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Surf Dubai FAQs - Surfers of Dubai

This is the kind of list that will never be complete but there are brief answers to the most common questions you may have. Most of this information is elsewhere on the site - especially the surfing in Dubai general info page, or in the Dubai surf forum - try the search at the top of every page (it should include forum posts), or do a search in the forum.

FAQs on Dubai and UAE | Oman | Surfboards and Equipment | SOD Forum | Other

Dubai and UAE (back to top)

  • How do you spell Duabi? Dubayy? Dubay? Duibai? Duiba? Dubya? Dubbay? Dubbayy?
    • Dubai (but sometimes you'll see Dubayy).
  • When is the best time of year to surf in Dubai?
    • December to March and sometimes waves in November/April. Very rarely are there any waves during the summer months from June to September.
  • How often can you surf?
    • During the summer probably not - it can be flat for over a month.
    • During the winter maybe once or twice a week, sometimes you'll get 3 or 4 days in a row with surfable waves.
  • How big does it get?
    • Usually 3-5 ft faces, occasionally 6-8 ft faces with strong onshores and once or twice a year bigger than that. Max face I've surfed/seen would be 10-12 ft which you might get once in 3-5 years. Note that you'll very rarely get clean surf when it's bigger than 6 ft faces.
  • Where's the best place to surf in Dubai?
    • Well now, that's a secret! As of January 2005, the number of places you can surf is much less than in the past due to the big offshore developments like The World, and the Palm Islands. Most people surf at Sunset Beach (which is relatively crowded when there's a reasonable day for surfing), and some still try at Moscow Beach or Mamzar Park. See the Dubai surf spots page for where they are. Note that the Coke Machine (if you find it) is still probably too dangerous for surfing. See this page for more about that.
  • Can you surf in other emirates?
    • Yes except for Al Ain (check map to see why), and although Abu Dhabi is on the coast I've never heard of anyone surfing there - Abu Dhabi SODs (SOADs?) come to Dubai to surf. Sharjah to RAK (Ras al Khaimah) coast has surfable waves but usually smaller than Dubai as you go further towards RAK. Very occasionally if it's a strong onshore with big waves in Dubai, RAK will have clean 3-4 ft faces. Fujeirah sometimes gets swell in the summer months - I've heard of up to 8 ft faces - but rarely in the winter months. More information on the UAE surf locations page.
  • Can you surf on the islands of The World or Palm Island?
    • As of January 2005, no. "No" meaning that if you try, the security patrols will tell you to clear off at best and may take you to the police and/or confiscate your boat (you'd need one to get there unless you're happy to paddle 5-10 km). See the forum for more about not surfing The World. There are what appear to be surfable waves at The World but not at the Palm Islands (except perhaps during the construction phase).
  • Is there an artificial reef for surfing in Dubai?
    • As of January 2005, no. But construction is planned and the answer may be yes within a year or two. More discussion in the Dubai artificial reef forum topic.
  • I'm visiting Dubai, should I bring my board?
    • Depends on the time of year and how long you're staying. Usually the answer is that it's probably not worth it. Certainly don't plan to do a surf trip to Dubai, surf is too poor and inconsistent to make it an attractive surf destination. Search forum for more info.
  • I'm moving to Dubai, should I bring a board or can I buy one there?
    • If you have one, bring it. If you don't, try and buy one before you come here - you'll probably have more choice. There's very limited choice here both for new boards and for second hand boards. Although that is improving - there was a time when you simply could not get any boards. Prices here are more expensive than South Africa, slightly more expensive than Australia/NZ, similar to Europe and USA. More information on the surf equipment page.
  • Can I rent a surfboard in Dubai?

Oman (back to top)

