For expats like myself, one of the main highlights of living in Dubai is the weather and the endless opportunities it brings for us to sample fun new activities that we would be otherwise less inclined to try back in our (colder) home countries.
Since arriving in Dubai over 2 years ago stand up paddle boarding (SUP), which has been all over the news recently thanks to the naked exploits of Hollywood actor Orlando Bloom, has remained high on my Dubai bucket list, but for whatever reason I have never actually taken the time to give it a try. That all changed this weekend when I finally managed to persuade a couple of friends to give it a go.
Despite the early start (8am on a Friday morning, yikes!) it was a lot of fun, but exhausting. I don’t think my friends were fully aware of what I’d signed them up for but we all gave it our best shot.
The SUP fitness class on Friday was run by Krissy (the Instructor) who advised that in a typical class there could be anywhere between 5-16 participants. On the day we joined the class there only 9 of us, a mixture of regulars and newbies like ourselves. After registration all of us new to paddle boarding were taken to the beach by Fernando for a brief demonstration of techniques and manoeuvres i.e. proper stance on the board, how to stand upright, how to hold and use the paddle etc.
Once we were confident that we had basics mastered it was time to hit the water and join the rest of the class. After a slightly slow start, taking extra care with our movements to ensure we remained on the board, we finally reached the rest of the group. Despite the early start (8am on a Friday morning, yikes!) the temperature already rising and it wasn’t long before a member of our group succumbed to the heat. So that she could escort our fallen class member safely back to shore, Krissy left us in the capable hands of a couple of her class regulars to take us through the warm up in preparation for the exercises to follow. It became clear early on that a great deal of strength and flexibility was required for the SUP fitness class, something which I can seriously lacking but we tried our best to keep up.
Once Krissy re-joined the group she took us through a series of exercises including squats, push ups, triceps dips and abdominal work followed by some interval cardio (paddling). I found it very challenging trying to do the stationary exercises whilst keeping myself on the board and out of the water. At one point one of my friends lost concentration and fell in but thankfully she was able get herself right back up on the board with minimum effort.
We found the exercise portion of the class quite challenging but I loved the experience. And whilst I can’t wait to try paddle boarding again, would I recommend that actually fitness class? Yes, but I would really need to build up my strength and flexibility beforehand. This has absolutely no reflection of our instructor Krissy, who was really good and very patient with all the paddle boarding newbies.
After working up an appetite we finished off our morning by having breakfast at Sophie’s Café as they were offering a 20% discount to all class participants.
Location: Riva Beach Club, Palm Jumeirah
Price: 125 AED for 60 minutes including paddle board, paddle and life vest rental