First Dubai Stand-Up Paddle attracts 1,000 water sports enthusiasts to Hatta Dam

The Dubai Fitness Challenge event saw crowds of children, teenagers and adults take part in the group sessions

Powered by automated translation

Every year, the Dubai Fitness Challenge brings groups of UAE residents together for high-energy fitness sessions, notably runners and cyclists for Dubai Run and Dubai Ride. For the first time, the event added the Dubai Stand-Up Paddle to its roster of events.

Organisers reported that “up to 1,000" stand-up paddle boarders made their way to Dubai enclave Hatta on Saturday to enjoy complimentary stand-up paddle boarding sessions with a mountainous backdrop.

“The tremendous success of our first-ever Dubai Stand-Up Paddle clearly demonstrates the burgeoning enthusiasm for outdoor fitness within our community,” said Ahmed Alkhaja, chief executive of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment.

“This event went far beyond gathering individuals for a day of physical activity; it aimed to cultivate a lasting commitment to health and well-being while fostering an inclusive and accessible sporting culture. Such initiatives exemplify Dubai's vibrant and forward-thinking approach to integrating inclusive fitness into the urban lifestyles of our community.

“We aspire to inspire residents and visitors alike to embrace an active lifestyle that extends far beyond the Dubai Fitness Challenge.”

Hatta Kayak hosted the water sports enthusiasts at the event, which comprised training sessions, a mass participation challenge and sunset SUP yoga classes.

The training sessions were 30-minute slots open to anyone aged five and above, of any skill level.

For the challenge, participants navigated a dedicated paddle boarding course – either on their own stand-up paddle boards or using borrowed equipment from Hatta Kayak, which was available free of charge – and received a certificate upon completion.

For a moment of Zen, there were two sunset yoga sessions, also held on boards and run by expert instructors in the centre of the dam's waters.

Hatta is located approximately one hour and 30 minutes away from Downtown Dubai by car – the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) ran a complimentary shuttle service for participants.

The Dubai Fitness Challenge is an initiative of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai. Now in its seventh year, it runs annually in October and November to encourage participants to take part in 30 minutes of exercise daily, for 30 days.

The 2023 challenge runs until next Sunday and will culminate in the Dubai Run on the final day.

Participants can choose between a 5km or 10km route at the event, which takes over part of the 14-lane Sheikh Zayed Road for a few hours. This year, organisers are hoping to attract more than 200,000 runners, surpassing last year's 193,000 total.

The 5km route begins near the Museum of the Future. It then passes Burj Khalifa and Dubai Opera and ends near Dubai Mall. It is a flat route suitable for runners of all ages and abilities.

The 10km route will also begin near the Museum of the Future, going along Sheikh Zayed Road to the Dubai Water Canal, then returning towards the World Trade Centre before ending on Al Mustaqbal Street near Dubai International Financial Centre. This route is suitable for more experienced runners.

Updated: November 19, 2023, 1:31 PM