Wakeboarding & Waterskiing

Waterskiing has long been a firm favourite with thrill-seekers, while wakeboarding is the cool, young upstart that has become the newest, hippest watersport around. Whichever you opt for is just a matter of preference – although if you’ve excelled at skiing or snowboarding on the slopes, that might stand you in good stead; waterskiing is perhaps slightly easier to pick up initially, as getting up is a little trickier in wakeboarding but, once you’re up, it’s hard to find a more thrilling experience.

As you don’t need any special licence to practise wakeboarding or waterskiing, and the UAE and Oman are surrounded by calm waters that are ideal for sliding across, the best case scenario is if you or some close friends own a sportsboat, giving you whenever-you-want access that isn’t limited to the usual 15 or 20 minute slots. If you are lucky enough to be in that situation, you’ll find all you need – from handles and ropes to boards and impact and buoyancy vests at Beach St (leisuremarine-me.com), Adventure HQ (adventurehq.ae) and Al Boom Marine (alboommarine.com).  

If you don’t have (or can’t lay claim to) a boat, you’ll find that most of the big hotels’ beach clubs offer the sport with a going rate of about Dhs.140 for 15 minutes. 

On the busiest weekend, you could easily find that all the wakeboarding rental centres are fully booked. If that’s the case or, in fact, you’re looking for a bit more value for money, you should try out cable boarding. A popular sport in the US and Europe, cable boarding allows you to wakeboard while being pulled along by a zip line. The Al Forsan International Sports Resort has two excellent cable boarding lakes.

Wakesurfing is also an increasingly popular alternative to wakeboarding. This new sport is a soft-impact version of wakeboarding where you let go of the reins, do your best to balance on the board, and surf along with the wake generated by the ski boat. It looks spectacular and offers surfing enthusiasts the opportunity to get their surfing fix without having to rely on the unpredictable Gulf swell. 

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