumping’. It’s about trying to reduce your limitations. You don’t need a gold medal in acrobatics to jump on a tramp, you just have to go for it and we want to provide an experience where that’s accessible to anyone and everyone.
So what will people find at Bounce? Doran:There’s the free-jumping area, which is about 50 trampolines all stitched together where you can just do whatever you want, and a dodgeball arena to add a competition element. There’s a big airbag so people can try out flips in a safe way, and then for the guys who want to hone their skills there’s a performance area that really makes us unique when it comes to other trampoline offerings locally. The performance area is where people do things like wall-running, which is very popular and not that difficult to do. We actually ran a wall-runners course over the Christmas holidays, giving people courses of three hours and, invariably, they picked up the basics enough to be able to progress themselves.
We also really put a large emphasis on making sure we’ve got the right people around delivering the right experience. We want everyone to come in here and feel welcome, and leave as friends with our staff, so we put a lot of effort in on the team culture as well as building a multi-coloured, multi-faceted entertainment facility.
What are some of the health benefits of trampolining? Greg:There are many! NASA has proven that ten minutes of jumping on a trampoline is the same as running for 30 minutes, so you’re actually getting a pretty decent cardiovascular workout that is also very low-impact on the body.
Doran: It tones muscles, improves motor skills and coordination. And being on a trampoline is like standing on jelly, you’re constantly trying to right yourself and find your balance, so even the action of just standing on a trampoline means you’re constantly using the muscles of your core.
Greg: And I think the best part about it is that when you come in here and you start jumping on the trampolines you actually forget that you’re exercising. Euphoria takes over and you’re just enjoying yourself with a group of friends.
Doran: And if you look at the alternatives, I’ve been a member of a gym before, and you kind of get sold this dream that you’ll be carved out of wood in no time, when in reality it just drains your pocket. Nothing is more depressing than going into a gym and seeing rows of people on treadmills with their headphones in, watching the TV. That’s not what life’s about, it’s too short to put yourself through that boredom when you could just come here and enjoy yourself. We don’t offer memberships so that people come here because they enjoy it and not because of the direct debit coming out of their bank account.
Greg: Plus you get twice as much exercise hurling balls at other people.
You offer a fitness class called Bounce Fit, what does that involve? Greg: It’s for people who are looking for a more structured session. There’s a warm-up and a warm-down, and in between there’s a low-impact, body-toning workout on the trampolines. It’s both high-intensity and low-intensity, and it’s a great workout for the core – it works out all the muscles across the body and it’s got huge amounts of variation in it. You’re out on the trampolines, working out with the dodgeballs, around on the padding, in a high-energy workout that’s something that hasn’t been seen in the UAE before.
You also recently launched the Bounce Flight Academy. Tell us a bit about that. Doran: We want people to progress here and learn to do things in a safe and controlled way. It’s more parkour than gymnastics, so it’s not so focused on form. There are four groups: beginner, intermediate, advanced and, in true Dubai-style, platinum, for one-on-one coaching. We feel that smaller groups foster better learning and progression, so beginner is only eight people, and intermediate is four, advanced two, and platinum is one-on-one. The coach is very important as well, and it took us a long time to find the right guy. Chris is five-time Spanish national trampoline and tumbling champion, but he’s also a great personality, very effervescent and full of energy; great with kids, great with adults.
Greg: Before you start throwing tricks you need to start with the basics, which are as fundamental as being able to jump up and down on the spot. Then we’ll teach beginners things like back-drops and seat-drops and, more importantly, how to turn out of something so if you do a flip and you don’t pull it off you can turn out of that in a safe way. Flight Academy takes you right back to the basics so that you really learn the technique to get the most out of the tramps.
Do you have any exciting plans for 2015 that you can let us in on? Doran: We always want to try new things here and we threw a Christmas party here back in December where we turned the music up really loud, put moving, coloured lights everywhere, turned on a smoke machine and, because it was Christmas, we had a snow machine and covered the trampolines in fake snow, so it sprayed up as people bounced around.
Greg: We’ll be doing many more of these events, so if it’s not snow I don’t know what it’s going to be, but it will be something! We want to keep it fresh and make sure we’re always bringing something new and exciting to the table so that people keep enjoying what it is we have to offer.
Doran: Watch this space! Open Sun-Wed 10am-10pm; Thu 10am-midnight; Fri 9am-midnight; Sat 9am-10pm. 4B Street, Al Quoz, behind Ace Hardware on Sheikh Zayed Road, www.bounce.ae (04 321 1400).