One of the most anticipated events in the GCC region’s sporting calendar, the Havaianas Sunset Open Surfing competition powered by Rip Curl returned to Dubai’s shores last March 8-9, 2019. As the only surfing competition in the GCC, the event was on its 7th year running and had brought together the best surfing talent across the region. 

Organised by Surf House Dubai, the event was held at Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai for the first time and doesn’t look to be the last. Sponsored by Havaianas, Rip Curl, Breitling, Oakley and RVCA, and also supported by Blue Guard Middle East, The Big Art Co, Ibiza Foils, Corona and Sea Sol Dubai. 

The weekend of the event brought in the best waves to run the competition from all the weekends provided in the waiting period from February to March, and never was there a dull moment. From high flying aerials rotations, gouging hacks, and stylish cross-stepping, the event was a true display of the region’s top surfing talent. Outside of the water, the event was also filled by a range of different attractions like strength and fitness training workshops, live music from Ramzhino, Rony Sarkis and Souldier, plus free trials of kids and Vinyasa Flow yoga. As a spectator you’d be sure to have had an awesome time from chilling by the beach, watching the surf or by winning in one of the many games and raffles hosted by sponsors. 

The competition was split into 6 categories: Shortboard Women’s Division (17+),  Grommets Division (12-16 years), SUP Surf Division (15+), Super Groms Division(6-11 years), Longboard Division (15+ and surfboards above 9ft in length) and Mens Shortboard Division (17+) with the following as the winners:

“Everything lined up perfectly this year. One of the most challenging aspects of surfing contests is making the right decision on when to run them. We couldn’t have asked for better conditions on our first day. It’s one of the most exciting times of the year for Dubai’s surfing community – we have a surprisingly strong surf history here and we’re proud that there’s so much great talent in the region. It’s also a great opportunity for newcomers and anyone interested to experience Dubai’s vibrant surf community. Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai is also an ideal location, since not only do the waves around the location offer some of the UAE’s most high-performance surfing conditions, but the facilities also provided spectators and participants alike with plenty of ways to enjoy the occasion in comfort and style,” says Scott Chambers, Managing Director and Founder of Surf House Dubai.

Hanna Azzi, the resort’s General Manager said, “Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai has grown to become one of the city’s favorite spots and we are happy to have officially hosted the Havaianas Sunset Open 2019 on our shores. We have become home to surfers in search for the perfect wave and we look forward to hosting the event again next year.”

This time around, Surf House Dubai has teamed up with luxury Swiss watch brand Breitling, to give the winners of the male and longboard categories a brand-new Superocean Héritage II Chronograph 44 Outerknown watch.

This new timepiece was created in collaboration with Outerknown, a leading sustainable clothing company that was co-founded by surfing icon Kelly Slater. Like Breitling, Kelly Slater works with Ocean Conservancy to raise awareness of the problem of marine waste and to help motivate individuals to take action and clean up the oceans.

Aed Adwan, Managing Director, Breitling Middle East, India and Africa, said: “As adventure is one of our core values, Surf House is a natural partner for us. We want to motivate the modern-day explorers by offering the winning surfers our innovative watch, the Superocean Héritage II Chronograph 44 Outerknown, which embodies our commitment towards our oceans with its NATO strap made from Econyl yarn.” ■

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this article was published in OutdoorUAE printed magazine issue #94 April – May 2019

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