This week, Hype’s Grumpy Old Raver imitates jelly in a hurricane while trying out flowboarding at Wild Wadi. Looks-easy, but is it?   

“Unless I’m coming home from a party or still out from the night before, I’ve never been up at 6.30am,” said the flatmate and One Who Shall Remain Nameless the night before a mid-week early morning venture to Wild Wadi Waterpark.

“You can’t be serious?” I questioned. She was. And so she packed herself off to bed at 9.30pm, and was up shuffling about the next morning in awe that two 6.30s existed in the one day.

– Flowboarding at Yas Water World

“Sleep OK?” enquired One Who Shall Remain Nameless through eyes half shut.

“Not really. I had a dream that I was rollerskating along to an old school friend’s house and fell into a swimming pool that had been cut into her driveway,” I recalled. “I bobbed up twice and then the weight of the skates pulled me under and I drowned.”

“That’s weird,” said the flatmate.

“Sure is,” I replied. “I don’t know anyone daft enough to have an outdoor pool in Glasgow. And I don’t know anyone posh enough to have an indoor one either.”

More to the point though, it’s not exactly the kind of dream you want to be having before a little aquatic adventure. The reason for our newfound zest to hit Wild Wadi before work? That’ll be the invite we received from Billabong to have a lesson with pro flowboard dude Alfian Affandi. And if we were still swithering, a quick peep at Alfian’s rippling muscles (above) sealed the deal.

“How many other water sports have you tried,” I asked on the drive there.

“I tried scuba diving once,” replied One Who Shall Remain Nameless. “Hated it. Lasted five minutes and spent the rest of the three-hour trip sunbathing on the boat.”

“Anything else?”

“Hmmm, does parasailing count? Or floating about on a lilo?”

Truth be told we didn’t even know that flowboarding was a thing. If you’re in the same camp, it looks like snowboarding on water. And it looks pretty easy. So we were confident of mastering it and learning a few tricks from Alfian all before breakfast.

Our confidence disappeared though when we assembled with other (much more sporty looking) media types next to the Rip Tide FlowRider where the lesson was to take place. Water seemed to be rushing and roaring at a million miles an hour UP a sort of quarter pipe, and while my sensible head was telling me that it was only ankle deep and that a few inches beneath lay a super spongy surface to absorb the inevitable falls, my hysterical head was telling me that I was about to attempt some sort of kamikaze surfing down Niagara Falls. Which was just the right time to remember my drowning dream.

While Singaporean Alfian suitably impressed with a ten-minute display and demonstration, I remembered reading some blurb where he describes the sport as “whatever you can do on a surfboard, skateboard or any other board sport, and doing it on the ride itself”.

More from Grumpy Old Raver…
– On driving in Dubai for the first time
– On ‘The Dubai Pose’ 

Crikey, the flatmate and I are even useless with an ironing board. What had we got ourselves into?

I’d love to tell you that we both took to flowboarding with the grace of swans skimming across a lake. But the reality is that we both lost all leg strength and our balance is so off-kilter it’s amazing we can even walk.

While some aced it, we wobbled about like jelly in a hurricane. The only trick we mastered was grabbing hold of our shorts quick enough so as not to emerge from each dunking with our butt cheeks on show to the world.

Hats off to Alfian and all those who made it look effortless. Now pass two lilos please and point us towards the baby pool.

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