ABU DHABI // At 28, Tom Foshee is considered "too old" in a sport that demands acrobatic manoeuvres, lightning-speed reflexes and flexibility for jumps, twists, turns and somersaults in water on a sleek board.
Yet the American has managed to stay on top against his young rivals in the World Wakeboard Association (WWA) Wake Park World Series for the past three years.
Foshee is back in Abu Dhabi to defend his No 1 ranking in the final leg of the 2012 WWA World Series at the Al Forsan International Sports Resort in Khalifa City A from today until Saturday.
"It may sound very funny because I compete against guys, some as young as 13 and 14," he said.
"They are young, more flexible and energetic than me but I also have some advantage with my experience and a few tricks up my sleeve to be right up with them for the challenge.
"At the end of the competition, I am left with a sore body but I still enjoy the challenge and what I do."
Foshee's passion for the sport prompted him to enrol at Texas State University, for his bachelor's degree in sports science, because they had training facilities he was keen to use.
"I have been hooked to wakeboard related competitions all my life and I am really enjoying doing it professionally and travelling around the world," he said.
Foshee has amassed 440 points, including two perfect scores of 100 in the five events of the World Wake Park Series so far.
He has only Daniel Grant (395) of Thailand and James Windsor (375) of Australia to see off in the final round to stake a claim of the major share of the US$100,000 (Dh367,000) total prize in Abu Dhabi. The three-day competitions include categories for professional men and women, and for amateurs, a category that has drawn a significant number of Emiratis.
"The participation of the Emiratis has far exceeded our expectations when we first started this facility two years ago," Carlos King, sports and recreation manager of the club in Abu Dhabi, said.
"As you can imagine they all started on scratch and now they have reached a good level to compete in the amateur events. Some of them were outstanding in the first year and we expect them to fare even better this time.
"We had 34 entries last year and have more than 62 this year, of which 70 per cent are Emiratis. Most of these guys are here training four or five times a week and it can only get better every passing year."
According to King, they are also in talks with the WWA to stage a GCC championship next year.
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