SURFING IN THE UAE
Much to most people’s surprise, Dubai & other Emirates such as Sharjah & Ajman have a lot of regular and rideable surf to offer and the region is actually rich in waves, you just need to know when and where to go. It’s not tubular reef passes buts it’s rideable and we have enough surf to keep you in the water.
The surf in the Gulf is mainly wind driven which means that it’s produced by strong winds with the biggest waves being formed above Qatar and near Iraq which are fueled by fierce gales and built up in size as they travel down the length of the Gulf towards us. The coast is especially well positioned as it is directly in the line of the swell and the gale force North West winds in the Gulf, which generate the swells so Dubai has become the center point for surfing in the region due to its popularity with expats at Sunset Beach. The waves can be onshore and messy for a day but then clean up overnight to produce some excellent waves that are warm, friendly and inviting to surfers of all levels. Unfortunately it also gets very crowded so to find the best surf its often best to go searching beyond Sunset Beach. These waves are available for short periods of time at several locations across the Emirates such as Sunset Beach in Dubai (the most popular), North Beach, Al Khan Beach Sharjah, Ajman and as far afield as Ras Al Khaimah & Umm Al Quain
There are also occasional windstorms 4 – 5 times a year in Fujeirah which bring up messy waves worth riding. Every few years we also get cyclones off the coast and the swell that comes in can be truly incredible. The last storm, Cyclone Nilofar in 2014, created a week of absolute tropical perfection in 3 – 6 foot range that created insane point and reef breaks all over the Eastern coast. Truly epic and not to be missed but not unfortunately happening very often!
The surf generally in the UAE generally averages around 1 – 1.5meters but can peak well over 3 meters with some of the biggest waves on record nearing 5 meters! This equates to surf in the 1 – 4 feet range for surfers.
THE SURF SEASON
The surf season is mainly focused on the winter months from November to March, when low pressures dominate the upper Gulf and send surf marching down to us in Dubai and the UAE coastline but surf can be found all year depending on the weather and the swell. Its far too hot to surf in summer so most people give that a miss. If you are a diehard then its best to surf before 9am. Most surfers ride a variety of equipment from longboards and SUP’s when it’s small and shortboards when it’s bigger. Best boards for the region are wider with more volume such as the grovelers made by Lost surfboards as the waves can be gutless and small at times.