The 14th Al Dhafra Water Festival will commence tomorrow at Al Mughirah Beach, Al Dhafra, under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in Al Dhafra Region.
Supporting efforts to preserve the UAE's maritime heritage, Al Dhafra Water Festival, organised by the Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festivals Committee – Abu Dhabi, along with the Abu Dhabi Marine Sports Club, will continue until 19th March.
Of note, this will be an edition of firsts for what appears to be the largest Al Dhafra Water Festival yet to be held. For the first time, Abu Dhabi will be hosting the WingFoil Racing World Cup, a wind-propelled water sports competition that combines kitesurfing and windsurfing. The competition is expected to attract more than 50 local and international participants who will vie for the first three positions. A new sport that rose to prominence quickly, WingFoil features a sailor standing on a board and holding onto a wing. It generates both upward force and sideways propulsion to move the board across the water.
The festival also includes the Al Dhafra Grand Kingfish Championship for Men and Women, which will be held from 10th to 13th March, and participation is open to all nationalities in both the men's and women's categories.
Registration for the tournament continues until 13th March.
“Al Dhafra Water Festival embodies the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in support of heritage preservation projects and the sustainability of its material and moral aspects,” said Major General Faris Khalaf Al Mazrouei, Commander-in-Chief of the Abu Dhabi Police and Chairman of the Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festivals Committee – Abu Dhabi.
Al Mazrouei praised the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in Al Dhafra Region, of the festival, and his close attention he pays to heritage maritime sports.
“H.H. Sheikh Hamdan’s keen observation of heritage maritime sports and events highlight the history of UAE coasts and islands, helping inspire successive generations to practice heritage in all of its facets and hues, and familiarise the public with its terms and vocabulary,” Al Mazrouei added.
Ahmed Thani Al Rumaithi, Vice Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Marine Sports Club and Managing Director, said, “The festival’s multi-faceted activities, organised by the Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festivals Committee – Abu Dhabi, in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Marine Sports Club, will significantly contribute to the revival of several heritage sports."
“The event aims to strengthen the authenticity of heritage and its presence among generations. The 14th edition will feature a distinctive harmony between traditional and contemporary sports. Therefore, we anticipate a sizeable turnout of captains, sailors, and competitors in a variety of contests."
Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamsi, Managing Director and Group CEO of AD Ports Group, said, “Al Dhafra Water Festival revives the ancient heritage of the civilisation and culture of the people of the UAE and serves as a key destination for showcasing various marine sports.”
Obaid Khalfan Al Mazrouei, Director of the Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festivals Committee's Planning and Projects Department, noted, “The Festival offers participants and tourists a programme full of exciting events and contests that stretches over ten days. It features the Tafrees Traditional Race; Marwah Traditional Dhow Sailing Race (43 ft); the Jenana Sailing Race (22 ft); Al Mirfa Traditional Rowing Race; Open Kitesurf and Paddle Boarding; Al Dhafrah Regatta; the Salahah Al Bwanish Sailing Race; the Fishing Championship; carrom, dominoes; iron-man competitions; live multi-sport events, like cycling and running races; and camping area performances by the Abu Dhabi Folklore Troupe, including concerts, fireworks and horse shows, and mobile fast-food restaurants (Food Trucks)," he added.
Open daily from 4:00 to 10:00, the much-awaited event also features Al Dhafra Souq, which hosts the Bait Nokhza House; Children’s Village; folk costume shows; cooking competitions; traditional handicrafts shows; and the Theater, including daily competitions and prizes, among other activities catering to different age groups.