Category Archives: Sports

Learn to Flyboard… with 10% discount!

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K flyboarding!

It is fun to try new things, especially if you can do them only in a few places in the world.

It all started with me looking for some exciting activity to book for W and his sister K as a birthday gift: they are both thrill-seekers and I really wanted to get them something special. Imagine my excitement when I realised they could try Flyboarding!

Flyboarding is a brand new watersport: according to Wikipedia it was only invented in 2011.

To flyboard you have to wear boots which have jet water nozzles underneath them.
These are attached to a jet sky, through a very long hose. The movement of the jet ski creates the power pressure in the hose… so the person wearing the boots gets pushed up in the air.

Basically: do you remember that scene in Iron Man 3 when this happens? (see pic below)
Well, it is basically the same, but with less Robert Downey Junior and a lot more sunshine.

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(photo © Walt Disney)

After a bit of research, I decided to book with Flyboards UAE ( flyboardsuae@gmail.com official websiteofficial facebook page) on a lazy Saturday morning.

They sent us directions to a beautiful beach with cristalline water – which, by the way, we did not know existed – and once there an instructor helped W and K get the most out of their 30min sessions. He secured their jet boots (I am not sure if they are actually called like this, but hey!) and teached them how to stand up over the water.

The beautiful beach...

The beautiful beach…

…and the flyboarding kit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The instructor fixing the jet boots on K

The instructor fixing the jet boots…

…and she’s off!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the first five minutes both were obviously spluttering water and falling repeatedly, but once they got the knack of it, they had a blast.
They did so well that boats passing by even started filming them! (They are probably on youtube somewhere right now!)

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W in action…

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…and K in action.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was so fun, both to do it and to be there watching and cheering, so I would wholeheartedly recommend this as a new, fun sport activity.

Pro tip? Keep those feet horizontal!!

But it gets better: once hearing about our intention to write about our fun experience on the blog, the guys at Flyboards UAE said that they will give 10% discount on their 30 minutes session to whoever books mentioning the fact that they read this blog post!

If this is something you would like to do, however, you better hurry up: booking is possible until the end of June, but then they will close for the whole month of July and you will have to wait until mid August to be able to book again.

Happy flying!

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Click HERE to read more about SPORT or HERE to read about LEARNING NEW THINGS.
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Three days left to become a marshal at the Formula 1 Grand Prix!

(photo © SWB Sports Co Za)

With tickets to the upcoming 2014 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix selling like hot cakes (apparently this year marked a new record, with 75% already gone) becoming a volunteer marshal sounds like a great option!

The Abu Dhabi Touring Club UAE (ATC) is looking for volunteer marshals to help trackside at the 2014 Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix.
All they need are individuals which are at least 18 years old of age, committed to attend the trainings and willing to actively participate in the Formula 1 Grand Prix.

Today I called the ATC and they have been incredibly helpful: basically they said that they already have around 70% of the marshals they need, but they still have openings, so if you think you might be available to volunteer for this event please send your confirmation at marshals@atcuae.ae no later than Wednesday 11 June. (Yes, in just about three days).

The first training is scheduled for this Friday, 13 June at 1PM, and it will last until 5PM – at the latest.
It will be held in the Media Centre inside the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. Registration will be open from 12.
Another two or three trainings will follow ( The next dates should be: Friday the 12 September and Friday the 10 October) and then an official list of the marshals will be released. Please note that attending the training do not automatically ensure you a marshalling place.

If you read this post and the 11 is already in the past, no worries: you can still email them and they will put your name in their database, ready to be called at the next chance: the ATC needs marshals for a lot of other races throughout the year, not only the F1, such as the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge and more.

If you like racing and want to experience the thrill of being trackside, you better hurry up!

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Click HERE to read more about SPORT or HERE about volunteering in Abu Dhabi.
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Red Bull Air Race: the results.

Paul Bonhomme

British winner Paul Bonhomme (photo © Red Bull Air Race)

As I mentioned in a previous post, the Red Bull Air Race World Championship started its 2014 journey in Abu Dhabi, and the daredevils that entertained us pirouetting over our beloved Corniche are now off to Croatia.
Out of the 12 contestants, British pilot Paul Bonhomme has been crowned the winner of this first race, completing the course in only 56.439 seconds! Hannes Arch from Austria and Pete McLeod from Canada finished in second and third place.
I look forward to next year for another thrilling day on the beach!

The winners (Photo: © Red Bull Air Race)

(Photo: © Red Bull Air Race)

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Click HERE to read more about SPORTS in Abu Dhabi.
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Dhow race on the Corniche – tomorrow 8th March

(Photo: © Abu Dhabi Sailing and Yacht Club)

I must admit it: I could not find many information about this event, apart from the fact that it is called Arzanah Dhow Sailing Race 60FT, (some photos of a previous event are on Facebook), that it is happening from 2pm to 5pm on the Abu Dhabi Corniche tomorrow, Saturday 8th of March, and that is organised by the Abu Dhabi sailing and yacht club.
I called them on 02 658 3333 and they confirmed that the race is on, but that’s all I know!

