Drifting SUVs in the UAE: The hobby of ‘hajwalah’

An SUV contest down an open, arid road. Suddenly, the disciplinarian whips the council caster as harder and fast as he can in one direction, again aback the added way. The car spins uncontrollably, skidding beyond the road.

This alarming afloat abnormality is alleged “hajwalah,” or “tafheet,” and in locations of the Arab apple it’s how some thrill-seeking teenagers get their fill.
Young men in Saudi Arabia accept been afloat cars back the 1970s, and the convenance has back advance to countries such as the United Arab Emirates. It was already accepted on accessible roads, but Gulf accompaniment governments accept back absurd down on hajwalah due to the top amount of cartage accidents and injuries acquired by drifters.
Not to be controlled, today’s adolescence accept taken to clandestine advance and actionable garages in rural areas area they are chargeless to be as adventuresome as they please.

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New York-based columnist Peter Garritano catholic to the UAE to abduction a allotment of this subculture for his latest photo series. The photos chase a afloat competition, highlighting altered aspects of hajwalah.
One photo shows SUVs lined up for the afloat meet. The centermost car is emblazoned with the Arabic chat for disaster, aswell the name of a afloat aggregation in the competition. Added photos appearance behind-the-scenes preparation. Mechanics are harder at plan beneath the hoods of these SUVs, which accept to be adapted from their branch configurations to be able to accomplish signature stunts.
Another photo shows the city covered in advancing patterns of alluvion marks, abrogation little catechism about what transpired on those roads.
“It’s affectionate of like a annihilation derby,” Garritano explained. “They get absolutely aflame if something explodes or burns.”
Moving hajwalah from accessible anchorage to clandestine advance has accustomed acceleration to a added formalized, aggressive afloat culture, cementing it as a accepted anatomy of motorsport. In alluvion meets like the one in Garritano’s photos, drivers are advised by panels on their address and on the adventurousness of their stunts. But there are no harder and fast rules. Hajwalah is a bathe sport, and those who affectation the a lot of adventurousness ultimately prevail.
“It’s like watching a anxiously choreographed car blow that hopefully doesn’t end in a wreck,” Garritano said.
The huge risks complex in the stunts, and the all-inclusive sums of money spent tricking out cars that could calmly get totaled afterwards one adventurous move, accomplish hajwalah a acutely abstract hobby. Its address in the Gulf countries stems from a absolute storm of active action and absurd abundance in the face of added socially bourgeois societies.
It’s “the aforementioned as any boyish man gluttonous an action with as abundant adulthood possible,” Garritano said. “But they accept money to absorb and alone so abounding means to absorb it.”
Perhaps one of the drifters put it best.
“People anticipate we’re hooligans, but there are hooligans everywhere,” the drifter told Garritano. “We just appear to be hooligans with money.”