In search of new outdoor activities we tried kayaking and windsurfing with Noukhada Adventure Company on Yas Island public beach. Joshua took a one hour private windsurfing lesson (150AED) and I rented a kayak (70AED) to explore the mangroves.
Yas Island public beach is located in a quiet, sheltered bay. A small beach bar offers food, beverages and sheesha, and there are sun chairs, umbrellas and cozy cabanas available for rent. The price is steep, with the current rate of 50AED per adult on a weekday and 100AED at the weekend, but the fee is waived if you’re solely there for the water sports organized by Noukhada.
Noukhada rent equipment for stand-up paddle, windsurfing, kayaking, sailing and even trail biking (at some locations), and organize tours that aim to educate people about the local ecosystems. In Abu Dhabi they are located at the Eastern Mangrove Lagoon and on Yas Island public beach. Making a reservation with them was easy and the staff was very friendly and helpful.
Joshua, being a natural, only needed a few minutes with his windsurfing coach to learn how to stand on the board and make turns. He spent the rest of the hour windsurfing up and down the bay like a pro! Unfortunately they only have one big windsurfing board for beginners and one smaller board for advanced surfers, so book in advance if you want to use them!
Meanwhile, I went for a paddle to explore the mangroves on the other side of the bay. This side of Yas is isolated from the open ocean – one side is taken up by the small public beach, hotels and stone walls; the other side is lined with a sandy island and a strip of mangroves. The shores of the island offer feeding grounds for hundreds of seabirds, and the mangroves are populated by little crabs. It is impressive how mangroves can survive in this high heat and salinity, providing a home for wildlife above and below the water! Unfortunately though, I didn’t see a single fish in the bay…
Nice, relaxing afternoon by the water. The beach itself was worth a visit and the protected location makes it a great place for trying out new water sports at an affordable price. If you are eager to see more extensive mangroves, and want a guided kayaking tour, you should consider joining Noukhada’s Eco-Tours in the Eastern Mangroves instead. For a bigger beach facing the open ocean look check out the new Saadiyat Island public beach.