The tradition of dhow races, as I wrote in a previous post, is still thriving: these boats originally were used as trading vessels, and as an essential part of the pearl-diving industry, but today they are employed for racing. The racing season starts in September, with 12-man teams of UAE nationals competing in a tournament spread over nine months. The final and most prestigious race of the season is from Sir Bu Na’air Island to Dubai, a distance of 54 nautical miles, over a route taken by the early pearling dhows at a time when each captain raced to be the first back to port, and perhaps get the best price for his pearls.

Dhow is not an Arabic word but was adapted by the British from the Persian word dawh, meaning sailing vessel.
The dhow is distinguished from other boats by its triangular sail, known as lateen. Teak is still the mandatory timber, though nowadays is sometimes supplemented by fibreglass and steel framework.
The wood may be varnished yet not painted, in deference to the tradition of leaving the hull above the waterline untreated and painting the part below with lime, as a deterrent to barnacles and other growth.

I guess the best thing is to turn up on the beach and see what happens there, and I look forward to it!

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Click HERE to read more about SPORTS in Abu Dhabi.
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Abu Dhabi Color Run – 29th March

Color Run presented by Daman's Activelife all set for Abu Dhabi

(Photo: © Color Run)

Saturday the 29th of March, at the Yas Marina Circuit, everyone is invited to take part in a (literal) explosion of colours, a celebration of sports and joie-de-vivre.

The Colour Run is a non-competitive run: this 5 Km event sees runners wearing white and becoming moving works of art with each kilometer, as they are doused from head to toe in coloured powder, whilst live music pumps out of speakers along the course.
And for those who ask …but why?! I respond: why not?! (But yes, maybe do not wear a very expensive white t-shirt, that’s it).

This concept was originally invented in America, as a way to raise money for charity and have fun at the same time, but it is now a worldwide event, open to all ages and levels of fitness. Check the official FAQ page for more information, or the official website, facebook page, instagram, or youtube.

Registrations are already open and will close on Saturday 22nd of March. Places are limited so those interested best hurry up!
Entries cost 140 AED and include a gift pack, an event t-shirt, a sweatband and a colour pack. Part of the registration fee will be donated to charity through Just Giving.

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Click HERE to read more about SPORTS in Abu Dhabi.line

Red Bull Air Race – 28Feb / 1March

(Photo: © Red Bull Air Race/C.J. Wilson)

I am getting ready for blissful neck pain, as the Red Bull Air Race Championship arrives to Abu Dhabi!

This world championships starts in Abu Dhabi and continues in other 7 cities, with races held from February to November.
Competitors fly individually through the obstacle course, and the top nine fastest pilots earn points: at the end of the whole championship, the person with the most points is crowned the winner. Easier said than done!
Usually this race is over 2 days, the first of qualifications and the second of knock-out finals.

This weekend, the 28th February and 1st of March, the sky over our beloved Corniche will be full of champions of the air, keen to showcase their acrobatic prowess.
Some of the best daredevils in the world will use the fastest, most agile and lightweight racing planes, trying to navigate a low-level aerial track made up of 25-metres-high air-filled pylons. Average speed is usually up to 370 Km/h!
Flying through the racecourse requires agility and incredible pilot precision, as the course has high-G turns and challenging corners, making for an amazing show to watch from the ground.

Apart from the flying acrobatics, another highlight of the weekend will also be the concert on February 28th, which will feature Arab popstar Nancy Ajram (whose hits include Akhasmak Ah and Aah W Noss) and Lebanese songwriter Ramy Ayach (whose hits include Khallini Maak and Ya Msahar Heini), supported by Egyptian pop rockers Wust El Balad (whose hits include Qol Lelmaleha and Arabeily2 ).

Tickets are available in Virgin megastores around the city, in special-made booths on the Corniche, and on the Redbull Air Race official website.
The concert will be free to all those who already have a ticket for the Red Bull Air Race, or can be purchased separately for 150 AED.

EVENT SCHEDULE:
Feb 28:
1PM – 6PM – Challengers Race and Masters Qualifying
8PM – 12AM  – Concert (Doors open at 6PM)
Mar 1:
1PM- 6PM – Masters Race

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Click HERE to read more about SPORT or HERE to read more about MUSIC, in Abu Dhabi.
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Hybrid Electric Challenge – 30 / 31 Jan

(photo © TAQA )

(photo © TAQA )

On the 30th and the 31st of January 2014 the Al Forsan Sports Resort in Abu Dhabi will host the first TAQA GCC Hybrid Electric Challenge.

