From wing-suited skydivers to surfers of the dunes and the deep, Dubai is the place to be to make those thrilling action films featuring daredevil stunts, many of which end up as adverts for high-end products such as luxury cars and watches.
DUBAI // Sweeping desert views and dramatic skylines are providing the perfect backdrop for dramatic action films used to promote adventure sports in Dubai.
Wing-suited skydivers flying through the Jumeirah Lakes Towers, a zip line pitched on to the roof of Dubai Mall and a free-fall line from the tallest residential building in the world overlooking Dubai Marina are just some of the stunts in recent years to put the emirate in the spotlight.
The latest films to help launch products and promote adventure sports here have included footage of sandboarding, with riders towed in to giant dunes by racing buggies, and a kitesurfer launching from the Burj Al Arab helipad.
Australian Simon Hunt, who shapes sandboards in Dubai, was contacted by a film crew wanting to use his expertise to film a Brazilian boarder he sponsors riding dunes.
“I knew no one locally was up to that riding level yet, and Bruno Sales just happened to be in Europe on a snowboarding tour, so I got him over to Dubai for the shoot,” said Mr Hunt.
“He said the sand conditions in Dubai are epic and he can see sandboarding being a big sport here.”
The footage shows Sales performing high-speed flips behind the buggy. The film has been used for an advert for a watch brand.
Other footage from Dubai was of kiteboarding champion Nick Jacobsen, who took off from the Burj Al Arab helipad, 210 metres above the water. It was used for a luxury car commercial.
“Nick had been wanting to do this particular stunt for four years and this collaboration was the perfect opportunity for him to do so,” said Mohammed Khoramifar, general manager of XDubai.
“Due to the weather patterns in Dubai earlier this year he had to wait a little longer – six weeks – for the perfect conditions to arise.”
Jacobsen’s kitesurf from the Burj Al Arab helipad was a world-first, and the highest kiteboarding jump from a man-made structure on record, beating his previous best of 90 metres.
“Standing on the top of that hotel was a once-in-a lifetime opportunity and launching from it, a global first,” said the five-time Danish national kiteboarding champion.
“It took a lot of planning, precision and safety measures, but it all worked well in the end, and the experience was amazing.”
■ Watch the full video here: Jaw-dropping stunts at iconic Dubai locations for new Mercedes advert – video