x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Kitesurfers on board with Dubai Sunset Challenge

More than 150 people took part in the second annual competition held at Jumeirah Beach.

DUBAI // Up to 150 watersports fans took to the ocean at the weekend for the second annual Sunset Challenge.

From water babies to swimming seniors, residents of all ages competed in kitesurfing and standup paddle board races.

The two-day event, behind Sunset Mall at Jumeirah Beach, was organised by the mall with kitesurfing schools in the emirate.

"It's been a wonderful two days of events," said Ani Vladi, one of the event organisers.

"We've had a whole range of people taking part in the activities over the course of the weekend, from toddlers to those in their 60s."

A standup paddle boarding relay race was held for children on Friday, with adults taking to the water in the afternoon.

And there was a full day of racing yesterday, with winners receiving awards from Sheikh Ahmed bin Mansoor Al Thani, the joint owner of Dubai Investment Properties, which owns Sunset Mall.

"Compared with last year we have had double the response from people," said Duco de Waal, from Duco Maritime, which was helping to manage the event.

"The standard was a lot higher this time around and many of the competitors had trained hard for the event. Hopefully next year we can raise the standard higher."

Organisers hope the event encourages people to take up kitesurfing, which will be an Olympic sport at the 2016 Games.

"Having it at the Olympics will raise awareness of the sport and who knows, maybe we can find someone good enough to compete at the games," Mr De Waal said.

The aim was to steadily improve the standard each year, he added.

The event was supported by Dubai Sports Council, Dubai Government and Dubai Municipality.

nhanif@thenational.ae