Make a splash

Posted on October 16, 2011

5


As published in Aquarius – Oct 11 

With Dubai’s white sandy beaches, crystal clear ocean and vast swimming pools on practically every street corner, it seems crazy not to take advantage of the endless options for water-based fun. Besides, what better way to beat the heat than to stay cool in the pool?! Check out the options we rate great and don’t forget the sun cream!

AQUA AEROBICS

 What & why?

Aqua aerobics is literally water-based aerobics; exercise that combines the cardiovascular and muscular endurance benefits of aerobics with the cooling and resistance benefits of water. The medical community has been endorsing it for years; it’s fun and gives you a great workout yet it accommodates the physical limitations of participants whether injury, weight or illness-related. Working out in water provides resistance to the muscles, is a great calorie burner and because your body is buoyant, it provides cushioning for the joints and works to relieve stress.

Water talk

‘How fantastic water aerobics is! Tried it for the first time and will absolutely be returning. Finally found an exercise that’s fun and an amazing work out.’ Victoria, age 42

Jot it down

  • Call: 050 256 1231
  • Go: Meridien Mina Sehayi
  • Visit: Aqua Aerobics with Gail (Facebook)
  • $$$: AED 35 for members / AED 45 for non-members

DRAGON BOATING

What & why?

Dragon Boating is fast becoming a global sport and in the UAE alone, there are over ten teams. It’s an excellent way to get in shape whilst enjoying Dubai’s magnificent shoreline and thanks to the sheer nature of the sport, whereby 22 paddlers need to work together in perfect unison, great friendships are forged and tight bonds created.  All abilities are welcome – you just need a basic level of fitness and a good dose of team spirit. Training sessions vary amongst teams and every year there are both national and international tournaments to put your team to the test!

Water talk

‘A work colleague introduced me to dragon boating in 2009 and I embraced the idea. With each training session I learn the true meaning of teamwork which, combined with my love for the ocean, keeps me going back for more.’ Renchia, age 28

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SCUBA DIVING

What & why?

Al Boom is the leading diver operator in the UAE with centres throughout and a huge offering including a ladies only set-up at Dubai Ladies Club. The benefits are extensive; it’s a very relaxing past time and a great way to improve your confidence in the water.  It’s also the perfect platform for learning new technical skills and to explore the underworld of coral reefs, fish species and even sharks! In Dubai, there are a few underwater wrecks, which teemed with aquatic life, are fascinating windows to the past and exciting avenues for exploration and discovery!

Water talk

It has always been my dream to discover the underwater world and Sara at Al Boom made my dream come true. Passionate and so knowledgeable, I couldn’t have wished for a more wonderful instructor.’ Hala, age 30

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STAND UP PADDLING

What & why?

Stand Up Paddling is an ancient form of surfing that allows you to relax and enjoy being out on the water without the need for big waves. In fact, the calmer the water the better hence it’s popularity first thing in the morning when the ocean is like a sea of glass. It’s great for balance and gives your core an amazing workout. Duco Maritime rents out boards, offers one on one lessons to master the basics and also organises half day trips to explore waters and check out the UAE wildlife.

Water talk

‘I started SUP’ing after seeing so many celebs doing it and envying their washboard abs!  It’s easy enough to pick up but I took lessons so I could quickly learn the basics. I’m totally hooked now.’ Hanan, age 31

Jot it down

  • Call: 050 870 3427
  • Go: Dubai’s Nessnass Beach (and Abu Dhabi & RAK)
  • Visit: http://www.ducomaritime.com
  • $$$: AED 75 for board rental and AED 150 per lesson

SURFING

What & why?

Surfing has a too cool for school image because it is just that and when you meet the team behind Surf Dubai, you can’t help but want to sign up and learn how to catch some waves. The company aim to provide safe instruction for all and over the years have built a huge following of locals and expats alike. Lessons are tailored for all levels on a one-to-one or small group basis and they also offer surf-fit courses and programmes specifically for school kids. The season runs from October to April but if not in season, you can opt for stand up paddling instead.

Water talk

‘When the surf report reports surf, I am straight down to Sunset Beach to master the waves with Surf Dubai. Love it.’ Tasha, age 27

Jot it down

SURF SKIING 

What & why?

