The snowboard-making large primarily based within the desert



However the emirate’s balmy local weather hasn’t curbed the ambitions of Lebanese-Canadian entrepreneur Rainier Nouhra. With a ardour for motion sports activities, he based Sideways Sports activities (SWS) in Dubai, constructing a multi-million greenback enterprise from scratch and turning into a world producer of snowboards, wakeboards and kiteboards.

Immediately, SWS produces round 300,000 boards a 12 months, serving international manufacturers like Arbor, Jones, and Liquid Pressure in Europe, the US, Japan and Australia. The corporate says it’s liable for almost a 3rd of worldwide snowboard manufacturing and makes half the world’s kite and wakeboards.

Producing snowboards in one of many hottest locations on Earth is a problem that Nouhra took on with enthusiasm. “I went to highschool in Montreal, Canada, the place there’s a whole lot of snow,” he says. “It was the ’80s and snowboarding simply grew to become well-known. That is what I’m obsessed with.”

After learning engineering administration in Washington DC, Nouhra moved to Dubai in 1997 and joined an organization specializing in compression molding, a method used within the automotive business.

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“Transferring from compression molding to snowboard manufacturing was the proper factor to do,” Nouhra says. “The method could be very comparable. It is a high-tech business the place Dubai is admittedly targeted. And the town’s location between three continents provides us entry to uncooked supplies that we use in manufacturing.”

He started producing wakeboards and kiteboards in 2004, and kickstarted the manufacturing of snowboards in 2012. SWS now generates annual revenues of $30 million.

The proper place for snowboards?

The success of his enterprise shouldn’t be solely depending on the town’s well-developed composite business — the place supplies with totally different chemical properties are blended and used for manufacturing within the building, automotive, aerospace and transportation sectors — however on a extra unlikely ingredient: the supply of year-round snow.

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One of many world’s largest indoor ski resorts, Ski Dubai, is on his doorstep and has been vital to his enterprise. “It is quarter-hour away from us,” Nouhra factors out. “It is open the whole 12 months, there’s snow on a regular basis; it has the right situation and temperature for testing.”

A snowboarder competing at the "DXB Snow Week" at Ski Dubai, on August 15, 2020.

Nouhra and his group can design a board within the morning, take a look at it on Ski Dubai slopes within the afternoon, and take it again to the manufacturing facility to make changes, all in a single working day. Transport boards around the globe is made straightforward because of the SWS manufacturing facility’s location just some minutes away from Jebel Ali Port, the biggest within the Center East.

With inexperienced credentials turning into a rising a part of model identification, it is necessary for SWS’s purchasers that the boards are produced sustainably. It is one thing that resonates with Nouhra and he is proud that his manufacturing facility is likely one of the first within the business to be totally powered by photo voltaic panels, put in on the plant’s rooftop.

“The photovoltaic power potential now we have right here is greater than two instances the one we will get in Europe, US or China,” Nouhra says — proving that making snowboards within the desert is not such an off-piste concept in any case.



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