IS SURFING BANNED?
Contrary to past media reports surfing is NOT banned in the UAE or anywhere else in the Middle East for that matter.
There was previously a spate of finings in Dubai which gathered a lot of media attention but this has simmered down and local authorities have asked surfers to respect bathers in the water and make water safety a No.1 priority. The Dubai Municipality recently announced that it would not be fining surfers in the most popular surfing beaches. Beaches all over the UAE allow surfing but water rules must be obeyed so keep on the right side of the law. Also be aware to be covered and dress conservatively in areas such as Sharjah where bikinis and being shirtless in public is not allowed. Dubai rules are more lenient but please be respectful when getting dressed and driving from the beach. It is also recommended to girls who surf to wear baggies and a rashvest in the surf so as not to generate any negative attention from beach onlookers who like to stare!
WHERE TO SURF:
Surfing is mainly done in Dubai at two main beaches.
The first being the beach in front of JBR and the Sheraton Hotel which gets a lot of swell and can sometimes hold the biggest waves, although the beach is steep and tends to break quite hard, making it better suited for intermediate or advanced surfers. The other being Sunset beach (the main public beach next to the Jumeirah Beach Hotel) is the most popular, offering up good waves for all levels of surfers and the best rides.
There are also waves to be had in Mamzar, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah too so Surfari's are often worth the drive to find uncrowded waves. Fujeirah and Kalba can also offer up waves in summer when big swells march up the East coast during the monsoon season but surf early as it gets hot!
If you need advice on where to surf or more info just call us at Surf Shop Dubai.
WHEN TO SURF:
The UAE offers surf all year round but the best months and generally best surf season is from November to May when big storms in the Gulf deliver storm surf waves anywhere from 1 - 8ft+. As the storm surf is generally very messy and onshore, surfers tend to wait for the days after the storms when the wind drops and the waves clean up a bit. Surf here is generated by the wind so the swell is usually short-lived so make sure you get some waves when it is on as it tends to die out quite quickly.
The best time to surf is usually in the morning from sunrise to midday when the sea is often offshore and the waves are clean and easier to ride. If there is swell during the summer months then surfing before 9am and as early as possible is recommended as the heat can lead to dehydration and is unpleasant to surf in. The water temperature is very pleasant and warm all year round but in the peak of winter (Dec/Jan) short wetsuits are recommended but otherwise shorts and a rashvest can be worn almost all year.
The UAE is geographically very centrally placed to several other excellent tropical surf destinations such as the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Morocco, Madagascar, Seychelles among others. All of which offer world class waves within a few hours flight and are an excellent choice for the surf hungry traveler. Other destinations for surf include Australia, South Africa, Morocco and Europe which are easily reachable.
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