Surf skis are long narrow canoe like ‘sit in’ boats with a paddle for propulsion. To keep steady, they rely on great balance which means you get a fab workout for your entire mid section never mind the terrific toning for your arms. You can vary the intensity from a play in the water to hardcore competition level so it’s ideal for all abilities and skill levels. When you begin, be prepared to get wet – they are very tippy; just as well that our waters are so warm! The Dubai Paddling School has monthly programmes to teach you the basics and DSKC holds squad training to get you paddle-fit.

Water talk

‘Paddling a surf ski is fun and a great outdoor sport.  It’s an amazing experience being out on the water and seeing Dubai from the water.’ Christine, age 33

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SWIMMING

What & why?

Aqua Sports Academy offers women a unique opportunity to develop, improve or refresh their swimming skills whilst keeping cool, getting fit and minimising the rise of injury. The social and emotional benefits of swimming are widespread too making it a fantastic option for all round health and wellbeing. The academy’s programmes cater for beginners, improvers and advanced with individual and small group instruction as well as group training for those not requiring coaching.

Water talk

‘I’ve been going to ASA’s Learn-to-Swim programme for little over a month but already my technique has improved dramatically and my stress levels have plummeted.’ Sue, age 39

Jot it down

  • Call: 050 185 2432
  • Go: Various
  • Visit: www.aquaswim.ae
  • $$$: AED 40 per session or AED 350 for 10 sessions

WATER POLO

What & why?

Water polo is probably the most comprehensive form of physical activity you can participate in. It’s high-octane yet low impact and fantastic for both aerobic fitness and toning muscle. It’s also the perfect chance to let loose with some controlled aggression! Catering for all abilities, The Dubai Camels Water Polo Club has a great set-up with twice-weekly training sessions and regular tournaments so give it a go! Women in particular tend to be good players due to their having a lower upper body weight which helps to maximise their leg strength to tread water.

Water talk

‘Water polo for me is the perfect sport to stay cool and get an awesome workout. My upper body strength has really improved. It’s fast, it’s furious and it’s fun!’ Georgina, aged 28

Jot it down

  • Call: 055 885 4734
  • Go: Academic City
  • Visit: Water Polo in Dubai (Facebook)
  • $$$: AED 40 per session

WAKEBOARDING

What & why?

Developed from a combination of waterskiing, snowboarding and surfing, wakeboarding is a highly charged, super cool, adrenaline-filled sport where you’re pulled across the surface of the water by a speed boat. It’s a great way to keep in shape never mind being the perfect opportunity to show off your tan and check out all the super yachts on the ocean. Learning the basics and mastering how to stay upright is easy with lessons from the Mark Andrew Kite School. Passionate about water sports, the team will have you cruising in no time.

Water talk

‘I’ve been wakeboarding forever but I’ve improved so much since taking lessons and Mark is a great (and very patient!) coach.’ Donna, age 29

Jot it down

 WET N’ WILD

Two other great options to make a splash are at one of the UAE’s  fantastic water parks or by checking out the water-based activities arranged by various beach-front hotels.

Aquaventure

The Atlantis does nothing by halves so Aquaventure can’t fail to please with its 2km of park and 11.5 million litres of slide action! From the UAE’s most extreme slide, the Leap of Faith, to fun in the sun on the lazy river, ample loungers (on land!), pristine beaches and plenty of F&B options when hunger strikes, it really does cater for everyone. Visit www.atlantisthepalm.com

Wild Wadi

The one and only Wild Wadi is Dubai’s original water park and for many, a forever favourite.  Themed around Arabian folklore, the waterpark has 30 rides, two of which, the Burj Surj and Tantrum Alley, just opened up earlier this year. The park is even home to FISHO, Dubai’s first fish spa, where a special species of fish are let loose to exfoliate, soften and massage your feet!  Wild Wadi has a Ladies Only night – every Thursday evening – so why not plan a Ladies Night with a twist? Visit www.jumeirah.com

Further afield are:

Dreamland Aqua Park – its location, 45 minutes from Dubai, means that it’s relaxed, spacious and great value! With more than 30 rides and a real focus on kids, it’s a fantastic day out for the family and there’s camping on-site if you fancy making a weekend out of it. Visit www.dreamlanduae.com

Iceland Water Park – the newest kid on the block, Iceland is a huge attraction in RAK with wave pools, aqua soccer, mighty water falls and a whole host of rides. Visit www.icelandwaterpark.com

As for the hotel scene, all the major beach-front hotels have daily water-based activities to enjoy from banana boating to parasailing, fishing trips to windsurfing, cruising to sailing so you can pick and choose according to just how much you want to immerse yourself!

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