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Middle East

The snowboard-making giant based in the desert

December 28, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 48.7%. 1 min read.

Dubai is not a place you'd think of as a hotbed for winter sports innovation, but SWS is one of the world's biggest snowboard manufacturers.

With a passion for action sports, he founded Sideways Sports (SWS) in Dubai, building a multi-million dollar business from scratch and becoming a global manufacturer of snowboards, wakeboards and kiteboards.

Today, SWS produces around 300,000 boards a year, serving global brands like Arbor, Jones, and Liquid Force in Europe, the US, Japan and Australia.

The company says it is responsible for nearly a third of global snowboard production and makes half the world's kite and wakeboards.

Producing snowboards in one of the hottest places on Earth is a challenge that Nouhra took on with enthusiasm.

After studying engineering management in Washington DC, Nouhra moved to Dubai in 1997 and joined a company specializing in compression molding, a technique used in the automotive industry.

"Moving from compression molding to snowboard manufacturing was the right thing to do," Nouhra says.

He began producing wakeboards and kiteboards in 2004, and kickstarted the production of snowboards in 2012.

Nouhra and his team can design a board in the morning, test it on Ski Dubai slopes in the afternoon, and take it back to the factory to make adjustments, all in a single working day.

Shipping boards around the world is made easy thanks to the SWS factory's location just a few minutes away from Jebel Ali Port, the largest in the Middle East.

"The photovoltaic energy potential we have here is more than two times the one we can get in Europe, US or China," Nouhra says -- proving that making snowboards in the desert isn't such an off-piste idea after all.

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