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Naim says his new Jeep Wrangler is the perfect utility vehicle to find off-road locations for photoshoots as well as for hunting down the best spots for kite surfing.
Naim says his new Jeep Wrangler is the perfect utility vehicle to find off-road locations for photoshoots as well as for hunting down the best spots for kite surfing.

Photographer surfs the sand in his Jeep Wrangler

My Car Kite-surfing snapper Naim Chidiac uses his 4x4 to find photoshoot locations others can't reach.

A familiar face around the UAE events scene, albeit from behind a camera, Naim Chidiac, originally from northern Lebanon, is the proud owner of a new Jeep Wrangler, which gets him to places other cars can't reach.

Having worked as an international action photographer from his base in Dubai for the last five years, Naim recently took delivery of his 2011 long-wheelbase, four-door Jeep Wrangler Unlimited.

A keen kite surfer, the self-confessed action man prefers to go places many car owners wouldn't dare in the search for a new and exciting place for a photoshoot, or for ideal wind and wave conditions.

"This is the perfect car for me and, where many four-wheel drives are pretty good, I feel the Jeep is more aggressive and extreme than its competitors. I don't need luxury like an X5 or Range Rover as this gives me total confidence I'll get where I need to go. I always do things the hard way in order to get that extra edge and every time I've pushed this Jeep on desert, beach and rocky areas, it has proven truly unstoppable," says Naim.

When asked whether the job suits his personality, Naim's eyes open wide with enthusiasm: "This car suits me 100 per cent," he says. "I also have a BMW Coupé and I haven't used it once since receiving my Wrangler as I just think of it as a poser's car now. However, the Wrangler makes me feel great - like I own the world," he exclaims.

The Jeep is fitted with full options, including GPS, which Naim uses more than most drivers, as he logs his favourite kiting spots and unique locations for photoshoots, so he can take clients back to exactly the right place every time.

"I bought the Wrangler new so I could've chosen anything, but love the fact I can drop the top after the summer and it has a great reputation for being reliable and rugged. There are very few on the market for sale, as owners become attached and tend to keep them forever. I was looking for a second-hand 2009 or 2010 model, but there were none for sale; owners of Wranglers are obviously very content."

Naim explains he has already taken his new toy off-road at Al Dabiya in Abu Dhabi, on the way to Saudi Arabia to a favourite kite surf spot, and has put it through its paces in the desert on the Hatta road.

"Even though it is new, I've already tested it properly off-road and the results were really nice - it handled everything and didn't get stuck once. It was an important exercise in order to gain confidence for doing future shoots in the desert where time and light can be crucial for the perfect shot," he says.

And it seems United Motors in the UAE is offering a lot more than just a car when selling Jeep Wranglers, with Naim being offered a session with an expert to show how to drive it properly off-road - an offer he will take up after the summer.

"The Jeep dealership has been fantastic and I'm going to make a day of my free lesson in the desert once the heat dies down.

"There are also two meetings every year of UAE Wrangler owners, where they enjoy a barbecue and share information on their cars before trying out some different terrain, which sounds like fun," says Naim.

He goes on to explain the Jeep has more than enough room for his kiting equipment, which he keeps in the car most of the time so he can make it to the beach quickly if the wind picks up.

"I'm usually with my Wrangler at Kite Beach or one of another five or six spots between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, including Yas Island," he adds. "I spend my life chasing the perfect shot, flat water and wind. And this vehicle makes sure I can get to the right conditions and maximise my life's passions."

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