The northern Indian Ocean
Nestled between the dark blue vastness of the northern Indian Ocean and a seemingly endless Ash Sharqiyah desert, sits the outcast beach town of Al Ashkharah, Oman. Formerly known as little more than a fishing town and petrol stop for passers-by, Al Ashkharah has recently diversified its socioeconomic base in the form of surf and kite surf tourism. By recently, we mean the last year or so.
Landing on Mars – Al Ashkharah
Upon arrival to Al Ashkharah, one has the feeling of landing on Mars – both by the deep red hues of the surrounding mountainous topography complimented by the communications barriers with the locals. Here you will have the sense that you are amongst the pioneers to participate in something special, as it is clear upon arrival that this beach town will soon become «the next big thing» in Indian Ocean surfing(video clip follows in the bottom of this post)
Barrels and 45C
Championing over 45C heat with an itch for good surf, we traveled the sum distance from Dubai of 750 km. Traveling from abroad, the easier route would be to fly to Muscat and hire a 4-Wheel Drive for the three-hour drive south to Al Ashkharah. What we found, as could you pending the correct conditions, is world-class surf. The surf season in Oman is between May and September as the seasonal monsoon winds create powerful surf breaking over reef extensions that can produce 100m to 400m long rides with fun barrel sections.
Timing is key, as the monsoon winds pick up and turn northwards around the early afternoon and will often continue until near sunset. As Al Ashkharah’s coastline runs north to south, the monsoon winds will invariably blow side-shore, creating bumpier rides and strong currents. If you’re lucky, however, with the right conditions, you’ll find a surfing paradise in the desert of Oman. We recommend staying at the Al Ashkharah Beach Resort due to its proximity to quality surf, reasonable prices, and friendly staff.
Written by Matias Jeldrez and Vilhelm Hedberg