It was in early 2009 that husband-wife duo Nick and Jen Yates gave stand up paddling (SUP) a go, and after admitting they “fell in love with it” they formed Abu Dhabi Stand Up Paddlers (ADSUP), which now has over 50 members.
“SUP is such a great sport which has become a passion of ours,” said Nick.
“There wasn’t anything organised in terms of SUPing at that time so we formed ADSUP as a way to bring together like-minded people,” said Nick, who has travelled and paddled in 19 countries with Jen. “Over the years, we have introduced so many Abu Dhabi residents to the wonderful world of paddling and built a lot of great friendships within the group.”
Stand up paddling, as the title suggests, basically involves a large wide surfboard used to ride by standing on it and then using a paddle to move yourself around. And it’s becoming one of the fastest growing water sports in the world.
If you’re wondering what SUP is like, well it feels like you’re “walking on water”.
“From the first time someone glides across the water doing SUP, they are hooked and they can’t wipe that smile from their face. There is something about “walking on water” or the closest you’ll get to it that makes people happy,” said Nick
. ADSUP has weekly paddles, social events and festivals which is well supported by community members. It’s Facebook group has 600 members and they are now in the process of launching their new website.
Their last event – Emirates Palace SUP Festival on March 21 – received a huge turnout of 115 paddlers.
“The weekly paddles, social events and festivals are always well received by the community. We have a great group of core members who do a lot for ADSUP and we are stoked that it really is a community effort,” said Nick.
The UAE is fortunate to have some great weather in most months of the year, meaning there are plenty of opportunities to go SUPing in Abu Dhabi.
Yas Island and the Corniche are just two locations in the UAE capital where ADSUP members have undertaken SUP.
And if you’ve never done SUP before, there are many experienced paddlers in the group who are willing to teach newcomers the basics.
ADSUP is open to people aged over 18 although anyone under this age can still join providing they get permission from their parents or guardians. The only requirement is that you must be able to swim.
“A lot of people have joined the group. Parents often bring children on the SUPs as they cruise the shallow waters and these children always have life jackets on. There is nothing quite like hearing the giggles from children as they watch fish swim under the board,” said Nick.
What: Abu Dhabi Stand Up paddlers
When & where: Various dates/locations
Cost: Dh300 per year
Contact & info: Visit www. http://www.abudhabisup. com/#/stand-uppaddle/4544500930