The elevated water sport is on the rise in the Gulf, where light coastal winds are ideal for beginners.
Kitesurfing – riding a modified surfboard while holding a specially designed kite for wind propulsion – is becoming an increasingly popular water sport worldwide.
Many destinations have become synonymous with kitesurfing: Cabarete in the Dominican Republic; Cumbuco in Brazil; Mancora in Peru; La Ventana in Mexico; Maui in Hawaii; Tarifa, in Spain and Sumbawa in Indonesia. Now, the UAE is hoping to become a kitesurfer's haven too, thanks to favourable conditions especially suited to beginners.
The ideal wind speed for kitesurfing is between 19 and 40 Kilometers per hour. Training for beginners is best done in the lighter wind ranges with bigger kites.
The Gulf provides consistently good conditions for kitesurfing with year-round sunshine and clear skies, complimented by light off-shore winds.
"If you want to start, this is the best place in the world," says Dubai-based kitesurfer Georgio Borgia. "Dubai gives you the opportunity to do kitesurfing almost every week. It always has nice waves that are not too big."
Georgio says kitesurfing has changed his life. For many, it's proving to be a way to connect with the local community. Having relocated to Dubai at the end of last year, fledgling expat Yikun Chen was looking for a way to meet new friends. Kitesurfing turned out to be the answer.
"I had just moved to Dubai from The Netherlands. It was December, it was very warm, and I was walking on the beach and I saw some people kitesurfing. I thought this was so cool, I wanted to be a part it," says Yikun. "The community is amazing. I met so many friends here. Everybody's from a different country. We all have different interests, but we all like the same thing; we all love kitesurfing."
A kitesurfing instructor at Dukite, Hesham Samir, has been busy with new recruits. The most effective advertising for the business has proved to be more by sight than by word of mouth. Beachgoers seeing Dukite's surfers on the water often enquire about how they can get involved.
"Kitesurfing is a growing sport and community now, and [in Dubai] you can find a lot of people doing kitesurfing from all over the world. It attracts everyone to the beach," says Hesham. "A lot of people get excited about it and come and ask, what is this? And then, we explain the procedure to learn. Once they get involved in it, they really love it."
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