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Author Topic: Jet Ski Racing Pro Jet Skier Yousef Al Abdulrazzaq Interview  (Read 352 times)

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Jet Ski Racing Pro Jet Skier Yousef Al Abdulrazzaq Interview
« on: April 16, 2018, 10:00:44 AM »
Wow, this article by Pro Fit is so inspiring we had to share it!

Exclusive Interview: Pro Jet Skier Yousef Al Abdulrazzaq

What does it take to become a pro jet skier? Reshmi Revi talks to the seven-time world champion, Yousef Al Abdulrazzaq, about his passion for speed, a tremendous determination to succeed and meticulous preparation of the body and the machine…

Spain’s Prime Minister, Jose Maria Aznar, once proclaimed, “I am a quiet man who grows through adversity.”

When I first met Yousef Al Abdulrazzaq back in 2010 at the Al Cornice Club, I thought – and still think – that quote perfectly describes him.

If you’re not in the know, Al Abdulrazzaq is the current world number one ranking jet ski champion. There’s a quiet tenacity about him. The 35-year-old Kuwaiti has clinched this numero uno world title, not once, not twice, but seven awe-inspiring times and is the only Kuwaiti and Arab national to ever accomplish such a feat.

He was also recently awarded the World Championship Award 2015 by the Union Internationale Mononautique (UIM) in Monaco, another accolade he’s achieved twice now.

Perfect Fit Magazine recently sat down with the champ to talk about his love for the water sport.

o while everyone is well aware you’re an athlete, do you also have a daytime profession?

Yes. I work at the Kuwait Fund in the Arabic Economic Development division. I am a Financial Analyst in the hedge fund department.

How did you get into jet skiing?

I saw my cousin race. Then I wanted to try it too. I had my first race when I was 16 in Kuwait. That was 1996. At that time that was the legal age of racing. Nowadays you can race whether you’re 10, 11, or 12 years old with parental approval. Anyhow after that race, I got addicted to the sport.

Why jet skiing? Why not paddleboarding or wakeboarding?

I like the feeling of having 20 riders next to me at the starting line – all fighting for 1st place.

So with that admission I’m assuming you like fast cars too?

That’s the funny thing. I am not a big fan of cars. I like jet skis, motocross bikes and dirt biking. I sometimes will train with dirt biking but I don’t race.

How did you get into the industry?

I went to college in Boston. During school, I went to local races in Michigan. I knew one of the mechanics there and was like, ‘I am going to race with you guys.’ The World Finals for jet skiing takes place in Lake Havasu in Arizona. So my first race there was in the year 2000 for the World Championship. I was 20. I didn’t place. It was my first time.

What’s the level of competing like?

The comp level at that time was much harder. In 2000 for each racing category you would have to do two qualifiers to reach the main race and there were about 60 competitive racers. Nowadays, there could be only 18 racers and all of them could participate in the main race.

Is it a dying sport?

Not at all! It’s an expensive sport, thus people don’t participate as much. Back in the day, jet ski engines ran on what we call two-stroke engines – two-cylinder engines. Today everyone races on four-stroke engines. To make a four-stroke race ready, it’s much more expensive. Prepping a two-stroke jet ski costs about 2000KWD while for a four-stoke one, the cost goes up to 10,000KWD. So it’s an expensive sport.

Tell us bit about your competition history.

I started racing in Kuwait. Then, I raced in Dubai for a season. When I was 18, I went to Boston and raced at the world championships to see how it was. I saw the competition level and thought I could do better with the right tools. Over time it happened. My first championship win came in 2006 in the Pro Class, which is the highest class for jet skiing. I won the title three years in a row: in 2006, 2007 and 2008. In total, I have seven wins on my account, in different categories: Pro Class, Expert, Amateurs and the Novice. Anyone can say they’re a world champ, but they have to specify the different levels. I won mine in the Pro class. To even compete in the Pro ranks, you’ve got to win in the leagues below before proceeding to compete in the higher levels.

What do you love about your sport?

The speed of the jet skis. I love travelling and meeting new people all over the world. It’s fun going to new places. For the World Championship race, they tend to hold it in various locations, for example, in Italy, Ibiza or Dubai. This year we went to Italy and China. It allows me to see the world. Next season, which starts in June, we are going to compete in Macau, Italy, Spain and Dubai.

 What’s the most challenging thing about competitive jet skiing?

A small mechanical error can change the game. A hose clamp that comes off can cost you the competition as your jet ski will s ink in water. Or if you have a loose screw in your handlebars, you can’t steer. A simple malfunction can make you lose just like that and it’s annoying. I lost a world championship because of that. It was in the US in Arizona in 2010 or 2011. In the tournament, I was going to turn and instead I went straight. Straight away I knew it was a steering malfunction. This is why you need to have a very good mechanic.

What’s the name of the team in which you race?

We’re called KSR or Kuwait Speed Racing. We are a large group of racers, helpers, managers. We are very well organized. The purpose of the team is to set the bar for the sport in the country and to help new and upcoming racers. We want to create a new direction and develop this industry further.

When you travel for your competitions, who comes with you?

Oh, the whole crew. We have about 30 people in our entourage. We take the biggest area in the race, about six tents, and they prepare everything. My only focus is on racing. I’m the lead racer in my team of seven.

When you won your first pro race, did you think beforehand that you were going to win or was it unexpected?

Yes, I somehow knew I was going to win. The setup I had was great. I was 100 percent in shape, the jet ski was so comfortable to ride… My mechanic did a great job and my average lap time was far better than everyone else’s.

How long are the competitions?

They vary. In the Pro class a race is 25 minutes long. In the beginner levels, it’s about eight minutes. Local races in Kuwait are about 15 minutes.

So when you’re on your jet ski, do you follow a circuit?

Yes, it’s a track with the buoys as markers. A red buoy would indicate a left turn while a yellow would be a right one.

What do people think when you say you’re a jet ski racer?

I don’t think about it that way. My focus is purely on the race.

You don’t want to do this full time?

I would like to but we are a team now and currently we pay for our own expenses.

I see in the media that you were recently in Monaco. Tell us about it.

Union Internationale Motonautique (UIM) decided to honor me as the World Champ 2015. It was like going to the Oscars. It was very glamorous and everyone had a great time. We even had the honor of having Prince Albert the second of Monaco present awards at the affair. I also was one of five selected racers invited to do a press conference. Definitely a memorable milestone in my career.

What’s your current training regimen like?

Well, I don’t lift weights. I haven’t in the past eight years as lifting makes your physique dense and bulky and it isn’t good for this sport. I swim a lot, play squash and spin. Swimming helps loosen my body. Spinning is good for my heart rate. I play squash for my endurance levels and do a bit of agility training. I also carry out jet ski training drills but on a standing jet ski as it’s more physically challenging on your body. All that and yoga… I don’t love yoga but I do it to work on my flexibility and breathing.

What’s the most horrific accident you’ve had in this sport?

Dislocating my shoulder. In a 2009/2010 fun race prior to the main race, I fell from my jet ski. I was trying to pull myself up from the water and accidentally pressed the gas on the handlebars.

Who are your current sponsors?

Zain and the Al Corniche Club. Al Corniche sponsors my gym membership.

What would your advice be to someone wanting to get into the sport?

To have a lot of patience. A lot of racers compete for the first time and if they don’t do so well, they get disappointed and never try again.

What’s your favorite supplement?

Multi vitamins, magnesium and BCAAs

Favourite cheat meal?

From a restaurant called Mustard. They do the best burgers – their double cheeseburger is the bomb.


« Last Edit: April 16, 2018, 10:07:34 AM by Jet Ski Club »
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