Full Frames: Pool In The Desert Edition
From Stab Issue 59: A Full Frames special, starring Dion Agius! Photos by Grady Archbold (film) and DJ Struntz (digital). Captions by Charlie Smith. The Wadi Adventure Pool in the desert city of Al-Ain, on the UAE/Oman border. Photo (above) by DJ Struntz: The United Arab Emirates is a steel, marble and glass mirage. Hugging the […]
From Stab Issue 59: A Full Frames special, starring Dion Agius! Photos by Grady Archbold (film) and DJ Struntz (digital). Captions by Charlie Smith.
The Wadi Adventure Pool in the desert city of Al-Ain, on the UAE/Oman border. Photo (above) by DJ Struntz: The United Arab Emirates is a steel, marble and glass mirage. Hugging the south-eastern Arabian Peninsula, it rises from the desert expanse and there it is and there you are. Immaculate camel racing tracks. A manmade island shaped like a palm tree that features a giant Atlantis resort on the trunk. Men wearing gleaming white dresses designed by Tom Ford and Jil Sander. Women wearing luxurious black folds of fabric that swath them in glamorous anonymity. Only their eyes peek out and those eyes are lined with black. It might not be the future we wanted when we were young and dreamed, but it is the future we got and, really, what we deserved. It is a future that reached through time and across the oceans and into Dion Agius’s present while he sat in Byron Bay and poked around his computer. He found, on the European surf website Desillusion, a short video featuring a wave pool that featured a perfect, literally perfect, wave and he couldn’t believe his eyes. Outside, the Australian summer sun shone and Australian dreamed about 1976. But inside Dion was transfixed. What was this wave? And his eyes wandered around the screen and he knew it was a mirage. A man-made chlorine anomaly in the United Arab Emirate desert. But, it was also perfect and he thought if, in fact, this wave was actually as good as it looked, then he could do every sort of air. He called the Desillusion and asked that they take the clip down because it was his secret, not theirs nor the publics, and they agreed. He called Globe’s filmmaker Joe G and told him that he had found, maybe found, a Shangri-La. “Drink in the view overlapping the pool,” says Dion. “I love the colour against the desert backdrop. Driving for two hours and arriving at a surreal aqua blue playground was one of the most exciting moments of my life.”
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