UAE surfer takes to world stage

Inspires pride despite slow start at first competition.

The Emirati surfer Mohammed Rahma is competing in the World Surfing Games in Peru. Courtesy Daniele Morkel
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DUBAI // The first UAE surfer to compete at an international championship got off to a slow start in Peru.

Mohammed Rahma, 27, from Dubai, came last out of four in his heat in the first round, earning 0.37 points.

“We sat watching Mo via live streaming as he surfed his first heat yesterday at Puntas Rocas in Peru,” said Carl de Villiers, Mr Rahma’s manager and owner of Surf Shop Arabia.

“It was absolutely amazing to see him in the water, representing his country in the sport of surfing. We had a moment where we just were so incredibly proud of Mo that he has held his country’s flag on a global surfing stage and has highlighted to the world that there is a community here and it’s growing.

“It’s great to see the Emirates and Dubai being represented in surfing internationally and seeing the support given by the ISA [International Surfing Association] and the other surfers in the competition.”

Mr Rahma learnt to surf a few years ago at the Wadi Adventures Wave Pool in Abu Dhabi, according to the ISA website.

He became interested in surfing during his recovery from an injury sustained during his time on the national rugby team.

“Surfing has changed my life,” Mr Rahma has been quoted as saying by state news agency Wam. He has since surfed in Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman and Fujairah, as well as Sri Lanka, the Maldives, the US and Australia. He has trained with a coach in Los Angeles for the past year.

Mr Rahma is the first competitor from the UAE to surf in the association’s World Surfing Games, in their 50th year. Nearly 200 surfers from 32 countries are at the games, which started on Friday and will run until Saturday.

Surf Shop Arabia, located in Dubai, is sponsoring Mr Rahma.

The ISA said it was a “history-making moment” for Mr Rahma to represent the UAE at the world championships.