A handy guide to sandboarding in Dubai with Above sandboards
What’s On has a guide to sandboarding in Dubai. With Above sandboards and Gulf Ventures, we tell you where to go sandboarding in Dubai.
Carvin’ dune. That’s what the growing bunch of extreme sports addicts call riding a board down a mountain of sand at a nerve-jangling 80kph.
Sandboarders in the UAE get the same thrills as their downhill buddies the snowboarders, with two big advantages: they can carve dunes year-round, and they can do it for free near Al Qudra cycle track.
If you prefer to use an organised tour company, Gulf Ventures run desert safari trips, including sandboarding, to Big Red dune near Hatta. A tour from 3pm to 10pm costs Dhs250 per person. Gulf Ventures use sandboards from Dubai-based company Above (see more below) and that’s all you need to get you moving. Walk to the top of a dune, slip your feet into the straps, lean forward and let gravity do the rest.
Your speed on a sandboard is determined by how much wax you’ve applied to the base of your board. The more you wax, the faster you slide. When you first hop on it can be scary to take the leap, so ease down gently and if you feel like you’re going to fall, try to land on your bottom. Watch out: you may end up with a face full of sand. Soon you’ll feel confident ploughing down the mountain and carvin’ dune will become second nature.
If that’s all a bit too much, sit on a bum sled, hold tight and zip down that way. As we hurtled to the base of the dune, adrenaline pumping and teetering on the edge of flipping, we remembered just how much fun the desert can be. If only there was a chairlift to take us back to the top.
Gulf Ventures, Dubai. Tel: (04) 4045880. gulfventures.com
The UAE’s first independent sandboarding specialist
Dubai’s sandboarding pioneer Simon Hunt first tried the sport in his Australian homeland in the 1990s during his boy scouts days.
“Since the age of 13 I’ve been experimenting with making different boards,” he says. “Producing and designing my own boards in the UAE has been a long time coming.”
Hunt – whose day job is as a creative director of a design company – has now made a range of sandboards under his brand name, Above, and is using the wakeboarding, snowboarding and skating communities to test them. “Between us, we’ve honed the shape and built the best sandboards I’ve ever ridden.”
Above has three different models: Speed Demon and Drop (Dhs795) for stand-up boarding, and the bum sled (Dhs750) for easier sandboarding. “Every one is handmade from laminated quality hardwood with a specially formulated glide base so you can beeline down a dune in an instant,” says Hunt.
Above sandboards are available in Adventure HQ. abovesandboards.com