TANKED

THE PROS ARE STOKED. THOSE OUT­SIDE OF THE CIR­CLE OF ARE GRUMBLING. THE QUES­TION IS: ARE WAVE POOLS GO­ING TO BE­COME COOL?

Carve - - CONTENTS - AN OP-ED BY CRAIG JARVIS PHO­TOS COUR­TESY WSL

Ev­ery­one has an opinion on Kelly's pool and the fu­ture of surf­ing. This is Jarvi's take on fresh­wa­ter per­fec­tion.

Afew years ago my wife and I were stuck in Dubai. We were pass­ing through, but for some rea­son we had a few days to kill be­fore our con­nect­ing flight back home. I can‚äôt re­mem­ber the de­tails, or the prob­lem, but to make up for it, we de­cided to go surf­ing.

The Wadi Ad­ven­ture fa­cil­ity is sit­u­ated about two hours away from The Palm area of Dubai. Just jump into a taxi and head into the desert. The wave pool sits at the base of Jebel Hafeet moun­tain, and is ca­pa­ble at full taps to pro­duce a wave ev­ery 90 sec­onds. With six surfers in the wa­ter it takes nine min­utes for ev­ery­one to get a ride. If you‚äôre lucky you‚äôre go­ing to get six rides, but it‚äôll most likely be five rides. The pool is booked out and when your time is up the next crew pad­dle out, no mat­ter how much you‚äôre hang­ing for more waves.

To catch a wave you need to sit quite near to the con­crete wall. The wave comes at you from the far side of the pool, re­bounds off the wall where you are wait­ing, and it comes at you re­ally quickly. You pad­dle hard for it, and as you feel it grab­bing, you pad­dle harder and spring to your feet quickly or run the risk of the wave leav­ing you be­hind as it con­tin­ues on to its con­crete beach. The speed takes a lit­tle get­ting used to, as does the fact that the wave ap­pears to be com­ing at you from the wrong side. For the first 30 min­utes the waves break along the right hand wall, form­ing right­hand break­ing waves, and mid ses­sion the waves switch and break off the other wall form­ing left-break­ing waves.

I was al­lowed five waves dur­ing my hour ses­sion, and I fell off on one. I was some­what sur­prised at the speed of the wave, and popped a wheelie at the bot­tom, fall­ing on my bum. My wife fared sim­i­larly, fall­ing on two waves and rid­ing 3 for a com­bined wave count of 7 be­tween us.

Two hours in a taxi there at AED300 (£60) and two hours back for the same price, two of us for an hour in the wa­ter along with boards and a locker cost us AED350 (£70) and some lunch and cof­fees put us back about £15. To­tal spent on the mis­sion was £156. My wife and I had 5 waves each in­clud­ing the wipe­outs. That’s £15.60 per wave. It was to­tally ir­rel­e­vant to spend that money. I needed to surf badly, and let me tell you – the waves were shit.

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