Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia

Middle East
LAST UPDATED 18/02/2008
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Level of surfing


Quality of surf


Call code


Net code





2,640 km


Arid, extreme desert conditions


Extreme Heat, Severe Storms, Coup / Civil Unrest

Best Months

November - January




Riyal (SAR)

Time Zone


Special Requirements

Private Beaches, Special Pass / Permits, Lengthy VISA Process, Non tourist Friendly, Strict Religious Observance, No Alcohol allowed


Vardion: A large blank world map with oceans marked in blue, 26 December 2006

Saudi Arabia is an Arab country and the largest country of the Arabian Peninsula. It is adminitratively divided into 13 provinces. It is bordered by Jordan on the northwest, Iraq on the north and northeast, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates on the east, Oman on the southeast, and Yemen on the south.

It has an estimated population of 27.6 million and its area is roughly 2,150,000 square km

Saudi Arabia is an oil-based economy with strong government controls over major economic activities. Saudi Arabia has the largest reserves of petroleum in the world and ranks as the largest exporter of petroleum, and plays a leading role in OPEC.


Magnus Manske: Anthia goldfish, The Red Sea; 2007

Saudi Arabia's coastline includes both Persian Gulf territory and the Red Sea. Persian Gulf swells are a real rarity that occurs with rideable results maybe twice a year. Standard weather patterns will not produce rideable surf within the Gulf. What you are looking for is a stray system from the northern Indian Ocean or the Arabian Sea to go spining out of control and sit at one end of the Gulf for a few days. If the system sits to the north then the UAE, Western Iran, Saudi, Qatar and even Bahrain will have something small but rideable. If the system sits south then the UAE will be a howling offshore sandstorm with Qatar, Saudi and even Kuwait getting a wave. 

The Red Sea is the occasional victim of severe inland dust and sand storms that will occasionally sit in position drilling away over the water to either the North or South of the Sea. If this happens long enough then windswell will bounce either up or down the Red sea lighting up what are the most northern Tropical reefs in the world. The salinity in the Red sea is in some cases double that of normal sea water. An interesting phenomena that means you can get away with about 2 feet less surfboard and still maintain the same level of buoyancy. here are plenty of reef breaks just south of the major Red Sea Saudi port of Jiddah to keep you guessing with Mastabah one of the best.

where to stay

Ammar Shaker: Umm Al Qura Street, Mecca - Saudi Arabia, 3 March 2008

There are all types of hotels available through the Kingdown of Saudi Arabia. Most tourist cities will offer affordable accommodation for travellers whereas all the major cities will generally have larger and more expensive hotels.

You can expect to pay north of US$200 for a weekday night at a good hotel in any of the big Saudi cities. All hotels tend to have excellent customer service but just incase, you may want to bring along a translator to avoid any communication problems.

Smoking is the one sin that the Wahhabis haven't gotten around to banning yet and as a result, people are smoking everywhere - hotel lobbies, airport lounges, shopping mall food courts, drivers in their taxis, etc. If this is a problem to you, be sure to request non-smoking rooms in hotels.


what to pack

Rich Niewiroski Jr.: 62 mm ultra-violet, fluorescent, and polarizing lens filters. Camera used was a Canon 400D; April 9, 2007

Better start with a list of what you shouldn't bring to Saudi Arabia: pork and pork products; alcohol drinks.; pornography (dvd/films), porn magazines, sex toys; symbols of other religions (such as a cross necklace), etc.

Trainers, loose clothing - everything for the hot weather. Definitely take along some bug repellent spray, good sunscreen and sunglasses! Better take your medicines with you (esp. anti hastamine tablets), as the brands can be unfamiliar and cost more. By the way, getting medical insurance for the trip would be a good idea.

And take a good protection for your camera from the sand.

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