x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Skydive Dubai's Winter Festival: Get ready to 'boogie'

Learn about the latest sport for adrenaline junkies.

Skydive Dubai is preparing for a week-long celebration of the sport. Courtesy Skydive Dubai
Skydive Dubai is preparing for a week-long celebration of the sport. Courtesy Skydive Dubai

If you thought 'boogie' eferred to grooving to a tune, it's time to update your vocabulary. For a group of people who have made a sport out of an emergency procedure, it means getting together with like-minded acrophiliacs and adrenalin junkies for a week or more of activities that will send the stomachs of us lesser mortals into somersaults.

The event

The team at Dubai's first and only skydiving drop zone, Skydive Dubai - a brand-new, awe-inspiring drop zone for first-time tandem jumpers, fun jumpers, coaching and training teams - is organising the first-ever "sky dive boogie" in the country.

"Boogies are a very usual activity in the skydiving community," says the marketing team of Skydive Dubai. "We called it the Winter Festival but these events are commonly called 'boogies' and are exclusively for skydivers. It's first time we have organised one and it is just the right time now at Skydive Dubai."

At a time of the year when dropping temperatures cause a slowdown in skydiving activity in most other drop zones around the world, Skydive Dubai is the ideal location for a week-long celebration of this adrenalin-pumping sport.

"We have great sunny weather almost all year long, so for European skydivers or from any other place that is cold and rainy right now, this is wonderful weather to be able to come and jump here and enjoy Dubai," says the Skydive Dubai team.

The venue

Skydive Dubai boasts a world-class staff, a fleet of fast turbine aircraft (Twin Otters, Cessna Caravans and Pilatus Porter) and the most amazing location: overlooking the magnificent Palm Jumeirah islands.

"No specific preparations need to be made to the drop zone itself," confirms the Skydive Dubai team. "We just have to make sure we are ready to receive about 250 to 300 skydivers from around the world and prepare for everything they may need besides skydiving. By this we mean accommodation, transportation and optional activities for them and their dependents in order to discover all the great things a tourist needs to discover about the UAE."

What to expect

Skydive Dubai confirms that there are plenty of events and activities lined up to whet the appetites of the skydivers who are going to flock to Dubai from all over the world.

Attendees will be able to skydive with world-renowned teams and individual skydivers such as Mike Swanson, Noah Bahnson, Julian Boulle, Craig Girard and Eliana Rodriguez - each famous in his or her own discipline.

"There is no specific demographic break-up of people we are expecting. Any experienced skydiver with at least a D license (by US Parachute Association or equivalent) and 500 jumps may attend," says the Skydive Dubai team.

Skydive Dubai is going to attempt to break the world record for the number of participants in "atmonauti" (an angled flight discipline). Supervised by two very famous Italian skydivers Marco Tiezzi and Gigliola Borgnis, this activity will take place between Sunday and January 5.

Euro Sequentials will take place from Friday to January 3 with Kristian Moxnes, Havard Flaat, Mike Carpenter and Fabian Raidel.

There will also be coaching in Freeflying (both UAE-based Teams Maktoum and Dubai NEXUS, Wingsuit Flying (by Julian Boulle, Mike Swanson & Noah Bahnson) and Flat Flying (by Craig Girard and Eliana Rodriguez and the Assar Team).

Skydivers will also get the chance to participate in competitions for Best Skydive Video, Best Skydive Comedy, Swoop & Chug Competition and win skydiving gear, gadgets and gizmos.

The junkies

We spoke with some UAE-based skydivers to find out how they feel about the upcoming event.

Amer Bennani, 28, a Tunisian/Lebanese banker whose first tandem was in December, 2010, completed his first solo jump less than six months late. He says that the event will do a great job of "bringing together so many amazing people from all over the world and making new connections and friendships. [By] bringing relatively good flyers in direct contact with world champions, [it will help] to develop talent and advance flying skills for a new generation of skydivers".

Sylvie Hardat, a 35-year-old from Belgium, says: "For the skydiving community, such events are really great because everyone meets new people from all over the world. It's also a chance to meet friends you haven't seen for a long time."

And what exactly is it about skydiving that has them hooked?

"The fact that no matter how your life down on Earth is going, when you jump out of that perfectly fine aircraft and fly through the air, you feel absolutely free and unbound. For that one moment you are happy. Flying is pure ecstasy." says Bennani.

For Hardat, it is the sense of freedom. "During free fall, your mind is free ... no problems, no worries, just happiness and feelings of wellness."

The first-ever skydive boogie in the UAE takes place at Skydive Dubai from Friday to January 5. It is for skydivers with a D License and 500 jumps or more. For more information call 800 759 3483 (800-SKYDIVE), email events@skydivedubai.ae or visit winterfestival.skydivedubai.ae