Stand-up paddle boarding in Dubai

Patrick Hulbert talks about trying stand-up paddle boarding in Dubai

The Knowledge

I’ve embraced Dubai’s newest, coolest, most extreme sport. I made it myself. And I rocked it like it was always meant to be that way.

I went to try stand-up paddle boarding, but I thought, this is so yesterday… So I decided to do paddle boarding on your knees instead. It’s more fun and it’s got a much better ring to it. My reinvention of the sport had nothing to do with the fact that I couldn’t actually stand up on the board for more than a split second without falling off into the surrounding water. No. It also had nothing to do with the fact that my legs locked into position because kneeling on the board for so long had made me physically incapable of moving. Nope. It was purely because I just thought kneeling on the board for the whole session was much more exhilarating. It was a strategic plan to get more people kneeling down and trying the sport this way.

Yeah, sure, the instructor wasn’t overly happy and very kindly asked me to try stand-up paddle boarding, but where’s the fun in that? So, as a way of protest, when I finally did make it back onto my feet, I got upset that it wasn’t as much fun and hurled myself in the water, pretending that my balance was just so bad, I kept on falling in. At least the saltiness of the water was a good way of exfoliating my skin, though, and the mouthfuls that I swallowed every time I went it just meant that I really enjoyed the litres of fresh water (and coffee) I guzzled afterwards. Double win for Hulbert.

Those doing it ‘properly’ seemed to be having some fun in a large group, paddling all over the place and enjoying the scenery. Me?

I loved going at half the speed, while paddling frenetically, enjoying the water lapping up around me, with a couple of mates lagging behind to ‘help’ me out.

Stand-up paddle boarding is popular in Dubai, with numerous companies offering the sport. But for the real cool cats in town, it’s all about getting down. I think it’s time for me to set up an exclusive club, only for those that ‘get it’. Maybe I could make a business out of that…
Patrick Hulbert is editor of Time Out Doha. He’s sticking to sports on dry land from now on.

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