  • What's the surf like in Oman?
    • In Muscat not great - generally less reliable and smaller than in Dubai. But down the eastern coast it can be good. Usually big surf is accompanied by big onshores and strong currents. Compared to Dubai, you get decent groundswells with long periods and if you hit it with the right combination of wind and size, it makes it worth the long drive. See the links to Al Ashkharah, Asilyah, and Masirah Island for more information about previous SOD trips to Oman.
  • Where's the best place to go in Oman?
    • The eastern coast - seems to get bigger as you go further south. Generally, if you see light blue on the swell chart then that means surfable waves on Masirah Island (just) and not surfable up the coast towards Ras Al Hadd. Can't say for Salalah because so far I've only been there when it was big and messy.
  • When's the best time to go to Oman?
    • Most swell is in the summer months from May through September. But that's also the windiest time of year and although the water temperature is fine, the wind makes it unpleasant sitting on the beach or camping. You may, oddly enough, want your wetsuit in the summer! The winter months have not much swell but if there are waves, it's usually a much more pleasant time of year to go. Not as cold as Dubai - water and air - and usually not much wind.
  • Where can I stay in Oman?
    • Camp on the beach - be prepared for attention from curious locals no matter how isolated it seems and lock your valuables in your car if you're surfing, teenage males especially don't seem to have quite the same concept of ownership as you (apparently apples seem to placate them!). There are some hotels of varying standards (5 star in Muscat). See the Al Ashkarah Oman surf trip page for details of some hotels and maps (at the bottom).
  • What should I bring if I go surfing in Oman?
    • A surfboard at least. And if you're camping on the beaches (likely if you're surfing), you'll need everything. Bring lots of water. Much more information in the forum - What to bring to Oman.
  • Do I need a visa to visit Oman?
    • You'll need some sort of visa - rules are different depending on nationality, job, how long you've been in the UAE, whether or not you're a tourist, who you're traveling with and probably other things I can't think of. Don't assume anything you read on the internet (including this page) is up to date. Even travel agents and border authorities will give conflicting information. As of July 2003, most western nationalities who had a residence visa for UAE could get single or multi entry visas either at the consulate or at the border - 30 dhs for single entry, 100 dhs for multi entry. Tourists to UAE don't need an additional visa if they had a joint visa for UAE/Oman but I think they can only enter through Hatta. Tourists (and residents as of 2004) leaving via Hatta need to stop at the police checkpoint just inside the the Hatta Fort Hotel entrance to get an exit stamp from UAE. Royal Oman Police deals with visa regulations so check their website first. See the forum for Oman visa information, or the ROP website for visa information here.
  • How do I get to Oman and can I get a lift with someone?
  • Do I need car insurance for Oman?
    • Yes. You can get it included with your normal insurance, make sure you know where it says you have Oman insurance (in Arabic) - you'll need to show it at the border. One time I went through, the policeman on duty claimed I didn't have Oman insurance until I pointed it out on the form. You can get it from your insurance company as a one-off thing - allow some time to do this. You can buy third party only at the border (don't know cost). Note that most car rental companies in UAE will not insure the car for Oman and/or off-road. See also the forum topic - Car rental in Oman.
  • Why don't you take people under 18 on your trips to Oman?
    • Actually, I don't take anyone to Oman. Groups of SODs organise themselves to go to Oman, some of them (and I) publicise an intended trip in the surf discussion forum in case others want to come along at the same time. So anyone is welcome to join in - the youngest we've seen was less than 1 yr old! What I don't do is offer lifts or organise them for people under 18 because I'm not prepared to act as a parent or guardian (actually, I don't really organise much for anyone over 18 either). So you either need to go with someone who is, or persuade your parents to take you, or do what some younger SODs have done in the past and catch a bus (search the forum for more information about that).
  • Are there sharks in Oman?
    • Probably. Also lots of other sea life so hopefully they're not hungry enough for surfers. The eastern coast is reputedly a Tiger Shark habitat. Often you'll see sharks on the backs of the fishermen's trucks that drive up and down the coast.

Surfboards and equipment (back to top)

  • Where can I buy surfboards and other stuff here?
    • New ones from Al Boom Marine, Geco Marine, sports shops in Ibn Battuta Mall and Mall of the Emirates (Ripcurl and Quicksilver), and/or from other SODs in the forum. Second hand from supermarket noticeboards, word of mouth, or the surf forum trading section (best place). More information on the buying surf gear page.
  • Where can I repair my surfboard or get a new fin?
    • See the surfboard repairs forum topic - sometimes Dr Ding is around to fix up your board. Otherwise you'll have to get a mate to do it for you or have a crack at it yourself - search the Surfers of Dubai forum to help you get started. Try the surf shop Dubai page for a fin or one of the other shops around Dubai - Al Boom Marine, Ibn Battuta Mall, Mall of the Emirates.

SOD Forum (back to top)

  • How do I register?
    • Click on the register link at the top right of the home page. Or click here.
  • Why can't I add a topic/reply to a topic/edit a topic/delete a topic?
    • You need to register to do anything more than read the topics. Different sections have different restrictions - at the bottom of each page is a list of what you can and cannot do. If I'm not able to monitor the forum (for example I'm on holiday), it may be more restricted. Then you need to become a member of a group to have less restrictions (see the usergroups link at the top of the forum page).
  • What do the labels under my username mean?
    • They're related to the number of posts you make - more posts means more dots and a different label.
  • Why have I got the label wipeout warning?
    • You've posted something that was against the rules but not bad enough to get you banned straightaway. Or if it wasn't against the rules, it was annoying in some way.
  • How do I change the label wipeout warning?
    • You delete whatever post got you that label and then ask me (use the form on the contact us page). It helps if you do it politely and wait for a few days.
  • Why have I got the label wipeout?
    • You've been banned from using the forum - you can still read stuff - because you did something that was against the rules, or you were really really annoying.
  • Can I be unbanned from the forum?
    • No. But you may be able to register again depending on if you've had username, email, and/or IP banned. And if you carry on posting the same way as you did before, you'll probably get banned again.
  • How do I use the forum?
    • Read stuff, register, start replying or adding stuff yourself. For more details, see the forum FAQs and help. For rules and problems see this topic.
  • How can I add images from the gallery to the forum?

Other (back to top)

  • The swell forecast links don't work, what do I do?
    • Depends on the problem. Check you have https instead of http at the beginning of the URL for the navy forecasts. The met office forecast rarely seems to work - either not loading or showing out of date forecasts (up to September 2004 so far). Press <CTRL> + <F5> to refresh the page. If you've typed in the link, delete and copy/paste it from where ever you got it. It may be a problem with their site and no one can get access - ask someone else if they have access. Occasionally the problem is operator malfunction. Try a restart and have a drink...
  • Where can I get current surf and weather information?
    • From several links and other places (weather office, newspapers, etc). See the surf forecasts and weather forum topic for more information.
  • How do I add images to the SOD gallery?
  • Where can I get general information about Dubai?
    • Dubai FAQs is a good enoough website to start with.

More questions? Search the forum or ask a question there... (back to top)

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