During this two-days of racing, student teams from universities across the Gulf region will compete against each other in hybrid electric cars which they have personally designed and built.

The first day of the championship will see a race of battery-powered electrical cars on the Al Forsan racetrack, to see which are the fastest and the ones that go the longest distance, whilst on the second day the generator-powered electrical hybrid cars will compete in a 3-hours endurance race. Detailed schedule for the 30th and 31st can be found here.

To be in the audience for what sounds like a weekend of great fun, we just need to register to receive an e-invite.

More info about this races on the official website or contacting the Al Forsan sports resort.

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HSBC Golf Championships: – 2 days.

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(photo © Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championships )

The Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championships, part of the European Tour tournament, is back in town for the ninth year.
From Monday 13th of January to Sunday 19th of January, the big names of golf will be battling it on the green of the Abu Dhabi Golf Club (here are the directions).

The first three days are not ticketed, and the entry is free for all, whilst young people under 18 can always enter for free, any day of the week-long event, as long as they are accompanied by a ticket-paying adult.

Those who are part of the Etihad Guest miles programs might want to check their account, as they are also likely to get free tickets, since Etihad is an official sponsor of this sport tournament.

Most of all, though, the theme days mean that on different dates, a lot of people belonging to different categories will enter for free:
Thursday 16th January: Mini Falcons’ Day Out = Free entry for all Mums and Children.
Friday 17th January: Ladies Day = Free entry for all ladies.
Saturday 18th January: A Splash of Red = Free entry for everyone wearing red.

Tickets are still available on Ticketmaster and can be either a one day ticket, or a season ticket, valid for the four days of the championships (prices from 37.50 to 50 AED).

Here is the complete schedule for the week-long event.

Golfing stars set to return to Abu Dhabi for this year include five-time Major winner and current world number 4, Phil Mickelson, former world number one Rory McIlroy, reigning US Open title-holder Justin Rose, Abu Dhabi’s record-breaking Global Golf Ambassador Matteo Manassero, world number 14 Luke Donald, and three-time Falcon Trophy holder Martin Kaymer. All will challenge reigning champion Jamie Donaldson for the title.

Since recently W and I have taken up golf, it will be real fun to see professional players in action for our very first time.
Also the off-course entertainment is supposed to be really good. This year apparently there is a new public Sky Box overlooking the 17th green, which will also sell refreshments. I assume it will be quite a crowded spot, but definitely we will try to pay it a visit.

More information: Official HSBC Golf Championships website

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Click HERE to read more about SPORTS in Abu Dhabi
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Traditional Sports of the UAE

The UAE has a rich sport tradition.

The Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (adach.ae) published some very interesting leaflets about Emirati customs and culture, so I thought it would be interesting to share them on the blog. All the data below has been taken from these pamphlets.

FALCONRY
The Arabs have engaged in falconry for over 2.000 years and the skills involved in the sport have been passed down through the generations.
Falconry depends on patience and partnership between bird and handler: the bird demonstrates trust and obedience; the handler shows friendship and compassion.

Peregrine and Lanner falcons are the preferred breeds for training.

In his book Falconry: Our Arab Heritage, HH the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan,  described the main methods of capturing the birds.
At first, the hunter conceals himself beneath branches in a pit in the ground, then he releases a pigeon with a string attached to its leg from the pit, to act as a lure. When the falcon seizes its prey, the hunter carefully winds in the string until the bird is within his reach. An alternative means of capture is netting: a pigeon is released under a net when a falcon is nearby, and in its rush to attack the pigeon, the falcon becomes entangled in the net, from where the hunter gently removes and tethers it. The bird is then handed over to a falconer to start its training. UAE falconers have also developed their own breeding techniques which enthusiasts of the sport rate as the best in the world.

SALUKIS

The Bedouin have been breeding Saluki dogs for thousands of years. The name derives from the city of Saluk, in the Hadhramaut area of Yemen. These desert hounds are known for their exceptional stamina, as they can run for long distances and reach speeds of up to 65mph, as well as for their intelligence and loyalty.

The Arabian Saluki Centre provides excellent facilities and professional advice on breeding, behaviour, exercise regimes, diet and general health. In the UAE, racing salukis is as popular as greyhound racing in other parts of the world.

CAMEL RACING

Originally camel racing was only the sport of the Bedouin, but it has grown in popularity. The racing season between early October and mid-April is now eagerly anticipated by a growing number of enthusiasts, especially since entrance to racetracks is free.

Races were originally held in an informal setting, at weddings or festivals, but now there are 15 custom-built racetracks in the UAE. Sweihan Racetrack (130 Km from Abu Dhabi) and Al Ain Racetrack (approx. 25 Km from Al Ain) are two of the most popular places to enjoy this spectacular sport.

