Wakeboarding @ Al Forsan, Abu Dhabi – Review

After discovering a wakeboarding park in Freiburg, Germany, just before our move to the UAE, we immediately pinpointed the nearest Wakeboarding Park that we could visit in Abu Dhabi. The Al Forsan Sports Resort, located by Khalifa City, offers water sports, motor sports, paintball, shooting, horse riding, football and rugby pitches, tennis, basketball, volleyball, and a range of other leisure and dining facilities. A Mecca for all sports enthusiasts. The Hilton hotel that’ll form part of the resort is still under construction.

Whereas Joshua already had some wakeboarding experience, I had spent my first attempt in Germany face-down in the water… thankfully the second time round at Al Forsan I was wakeboarding in no time. We’re now going to the park once a week, and while Joshua is now landing his 360’s off the kickers, I am slowly undergoing my transformation from “chicken” to “wakeboarding chick”…. I’ve still got a way to go… 

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Entrance to the park costs 55AED and then you pay for the various activities inside the park. One hour access to the water park costs 125AED. Parking is outside the visitor’s entrance and buses take you to your destination within the park. Annual membership allows you to drive onto the premises and gives you small discounts on activities, but the price is pretty crazy, so you really have to consider how much you’ll be using the facilities. Opening hours and special offers for activities, food and drink packages, are not well advertised, so ask at the entrance. Thankfully, their 100AED Summer Offer (incl entrance + 1hr wakeboarding) has been extended till the end of September – keep it going, Al Forsan!!

The water park is the first cable park system in the Middle East and offers a Pro and a Beginner lake, as well as a single cable area to practice air tricks. The use of easy-up wakeboards, knee boards, water skis, and safety equipment (helmet and lifejackets) are included in the price; you can rent a grind base board for 30AED. Both lakes offer various obstacles to practice all kinds of jumps, grinds, ollies and the likes, and an ever-growing group of regulars at the park are sure to impress you with their amazing tricks. Lessons are also on offered, but the learning-by-doing approach works for most, and the operators have a wealth of knowledge and advice that will help you improve quickly. It does get busy when the kids are around, so if you want to avoid crowds of little knee boarders, come first thing in the morning or during school hours! The park only opened in the summer of 2011, so the facilities are still new. Showers, toilets, lockers and changing facilities are clean and well maintained. There are lots of tables, sun chairs and grass huts around the pools, a licensed bar that serves drinks, hot food and ice creams, and a roof top bar where you can smoke sheesha in the evenings.

Unfortunately the water quality is poor. The pools aren’t chlorinated and cleaned sufficiently, resulting in serious algal growth that gets worse throughout the summer. This results in the bottom of the pools being covered in a thick, slimy growth. If this is healthy is one question, but it also makes getting out of the pool a slippy and smelly experience. Thankfully, with the championship coming up in October 2013, they are trying to clean the pools at the moment. Let’s just hope they figure out a long-term solution for the future!  Natural ecosystem instead of chlorine, maybe?

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