Time Out reviews Archery Tag at Flip Out Dubai, Al Quoz. Find out about the fun activities at the trampoline park in Dubai, including dodgeball
As a child, Robin Hood was a hero of mine. From Errol Flynn’s portrayal of him, to the Robin of Sherwood TV series to Kevin Costner’s 1991 version with the excruciatingly annoying theme song, I simply couldn’t get enough of that tights-wearing thief. I even loved Maid Marian and Her Merry Men, despite the fact that Robin had become a pompous, narcissistic tailor from Kensington whom no one could abide.
Try as I might, though, I was always an awful archer. After countless failed attempts to hone my skills with a plastic set of bow and arrows, that cow’s behind was never in danger from my proverbial banjo. However, Flip Out Dubai, the wonderful Al Quoz house of fun, was offering me a way to relive my youth and hopefully learn some proper bowmanship with a game of archery tag.
After rounding up my own band of merry men and women, all that’s left is a quick practice session with ourinstructor/chaperone/referee, Shaheen Rahmani. I am the first to chance my arm and after listening intently to the instructions, I’m chuffed to strike the dummy target’s midriff with my second arrow. This is going to be a doddle, I think, while I try and hide my smugness.
As with most sporting activities, however, the real action happens on the pitch and soon into the first elimination game of five-on-five, my aim deserts me as quickly as Friar Tuck could demolish a chicken leg.
Archery tag is, as far as I can gather, all about quick-thinking, sharpshooting and a little dodging dexterity. The game starts by each team rushing from the back wall and grabbing as many arrows as they can before ducking behind fake trees, bushes and rocks.
In spite of my 1.83m height and lack of suitable cover, I manage to stay out of harm’s way as the skirmish descends into a stalemate. But just as I’m thinking I might survive the onslaught led primarily by my colleague, Jeffrey “Goldeneye” Casino, up steps Shaheen to take me out with an arrow that thuds into the side of my head. Not fair, I think, trying not to cross my arms or stamp my feet.
For the next battle, the rules change a little as instead of being out when hit, you simply swap sides. What little luck I had in the first game soon evaporates as I’m struck four times in quick succession (three of them while reloading) and forced to trudge into the other zone.
I’m not the only one suffering, though, as I see that young upstart Shaikh “Sure Shot” Saleh take a rather hilarious tumble while trying to grab some ammo and dodge fire at the same time. I can’t help but let out a guffaw as I see my adversary lying prone on the floor. But quicker than you can say schadenfreude, Shaikh lets go a shot that’s beaming towards me. In my efforts to keep out of the line of fire I lose my balance and slam to the ground. Serves me right, I think, as I scan my grazed kneecaps and elbow.
Regardless of the cuts and scrapes, as well as the odd shred of pride lost along the way, everyone seems to have genuinely enjoyed their first foray into the arena dubbed “The Jungle” and we are dejected as we’re told our time is up.
The blood, sweat and tears of laughter are our battle scars, worn with honour as we’re given a tour of the rest of the facilities, taking in a quick game of trampoline-based versions of dodgeball and volleyball.
I might not have proved myself the equal of Oxley’s finest, but I’d found the perfect Saturday afternoon pursuit to tear me away from the sofa as the football scores roll in. Better still, I’d managed to avoid being sacked for blinding my editor with an errant arrow, or jailed for decapitating a small child. From Dhs70 per person, per hour. Flip Out Dubai, Al Quoz, www.flipout.ae 600 567 568).
Four more Flip Out games to play Trampoline dodgeball If you love the idea of slinging spheres at your buddies while trying to perform back flips to avoid their counter-fire, this is the game for you. Unlike the film version of this schoolyard sport, you won’t have spanners thrown at you by a degenerate coach barking orders at from the sidelines.
The main arena Arguably the main focal point of Flip Out Dubai, this huge space lets you go freestyle, busting out flip after flip up the walls or against a prism-shaped structure in the middle. Try leaping from trampoline to trampoline in one seamless movement – we did, and made something of a fool of ourselves.
Trampoline volleyball When you’ve grown tired of playing in the sand we suggest you give the Flip Out version a whirl. Utterly hilarious and with a guaranteed soft landing, you can pull off all those full-length dives and gravity defying slams you could never muster on the beach.
The foam pit Looks like a load of fun and certainly is as you’re propelled from a trampoline into a pool of cuboid sponges. Whatever you do, don’t try and perform a twist before impact as it could take you an age to haul yourself out again. All of the above activities are part of the Adult Flipper package, which starts from Dhs70 per hour (each additional hour costs Dhs50).