Finally, the cool new hybrid sport of ‘stand up paddleboarding’ is being taken to a whole new level in the capital with the upcoming inaugural Abu Dhabi All Stars Invitational from April 4-7.
A selection of the world’s very best stand up paddlesurfers – including 10-time world champion Jamie Mitchell and current world champ Brazil’s Leco Salazar – are now in town just for the event, which is in line with both the prestigious Stand Up World Tour, as well as Abu Dhabi’s third Abu Dhabi Beach Games Festival, presented by the Abu Dhabi Sailing and Yacht Club (ADSYC), UAE SUP and Al Ain’s Wadi Adventure Park.
The All Stars event will take the world of competitive surfing into a new realm, first at Wadi Adventure’s innovative wave pool on Thursday, April 4, and Friday, April 5, then into the centre of the city on Saturday for the heat format elimination sprints in front of Breakwater crowds, a combo of events that will highlight the appeal, diversity and reach of the sport of SUP.
Unlike most surf events that are at the mercy of the surf forecast and nature’s ever-changing playing field, the wave pool at Wadi Adventure provides mechanical consistency, where every athlete will have exactly the same opportunities to surf, leaving it to their individual performance on the day to make the difference between winning and losing.
Each athlete competing there will get to surf on their backhand, forehand and shoot-to-boost progressive manoeuvres off the closeout in a bid to qualify for the final two places in the man-on-man quarter-finals. This basically means the competition will be one of the closest and most progressive and dynamic in SUP events you will ever witness in the UAE.
Then, moving over to ADSYC, the city’s beach-goers will be well entertained with the sprint races, the objective of which is to provide a complete and well rounded test of the All Stars’ abilities, as well as open up the sport to the UAE and promote its growth and development… with a backdrop of Abu Dhabi’s gorgeous cityscape.
You won’t have to go far to catch the action, which will include open racing in the morning providing eight lucky men and four lucky women a chance to compete alongside the elites atop the increasingly popular inflatable boards.
As the first race of its kind adopting this kind of board at an elite level, it will be a chance to test the travel-friendly equipment at the highest level, as well as provide another level playing field for the athletes.
We say: Definitely get down there and get your suntan lotion out. It’s going to be a long day at the beach.
When and where to catch the action:
Thursday, April 4 | Wadi Adventure, Al Ain
1:00pm Live show begins
1:30pm Round 1: the ‘Rights’
3:00pm Round 2: the ‘Lefts’
4:30pm Round 3: the ‘Closeouts’
6:00pm Women’s exhibition
6:30pm-8pm Freesurf Session
Friday, April 5 | Wadi Adventure, Al Ain
10:00am Live show begins
10:30am Sudden death round
12:00pm Lunch break
1:30pm live show picks back up again
5:00pm Look back and build up to the consolation finals & finals
5:30pm Consolation finals
7:15pm Podium at Wadi Adventure Park
WHAT: The Abu Dhabi Surf & Paddle All Stars Invitational
WHEN: April 4-7
AGES: All welcome
Sport360° VERDICT: The Abu Dhabi Surf & Paddle All Stars Invitational is set to make waves in the UAE’s capital, as the world’s best will expose the Emirates to the wonders of stand up paddling at its highest level. Get ready to make a splash.