Paddleboarding in Dubai has grown massively over the past five years. I personally started the sport in which I have become so fond of back in 2012, introduced to it by Tati, my trainer at the time as well as my teacher at the Dubai English Speaking College. Whilst I was in year eight she had started an after school club and we would go to Sunset Beach and non-competitively race around and try some of the different paddleboarding techniques.
Sadly, the after school activity stopped but I continued to train in a bid to become better for my own personal fitness and also as the sport was growing and I knew I needed to push hard to become competitive.
In 2014, Ocean Sports, the Naish Middle East distributor gave me an opportunity that would completely change the way I had to train and meant that I had to show extra commitment from myself and towards paddleboarding. I became a sponsored team rider and was fully exposed to the sport at a competitive level. Naish gave me a good range of paddleboards to further my ability and strengthen my paddling technique and winning capability. For that I am very grateful as I am sure without my current equipment, I would not be coming first in junior races and scoring top five results in the adult classes. Thanks to my 12.6” Naish Javelin LE, a true motorless speed machine!
Training plays a key part in the development of one’s ability to do anything, regardless of the sport. However, for me training consists of early mornings and medium to long distances. My trainer at present is Amer Dandachi. He guides a small team of paddlers, normally starting from Kite Beach and going 10km along the coast in the mornings before the heat would get too much. All of this would be done to build up a level of fitness that would assure results at any competition. Recently the team training days have been less with our usual team as we were informed the joyful news that Amer and his wife were having a child.
So now, my father and race day companion, takes me training every Friday and Saturday. I train with my good friend Conrad Bay and we normally train for around 7km along the coast. Although the 10km has decreased to 7km, training has not been made easier as in addition that I am now doing training during the week with FittHPC a gym that offers specialist training for any sport that you partake in. Danil Bourneventure, my personal trainer, is a great supporter in my sport and makes it his priority to make me a top level athlete and a paddler with brute force. Equipment plays a vital role in the way that I do my sport and Naish have supplied a paddle and board that can be used in the gym – both are much needed components. Also I have recently received sponsorship from Adventure HQ who kindly equipped me with a Suunto sports watch to help me keep track of and observe how I train. It shows my distance and average speed via GPS, helping me to track my progress and become better each time I race.
I am proud to be a young athlete in the UAE especially taking into consideration that I am Type 1 Diabetic. I hope to inspire, captivate and motivate young up and coming athletes and especially diabetics who feel intimidated about entering such a sport. I hope that we can help grow the sport and build the next generation of paddleboarders here.
OutdoorUAE congratulates Guy Welchman to his titles at the UAE Teen Sports and Fitness Awards held on April 21!
• 3rd place in the Fittest Teen U16 Male category.
• 1st place in the Sports Personality of the Year U16 Male category.
Words by: Guy Welchman