From the moment you check-in at the XDubai zipline pop-up store to the time you step back safely onto firm ground, an adrenaline fuelled ride down Dubai’s latest crazy tourist attraction offers far more than just a bird’s eye view of the city.
As the world’s longest urban zipline – at around a kilometre long – this hair-raising ride is not for the faint-hearted.
A total stretch of 3.3km of metal wire has been used to create the zipline and it has not been an easy operation for operators XDubai – more than 23 approvals were required from both government departments and private businesses, as well as no objection certificates.
“When you have so many different entities to approach, it is never easy,” said Mohammed Javad, General Manager of XDubai.
“The line is going over a road, a bridge and of course the marina, as well as residential towers and a mall with lots of outdoor restaurants.
“It took a lot of planning and it was a challenge, but we made it happen.”
The experience starts tamely enough. The usual disclaimer forms are signed, followed by the presentation of a carry-on flight case, which contains your personalised helmet, GoPro camera and the harness from which your life will depend as you are suspended in mid-air, 170 metres from the ground.
All seems calm as the polite staff ask you to lock away your possessions and anything that may drop from your pockets – they could do some serious damage below to the expensive yachts in Dubai Marina.
Still, there is little sign of the impending fear that lies ahead. A short bus ride takes you to the launch site where there is just enough time to watch a short safety briefing video. What could possibly go wrong?
At the Amwaj Towers – which will be home to the XDubai urban zipline for the foreseeable future – the sense of anticipation begins to kick in. That anticipation quickly turns to mild panic when you reach the 42nd floor. Whilst the views from the rooftop are spectacular, it is the most unnatural feeling to know that, in just a few minutes, you will be launching through the air from that roof.
The panoramic view takes in the Dubai Eye wheel and The Palm Jumeirah, and, of course, the launch platform for the zipline itself with the marina below.
Those taking the ride are harnessed up and placed facedown onto a gurney, with their nose hanging over the edge of the building. At this stage, there is no turning back.
As the gurney is hoisted into the air and the passenger attached to the zipline, there are just seconds left for final words.
The rider is fired down the zipline at a 16-degree decline, hitting 60km per hour in just 2.5 seconds. With a top speed of close to 80km an hour, the ride is short, but sweet. The marina views only get better as you fly through the air.
“The marina is a beautiful location,” said Mr Javad.
“You have the water and the amazing Jumeirah Beach Residences that add to the experience. The reaction has been very positive so far, people think it is amazing, and unimaginable.
“It will be available for the next couple of months for sure. We will see after that. We are working on another experience that will be open next year – it is not a zipline, but something different.
“When I first lay on the edge of the building, I didn’t know what to expect. Then the excitement kicked in. I don’t just talk the talk, so I had to do this. This is not just part of my work, but part of my life.
“People will enjoy this experience.”