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