Occupation: Senior Supervisor, DEWA
Amidst the heat of summer slowly creeping into the entire UAE this year, I was very refreshed to be standing in Breakwater Beach in Abu Dhabi accompanied by several personal water craft as they cut through the waves during the 3rd heat of the UAE Jet Ski race. Among others, this was where I met Ali Mohammed Yousuf Al Lanjawi or as his friends and teammates call him Ali.
Where did you begin your jet skiing career?
I began my jet skiing career in 2008 during a race in Dubai where I finished in 16th place out of the 55 participants. There was an old guy there who taught me how to drive a personal water craft properly. After that, in 2009 I tried to course races due to his advice and I finished in 9th place – I saw this as a sign that I was gradually improving. Then in 2010, I was in a championship race in the United States – my first time outside the UAE and I finished second overall. I had a significant lead during the entire completion but then lost my key during the final race landing me the second spot on the podium [laughs].
In your opinion, how have you improved from before?
I improved a lot — the experiences that I gain during races as well as from watching world races in the television helped me to hone my racing skills.
What have you learned from jet skiing?
Patience. I have learned to be patient in the sense that I have learned to wait until I get good results. Like for this race – we have been preparing for it for a year now. It’s not as simple as sitting on the WaveRunner and riding. I have learned to be patient with myself and with my WaveRunner until the right time comes for us to be our best.
Is there any training regimen that you follow?
Yes, I train in the gym, in the sea with the WaveRunner and I also train in my bicycle two times a week. I do a different training regiment everyday because I believe that variety in training in the gym and the sea makes me for fit for the races.
How often do you train?
Every day, but like what I said, it’s not always the same training regimen. I train in the water thrice a week with my WaveRunner and a mock course. My team sets up the course in the same way as the race course. We also train in the waves and in calm waters as well because both require specific techniques. In calm water’s it’s all about top speed and when to hit the brakes and when to put the pedal down. In the waves, it’s more about how to handle the WaveRunner so that’s in the same speed as the waves. Waves are more of handling than of speed, so to prepare for both situations we train in both calm waters and in wavy waters.
Is the UAE a great place to go jet skiing?
The UAE is a perfect place to go jet skiing. The jet skiing community is highly active with six races during the season. The standards are also very much up to par with international standards; it’s like a world-class racing experience here in the UAE, plus there are a lot of champions inside the country.
What do you love most about the sport?
I love the adrenaline, the exhilarating feeling and the speed. The craziness [laughs] I can take it out in the water, not on the road – much safer.
Are there any challenges that you have encountered before?
Sometimes, when I’m not fit, because I didn’t have time to train because I’m also working and I have family. There are even times when I don’t even have a month to train and when the race time comes I’m not ready and when I’m in the water I’m not fit enough.
What would be your most memorable race?
I think it is when I am with a lot of champion racers. It presents a really nice challenge and when I win in those, I feel genuinely happy because of the heightened sense of competition present.
What would you say to all the people that you have inspired?
I’d like to promise them that I will be better than I am now. I will show them more than what I consider to be my best now and I wish there would be more racers coming from Dubai and the other emirates.