Call it a twist of fate, but Mo Rahma really wanted to be a rugby player. Surfing came later. So we sit down with him and ask: “Why the sudden change?”
We read that you first wanted to be a rugby player, tell us about it…
Well it is a long story, at the start when I was a kid, I didn’t know what rugby or any other sport was, except for football because that’s what we only used to play in school, watch on TV at home, play with friends and play with family during family gatherings. So as a start football was my passion and I played for Dubai Football Club and I played in the first Mens’ Division. When football went pro, I did too but a year later I started university. Uni and football clashed and I had to choose what I want to do, so I chose uni. Once I started uni I had the opportunity to try different sports. I was curious about different sports, so I played them all, from bowling, to cricket, to rugby, you name the sport and I played it except extreme sports, as I didn’t know about it at that time. Out of all the sports, I enjoyed rugby a lot, and I started playing it till I became the first UAE national rugby player to play for the Arabian Gulf – they were the former UAE national team. I made it in the Rugby World Cup 2008 squad. A severe, career-defining injury ruled me out of rugby. Doctors told me that I won’t be able to play the sport or run, I was determined to get back on my feet.
Would you consider your injury as a twist of fate that led you to surfing?
Definitely, I’m an injury magnet, as I’m very active and love the outdoors, so you see me constantly getting injured. But this injury was a blessing from the skies as it introduced me to surfing. Surfing is an amazing sport. I wish I knew that something called surfing existed when I was a kid.
Where do you usually practice in the region?
I usually practice at Wadi Adventure in Al Ain, it is a great training ground and especially that we don’t have much waves in the UAE. So when it is flat I’m in Al Ain and when there are waves I’m surfing at sunset.
What should our readers, especially Emirati readers, know about surfing?
Surfing is more than a sport, it is a lifestyle. Surfing is such a fun and adrenaline sport. Surfing to me is everything, it is my therapy. When I’m stressed, I grab my board and paddle out and it relaxes me and calms me down, surfing is my travel motivation, surfing is my inspiration to push my limits in competitions and in my day-to-day activities.
Are you involved in other outdoor activities?
Yes, I love outdoor activities, that’s what I do when I’m not surfing, I’m a very curious guy and I love trying new activities and new adrenaline activities. So I’m always doing some outdoor activities
What other training do you do for surfing?
I do a lot of water training, like rock running underwater, swimming, paddling on the board and stand-up paddle boarding. Outside the water I do a lot of fitness and workout at Pride Fitness Gym. I also go skateboarding
As the first surfer to come from the UAE, what do you think is your duty?
To represent my country in a good way and become an ambassador of the sport to UAE nationals, younger generations and spread awareness of surfing. When competing international I make sure to represent my country in a great way as it is a great country. I explain and show people the beauty of our tradition and the beauty of our country. I show them how our leaders has changed the UAE from a yellow desert to what it is right now
How has surfing impact your life?
Surfing has changed my life a lot, firstly it made me travel the globe, meet new people and make new friends. Surfing has changed my lifestyle, into a better lifestyle. I’m a more relaxed, stoked, and fun person.
Are you preparing for any events?
What’s next? Yes I am currently training for Taiwan. It is the start of the WSL World Surfing League World Qualification Series event. I’m very excited for this event as I have never been to Taiwan before. I heard that the waves in Taiwan are amazing, and this is my last comp for this year.
Lastly, what’s your dream surf spot?
My dream surf spot would be a Pipeline, Hawaii
Which competitions did you represent UAE at?
I have competed and represented the UAE at the ISA World Games of Surfing – this was my first comp, it was in Peru. Then I competed in Spain, Pantin Classic Pro, third comp was in Maldives – the Maldives Open and then in Japan at the Hyuoga Pro.
Which one was your favorite one and why?
It is hard to say. Every comp had it is memories and it has its moments. But my favourite I would say is the ISA World Games of Surfing, as I have met a lot of new people and made so many friends. At that comp I won three heats and the waves in Peru were amazing, I caught the best and the biggest wave of my life so far!
Occupation: Etihad Airways