Camel racing is now a major industry employing over 9,000 people, tending over 14,000 racing camels. The formation of the Camel Racing Association has resulted in the highest standards of animal welfare and scrupulous ethics that have become a benchmark for other countries. The use of child jockeys was banned some years ago: now the use of remote-controlled robot as jockeys is very popular.

The three main breeds of racing camel are al mahaliyat, a brown breed, indigenous to the UAE, al sudaniyat, a large, white Sudanese camel, and al muhajanat, a cross-breed of the two.
Racing camels are usually the product of careful selective breeding and can attain the value and prestige of racehorses.
Betting is illegal, but winning camels receive expensive prizes. The final race of the season is held at Al Wathba (40 Km from Abu Dhabi) and attracts entrants from all over the world.

Thoroughbred racing camels begin training when they are about two years old and learn to obey basic commands. A two-kilometre gallop is used to identify potential champions and those selected are groomed for a future on the track. Traditionally, race camels are fed on dates, honey, alfalfa, milk and grains.

DHOW RACING

The tradition of dhow building in the UAE is still thriving and although the enormous white sails have been replaced by diesel engines, master boat builders still apply the skills developed over the centuries to create the familiar curved wooden shape. Originally used as trading vessels, and as an essential part of the pearl-diving industry, dhows are still employed for transporting cargo, but are also used for dhow racing.

The racing season starts in September, with 12-man teams of UAE nationals competing in a tournament spread over nine months. The final and most prestigious race of the season is from Sir Bu Na’air Island to Dubai, a distance of 54 nautical miles, over a route taken by the early pearling dhows at a time when each captain raced to be the first back to port, and perhaps get the best price for his pearls.

Dhow is not an Arabic word but was adapted by the British from the Persian word dawh, meaning sailing vessel.
The dhow is distinguished from other boats by its triangular sail, known as lateen. Teak is still the mandatory timber, though nowadays is sometimes supplemented by fibreglass and steel framework.
The wood may be varnished yet not painted, in deference to the tradition of leaving the hull above the waterline untreated and painting the part below with lime, as a deterrent to barnacles and other growth.

An excellent place to witness the age-old craft of dhow building is at the Al-Bateen boatyard in Abu Dhabi, where hand tools and the knowledge and skill of the shipwright alone are relied upon to produce the UAE’s best racing dhows, without using plans or drawings.

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Click HERE to read more about ART and CULTURE, HERE to read more about SPORTS,
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Learning golf in one week

A new challenge.

Playing any kind of sport against W (or board games, or video games or any competition, actually) means that I have to resign myself to a sore defeat, day after day.
He is one of those people who are just great at everything they try, whilst I am not as gifted, especially when it comes to sports!

Imagine my reaction when he suggested we take part in the Learn Golf in One Week course, at Yas Links Academy!
I had played golf a bazillion years ago, when I was a little girl, and I can still hear my dear friend F (which is an amazing golfer, by the way) laughing in my face all the way to the green.
I was not sure the results this time could be much different, but you know what? Life is for the living, so I said yes!

Evening practice.

The course is organised over a week, starting on Sunday, and it is taught by Craeg Deery, a professional golfer from the UK.
It starts from the basics, such as ‘how to hit the ball’, and patiently moves forward, at a very reasonable pace.

Hitting the ball sounds easy enough, but it actually takes time to learn how to hold the club in the right way, how to do the swings without twisting a muscle or two, how to position the ball to make sure it is actually going to go somewhere and so on.

After the first two lessons, we had two days of ‘rest’, however we were allowed to use all the club’s facilities for free and we were very much encouraged to go back and keep practising.
The final stage of the course saw us learning the differences between clubs, working on precision as well as distance, and playing a short game on the 9 Hole Academy Course.

So, did we learn to play golf in a week?!

Well, i think W did. He did amazingly well and I think the instructor was very pleased with him.
About me, I can’t say I could play Tiger Wood tomorrow, however I feel confident that I now know the basics, I improved a lot since I first started, and I was quite happy with my scores in the final game. Next time my friend F comes to visit me, I hope she won’t laugh as much as in the past!

In conclusion, I think golf, as every other sport, needs a lot of practice and dedication, but this class certainly made me want to play more, and made me curious and confident enough to step on a golf course knowing at least my irons from my woods.
Being a total disaster at sports, I think this experience has been really positive, and I would certainly recommend this course to anyone who is willing to try something new and enjoy the beautiful weather on this side of the world.

Lovely courtyard at the Academy.

‘Learn Golf in a week’ is one of the several courses held at Yas Links Golf Academy

Costs: AED 795 per person.
Lasts: One week
More info: website

 

 

 

More photos of our week are below:

The golf Academy.

The practice field.

Yas Waterworld in the background.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The practice grounds.

The course is lit at night.

The 9 holes course.

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Click HERE for more ideas about SPORT in Abu Dhabi.
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