8 of the Best Beach Activities in the UAE
1 Dragon Boat Racing
K-Middy trained for a cross-channel dragon boat race across the English Channel in 2007, and was often snapped training on the River Thames.
The UAE Dragonboat Association helped 6,000 people take part in the ancient Chinese tradition last year. Founder Jason McKenzie said, “It’s about exercise, camaraderie and a social network.” Jason chats to potential participants before placing them into one of the dozens of teams, which range from serious athletes to groups of yummy mummies.
INFO: Varies from free to Dhs1,000 per year, 050 763 4008, www.dubaidragonboat.com.
It’s Virgin tycoon Richard Branson’s favourite hobby, and if it’s extreme beach-side action you want, try kitesurfing. Also known as kiteboarding, it’s a mash-up of surfing, wake-boarding and para-gliding. A power kite will propel you along as you stand on a small surfboard, without bindings. Hold on tight, is what we say. Kite Pro offers walkie talkie helmets for constant instruction.
INFO: Dhs350 per lesson, Yas Island and Al Dabayyah. Abu Dhabi, 050 544 1494, www.kitepro.ae.
3 Paddleboard Yoga
Having never done yoga or paddleboarding before, Team Ahlan! were rather nervous about trying this new craze. But it wasn’t long before our patient instructor Emily Brown had us doing the ‘downward dog’ yoga pose, and we even managed to stand up on our boards without falling in! She said, “Paddleboarding works every muscle, so when you add in yoga it’s a brilliant workout.”
INFO: Dhs90, classes Tuesday and Saturday at JBR or Umm Suqeim Beach, Zen Yoga, 043 492 933, www.yoga.ae.
Now, we know Dubai isn’t Sydney or Malibu, but did you know there is a surfing culture here? Yeah dude! Surf Dubai was the first of its kind in the UAE, and offers group and private lessons. Make like Keanu Reeves in Point Break as well as Cameron Diaz, Rihanna, David Beckham, and, well, any celeb who’s anybody! Just be careful… Scottish hunk Gerard Butler was rushed to hospital after being trapped by ferocious waves while filming a surfing flick in California!
INFO: Dhs125, Surf Dubai, The Surf House, Villa 12a, Street 3a, Umm Suqeim 3, Dubai, 050 504 3020,
5 Banana Boat Ride
It’s the staple of every teenage holiday, and even Chris Brown and Rihanna enjoyed a banana boat ride when on holiday in Barbados. Love Actually star Emma Thompson has also been snapped atop a banana. It’s one of the many watersports on offer at Madinat Jumeirah. Don’t pretend you’re not dying to have a go.
INFO: For hotel guests Dhs150, one to three people for 15 mins or Dhs200 for four to five people for 15mins. Non-hotel guests Dhs495 for beach entry per day, 04 366 8888, www.madinatjumeirah.com.
It’s Channing Tatum’s watersport of choice and Cindy Crawford and Liv Tyler have also been spotted paddleboarding. Where better to give it a try than Dubai? Head to the sand next to the Jumeriah Beach Hotel, where you can attempt to master standing up with the spectacular Burj Al Arab in the background. We can’t promise you won’t fall in, though.
INFO: Dhs400 (private lesson), Dhs350 (couples), Surf Dubai, The Surf House, Villa 12a, Street 3a, Umm Suqeim 3, Dubai, 050 504 3020, 04 380 9713, www.surfingdubai.com.
One Direction love a barbie, having held a raucous grill on the roof of Niall’s London home last summer. Why don’t you head to Jumeirah Beach Park instead, where you can use one of the public barbeques, chill-out on the grass and not annoy the neighbours. And perhaps treat yourself to a Lime Tree Café hamper?
INFO: Free, 8am to 10.30pm, Beach Road, Jumeirah, Dubai. Lime Tree Café, 04 325 6325, www.thelimetreecafe.com.
8 Hire a Yacht
OK, so we can’t promise it will be like Simon Cowell’s Dhs1500,000-a-week, 200ft Slipstream cruiser, with its hot tub and bedrooms for 12 – not to mention gaggle of ex-girlfriends, but you can charter a yacht. Xclusive Yachts have a range of sizes, and all vessels come with a captain and crew to take you on a cruise past Dubai’s famous landmarks.
INFO: From Dhs1,200 per hour for a 48-foot yacht, 04 432 7233, www.xclusiveyachts.com.