Skateboarding enthusiasts recently made their way to Circuit X.
The adventure centre, which opened in November 2020, is on Hudayriat Island in Abu Dhabi. It features a range of activities and challenges spread across four main parks — BMX, Ropes, Skate and Splash — that cover 15,000 square metres.
Skateboarding is one of the world's fastest growing sports, having made its Olympic debut at the Tokyo 2020 games last year, which helped bring it more mainstream attention. One of the missions of Circuit X is to help grow the sport in the UAE by allowing skateboarders to have a place to go as well as for it to be somewhere that like-minded people can meet up.
Circuit X was also the site of the Summer Skate Fest competition on June 19, which was open to participants of all ages and skill levels. It was hosted by skate instructor Jimmy Williams.
"This is our third skate competition, which we started organising in 2021, aiming to grow the skateboarding community of Abu Dhabi and the UAE, and showcasing amateur and pro skateboarders at Circuit X," says managing director Hadi Fakhoury.
"This Skate Fest was organised with small competitions held throughout the event, to allow all ages and skill levels to participate, that gave us the opportunity to have beginners and pros mixing it up."
The event attracted about 40 participants — from children to teenagers and amateurs to professionals — who whizzed around in the shaded bowls, showing off their best tricks while meeting other fans of the sport.
"People loved this format because it allowed everyone to take part, and was more dynamic than the typical competition format," Fakhoury says.
"We had about 40 competitors, which is a great number reflecting the interest in the sport, especially since there were no big cash prizes, but rather awards recognising the best moves, tricks and efforts."
The event offered complimentary bites and refreshments for contestants and other live entertainment, such as a DJ and MC. There was also custom-made skater merchandise from local designers on sale. Even for those who were not participating in the competition, they were still able to enjoy the various parts of the skatepark.
"We will definitely have more competitions coming after the summer break," Fakhoury says. "We will organise skateboarding and BMX competitions in November and December, as we plan to continue to develop and support these action sports and their communities."
The Skate Park offers a mix of challenges for all skill levels, with three skate bowls in addition to an array of ledges, handrails, quarter pipes and bridges. Professionals and beginners can bring their own skateboard or scooter, or rent one at the park.