The DMEX 2005 is not only about diving. There are several companies in Dubai who combine their diving operations with other water sports.
The largest one of these is Al Boom Diving and Al Boom Marine. Al Boom has been operating in Dubai for 15 years, and they had centres all over the U.A.E. The Marine company are dealers for all the top brands of water sport gear and accessories, O’Neill, Oakley, No Fear, Rip Curl, to name a few. I asked the exhibitor, Mr. K.T. Thomas to show me few of their new items on display in the show and their showrooms.
The first item was a sexy neoprene vest from O’Neill called the Vapour, designed especially for wakeboarding and for competition use with rib protection and support, flotation and is designed with a back zip. It is the most form-fitting vest ever developed, with a segmented core for improved flexibility and fit, with no belts, straps or restrictions. They are also retailing the new MP3 player from Oakley, which is designed upon a pair of sunglasses, called the . It is basically high-performance optics integrated with state of the art audio engine. One of the other exhibitors was sporting the new with the ATS system (automatic tide system), which lets you know what the tide is doing at your local beach including a stopwatch, tide range, alarm, and timer. Al Boom Marine is also a dealer for Zoggs, who manufacture swimwear and swim accessories, and as expressed to me by Thomas, products for “water confidence”. Al Boom also own a chain of shops in the U.A.E. called Beyond the Beach which retails surf wear or “lifestyle” wear, which seems to be a word thrown about a lot at the moment. I was recently offered a job which was described as a “lifestyle” position… I have yet to figure out what that means!
Al Boom also sell surfboards, jet skis, kite boards, and offer training through independent qualified instructors based in the U.A.E.
Thomas spoke about the growing water sports industry in the U.A.E., which has especially boomed in the last five years with the growth of new hotels with state of the art dive centres and water sports facilities, aquatic parks, and water worlds. “Water confidence” was a word he used, and truly so, there are more and more people in the clear waters of the Dubai coasts than ever before.
Speaking further on water sports, Dubai and the other Emirates are not the only option for diving and water sports in the Gulf. Just a two hour drive from Dubai, lies the Musandam, a crystalline area of Oman with six islands, nestled in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.
Al Marsa, the only operator out in the Musandam, have two liveaboards operating in this area. The great aspect of these liveaboards is that there is no need to take a week’s holiday from Dubai. You drive out on a Thursday night, stay two nights on board, and return Saturday evening. The liveaboards are the typical Arab dhows, and are similar to the smaller traditional liveaboards you may find in the Maldives.
The “Red Dhow” as it is known, sleeps 14-16, and the blue dhow sleeps 12. Each cabin has air conditioning and a private bath with hot and cold water. 3 meals a day are included and 3 dives a day. There are six crew members on board including the DM/Instructor and dives are done from a tender. If you are snorkelling only there is no problem as the liveaboard is moored off shallow reefs with easy access for swimmers and snorkellers.
There is another area to Al Marsa… and that’s Al Marsa Extreme Sports. Extreme Sports offer Paragliding, Paramotoring, and Delta gliders. The instructors are all from Bulgaria. The extreme sports events are one day only; i.e. there is no accommodation, however, if you are out on a day trip diving, you can be picked up from the dive boat on their speedboat. More information can be found on their website.
So if you thought that the Middle East was just oilrigs, camels and falcons…. It’s time to take a trip and get over here… and Emirates Airlines flies from just about everywhere.
Right I am off again to the show, more to follow later.
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