A community of kitesurfers ride a wave of interest on Dubai’s beaches

Elevated water sport is on the rise in the Gulf, where light onshore winds are ideal for beginners.

Kitesurfing – riding a modified surfboard while holding a specially designed wind-powered kite – is becoming an increasingly popular water sport around the world.

Many destinations have become synonymous with kitesurfing: Cabarete in the Dominican Republic; Cumbuco in Brazil; Mancora in Peru; La Ventana in Mexico; Maui to Hawaii; Tarifa, Spain and Sumbawa, Indonesia. Today, the United Arab Emirates hopes to become a paradise for kitesurfers too, thanks to favorable conditions particularly suitable for beginners.

The ideal wind speed for kitesurfing is between 19 and 40 kilometers per hour. Training for beginners is best done in lighter wind ranges with bigger kites.

The gulf offers consistent good conditions for kitesurfing with year-round sunshine and clear skies, complemented by light onshore 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 kitesurf almost every week. There are always nice, not too big waves.”

Georgio says kitesurfing has changed his life. For many, it turns out to be a way to connect with the local community. Having moved to Dubai late last year, young 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 hot, and I was walking on the beach and saw people kitesurfing. I thought it was so cool , I wanted to be part of it.” Yikun said. “The community is amazing. I’ve met so many friends here. Everyone is from a different country. We all have different interests, but we all love the same thing; we all love kitesurfing.”

A kiteboarding instructor at Dukite, Hesham Samir, has been busy with new recruits. The most effective advertising for the company turned out to be more visual than oral. Swimmers seeing Dukite surfers on the water often wonder how they can get involved.

“Kitesurfing is a growing sport and community, and [in Dubai] you can find lots of people kitesurfing from all over the world. It draws everyone to the beach,” Hesham says. “A lot of people are excited about it and come up asking, what is it? And then, we explain the procedure to you to learn. Once they get into it, they really like it.”

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