Modon Properties (Modon) has welcomed Kelly Slater, regarded as the greatest surfer in history, to attend an exclusive behind-closed-doors event to ride the first test wave at Surf Abu Dhabi in Hudayriyat Island, in order to test the facility and provide feedback to ensure the wave quality will be optimised upon opening in early 2024.
Among the attendees were champion surfers including Caroline Marks, Filipe Toledo, Stephanie Gilmore, Gabriel Medina and Ramzi Boukhiam, who all joined the epic surf session at Surf Abu Dhabi.
Developed by Modon and in collaboration with the Kelly Slater Wave Company (KSWC), the global experts in man-made wave technology, Surf Abu Dhabi is designed to inspire and cater to surfers of all skill levels, from beginners to elite. This innovative destination will offer a unique surfing experience, featuring the world's longest ride, largest barrel and man-made wave facility.
His Excellency Jassem Mohamed Bu Ataba Al Zaabi, Chairman of the Department of Finance and Chairman of Modon Properties, said: "With preparations nearing completion, and Surf Abu Dhabi ready to be unveiled to the world soon, we’re proud to announce that the First Wave milestone at this exceptional high-performance destination has taken place. Staging our first ever test wave with Kelly Slater and legends of the sport is a testament to the progress we’ve made to bring this vision to reality."
Kelly Slater, 11-time World Surf League champion, said: "I’ve surfed hundreds of incredible waves across the world and this wave in Abu Dhabi stacks up well against some of the best waves on earth. I’ve drawn on that travelling surf education to design the wave at Surf Abu Dhabi."
"Surfing reaches people in all corners of the globe, but I am always surprised with who gravitates towards this world of ours. Actually, designing and building a wave in Abu Dhabi is something I’ve never believed would become a reality but here it is. While Abu Dhabi isn’t the first place that springs to mind for the world’s next surf project, the synergies between Modon and Kelly Slater Wave Company have proved to be a great recipe for an innovative idea like this one. This will provide endless fun for so many people, creating an opportunity to surf an incredible wave in a special part of the world for both experienced and beginning surfer. This marks a new era in what’s possible in the surf world."
Jeff Fleeher, President of Kelly Slater Wave Company, said: "The KSWC Team is thrilled to launch our partnership and Kelly’s world class wave with Modon at Surf Abu Dhabi. It’s our dream to share the stoke of surfing with the world and we are excited to help take the region’s surf culture to new levels. As a global hub for tourism, sport, and business, with diverse peoples and cultures, Abu Dhabi is the perfect place for us to showcase KSWC’s unmatched wave technology and surf experience. We’re fortunate to work with Modon and join Hudayriyat Island’s incredible ecosystem of sport and recreation to foster new participation and enthusiasm for surfing in the Middle East."
In addition to growing the local and regional surfing community, Surf Abu Dhabi has been designed in collaboration with the Kelly Slater Wave Company whose contributions throughout each stage of the project have been instrumental in Surf Abu Dhabi being capable of hosting future major international surf competitions and accommodating professional surfers with perfect conditions to train or compete.
Bill O'Regan, CEO of Modon, said: "We can’t wait to welcome surfers of all skill levels to find their wave in Abu Dhabi, and benefit from the world-class technology and facilities available to them. Surf Abu Dhabi on Hudayriyat Island in Abu Dhabi is driven by a commitment to enhance Abu Dhabi's leisure and sports offerings with a destination which attracts surfing enthusiasts from across the world and offer a unique and enjoyable experience for all."