Abu Dhabi Ocean Warriors!

Saturday, 14 February 2009 08:24 | Written by  ADOW
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Ninety miles from Dubai is the capital city of the UAE.  Its name is Abu Dhabi and a $3 billion hotel is just the beginning of the story.

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Abu Dhabi

The hotel I'm referring to is the Emirates Palace it cost $3 billion to build, boasts 1,002 Swarovski crystal chandeliers and a gold-leaf dome larger than the one atop St. Paul's Cathedral in London. In the distance, glittering in the aqua-blue Persian Gulf, are dozens of islands that will one day sprout skyscrapers, hotels, museums, hospitals, and factories financed in part by the $200 billion to be spent here over the next ten years.

How many places in the world can say, "We're going to establish an airline," and boom! Two years later you have 21 planes and 37 destinations? How many places in the world can say, "We need 15,000 hotel rooms,' and boom! 100 new hotels in the works? How many places can say, "We want world-class hospitals, universities, and museums," and boom! The Sorbonne, Cleveland Clinic, Guggenheim, and Louvre are on the way? 

Welcome to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates and the richest city in the world. The emirate's 420,000 citizens, who sit on one-tenth of the planet's oil and have almost $1 trillion invested abroad, are worth about $17 million apiece. (A million foreign workers don't share in the wealth.) Yet most people couldn't find Abu Dhabi on a map!  But not for much longer.

Its "coming out" is the biggest thing happening in the region & paddlers will be pleased to know that they are not getting left behind.

Ocean Warriors

Led by the dedicated president of the club, Damien Pennefather, the Ocean Warriors have been up and running for about 3 years and have around 40 members of varying enthusiasm and expertise. Boat storage facilities are located at the Abu Dhabi International marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) near the Marina Mall.

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Damien first started to paddle in Dubai when he met Rob Klok at the Dubai Offshore Sailing club, and was soon dedicated to mastering the sport. He moved away from Dubai to Abu Dhabi and resolved to establish the "Abu Dhabi Ocean Warriors (ADOW)" (Please visit the website http://www.adow.ae/) Plenty of hard work, blood, sweat and a few beers and some three years later the club is steadily gaining in numbers.

 Social Core v Speed Merchants

The club has a social core with a few "speed merchants" who compete in the DSKC events in Dubai - a record 7 members took on the 2008 Shamaal. The warriors have also held their own races in the city with very encouraging feedback from the Dubai boys who visit for good water & excellent organization.

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Importing Oscar

With the sport is growing in the city, it was decided to bring out the "Big O" to do a clinic to make sure the guys were actually paddling properly.

Soon the agenda was set: basic paddling technique in the morning; more advanced downwind techniques in the afternoon and a beer drinking master class in the evening.

January  is chilly early in the morning in the Desert (hard to believe, but true) and there were a few long faces when Oscar had the guys waist deep in the water at 7.30am, learning the science of the ‘wing' paddle, but soon the fleet was off out to sea to put into practice what had been said on the beach.

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Beer mugs & posters

A solid breakfast was required & Oscar was thanked for coming, given a club shirt, paddling vest & most importantly a beer mug, by the members.  Every paddler received a poster.

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A 25kph wind blew in the afternoon & we had huge swell - perfect conditions for a class from the downwind master. The conditions were a little extreme & cold for us desert people, but the guys loved it.

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 Last Warrior Standing

The beer drinking competition was on from 8pm & all I will say is that we had 1 warrior standing at 3am in a Filipino ‘sing along' club. Oscar was there, but was not standing if you know what I mean. The warriors said all along ‘we might be small, but count on us!" 

[Editor: We've heard through the Grapevine that a move is afoot to combine a race in Abu Dhabi with the Dubai Shamaal in 2009 - stay tuned!]

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For more on the Abu Dhabi Ocean Warriors, visit http://www.adow.ae/


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