While the early days of surfing in Dubai were simply a case of picking the best sandbank anywhere along the coast, modern offshore construction has whittled the options down to two main surf spots in the city.
Our home for the last 13 years and the most widely known surf spot in Dubai, we've almost got used to surfing in the shadow of the Burj Al Arab.
Now supervised by Lifeguards all year round and divided into dedicated 'surfing only' and 'swimming only' zones, Sunset Beach is perfect for a quick morning wave before work or a cheeky last-light surf.
It's also our go-to for surf lessons as mid tide provides nice rolling white water over a flat sand bottom in the near-shore.
When it's flat Sunset Beach is where you'll enjoy the SUP you've hired from us - a safe easy place to learn the basics or from which to venture further afield if you're more experienced.
Sunset Beach can be described as a pretty standard beach break with varying quality in the sand banks over the seasons and years, offering surprisingly good sessions when everything lines up.
The south and north end offers smaller more wind-protected conditions with the centre of the beach picking up the most size.
You'll often find a committed crew of long time Dubai surfers faithful to Sunset on any given day, mixed in with passing surf tourists, learners and a range of abilities. Crowds fluctuate from intense on perfect, small Spring days to surprisingly sparse on the bigger days, especially mid week.
Bring your shortboard, fish or all-rounder for the first day of a swell (expect windy and wild conditions so a bit of extra volume never hurts).
Bring your performance groveller, longboard or any alternative craft you wish for the second day of the swell and enjoy pristine small wave conditions.
Works best on the push from low to high, and still holds decent form at high when over chest high. The bottom of low (especially Spring Low Tides) can render the entire beach a heaving close out, good only for inspecting the finer details of sand particles on the seabed after a free fall wipeout.
NORTH BEACH (and Nikki Beach)
North Beach on the Pearl Jumeirah is one of the rare examples of man-made construction actually creating a surfing wave where non existed before. The island was only built only a few years ago and the waves there were discovered by a small group of adventurous Dubai surfers shortly after. The word soon spread and North Beach now attracts a significant crowd even at the smallest hint of swell due to the quality of it's sand banks and extra swell exposure.
Divided in the public beach at the south end and Nikki Beach private resort extending from the middle to north end, North Beach is the swell magnet of the region and is always bigger than Sunset Beach.
Surf House Nikki Beach is located in the middle of Nikki Beach's private resort offering SUP hire on flat days - the perfect place to look back from the water at Dubai's impressive skyline.
There are several defined peaks along the length of the beach. The south a-frame has a short right-hander breaking into the strong rip current along the rock break water and a rippable walling left when the tide is just right.
(Note: While the break water rip current is a handy short cut for experienced surfers it is still very dangerous due to it's strong pull out to see in close proximity to rocks covered in sea urchins. The rip should be avoid by beginners and those less confident in their water skills).
Across the rope into Nikki Beach's private resort you have a series of left and right peaks appearing and disappearing at different stages of the tide, with long walls and even the occasional barrel on offer if you're lucky to be in the right place at the right time.
Tucked into the north corner against the rock break-water is the best right-hander - a consistent peak that peels from further out and gives the longest rides at North Beach.
With over-head days not uncommon during the peak season of December to March a reliable shortboard is a must for when the swell hits.
The day after a big swell we are often graced with head-high clean performance conditions, so bring out you small wave high performance board to polish your rail surfing game.
The last pulse of a swell is often still rideable at North Beach so your mid-length, groveller, longboard or whatever floats your boat is the call for those hip-high days.
Similar to Sunset Beach, North Beach works best on the push from low to high, however at high tide you need decent sized swell to stop the near-shore gutter turning the wave to mush. Low provides a mixed bag of closeouts, fast walls and barrels depending on the swell size, wind direction and health of the sand banks, but North Beach definitely manages low tide better than Sunset Beach.