People are often surprised when I tell them I learnt to surf in the Middle East over 120 kilometers away from the coast in what is arguably the worlds best wave pool. Wadi Adventure in Al Ain is about an hour and a half from where I reside in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Originally from Sydney, I always had an interest in surfing but was too scared to take on the ocean and the crowds. After moving across the world, I discovered the perfect solution and it came in the form of a chlorinated man-made break.
The wave pool comes with 6 height settings (measured in feet from the face of the wave) and 6 wave types (left, right, close out, parallel, split parallel and A-frame). This means the pool can cater to every surfing need, from those just trying to figure out how to stand up to those practicing their reverse airs. It’s also home to the annual Volcom Jam, where points are awarded for unnecessary claims, retro surf gear and general enthusiasm.
Though it may seem surprising, the surfing community in the Middle East is thriving. Wadi Adventure has certainly contributed greatly with many surf pros coming to test out our very own desert playground. From Sally to Alanna and Dion to Adriano. Everyone who has come to visit has made the most of it.
The pool works when the 10 large chambers at the back of the wall are filled with water. Hydraulic doors which seal each chamber then release the water in a particular time and pattern, which is how you can create differing wave sizes and types. The waves are generated every 90 seconds, which is just enough time to paddle back if you’re lucky enough to have the place to yourself.
Of course learning to surf in an artificial pool has created it’s own set of challenges for me personally (predominately wave selection, direction and take off location). So if you see me in the line up, don’t be afraid to whisper, “It’s a left, Donna”.
Sadly the pool has been plagued with mechanical issues lately and staff are working towards a permanent solution. If you’re planning to visit its worthwhile asking if the pool is 100% functional. You can do that here: http://www.wadiadventure.ae/
x Donna Masing | @girls_go_surfing