Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 22 August 2019

An almighty crash, but not burnt

Mo Hassan Rahma brushed off a close encounter with disaster after surviving a pounding from 9-metre high waves, and he insisted it would not stop him chasing his dream of competing in a world tour.
Emirati surfer Mo Hassan Rahma says he was lucky to walk away after surviving ‘wipeout’ from big waves. Courtesy Mo Hassan Rahma
Emirati surfer Mo Hassan Rahma says he was lucky to walk away after surviving ‘wipeout’ from big waves. Courtesy Mo Hassan Rahma

IRELAND // An Emirati surfer brushed off a close encounter with disaster after surviving a pounding from 9-metre high waves, and he insisted it would not stop him chasing his dream of competing in a world tour.

Mo Hassan Rahma was a long way from his Dubai home, in County Sligo on the wild Atlantic coast, when he paddled into the waves at the legendary surf spot near the village of Mullaghmore.

Rahma, who works for Etihad in Dublin, compares his “wipeout” to falling from a high building and said he was lucky to walk away.

A video captured the moment he was sent crashing into the barrelling wave and into the reef below last week and the incident has been nominated in the 2017 TAG Heuer Wipeout of the Year awards.

“To see that size of wave bearing down on me sent a huge rush through my body,” Rahma said.

“The first wave I tried to catch was like the first time you go bungee jumping – you don’t enjoy it because you are so scared, and fear takes over.

“Everyone asked me why I fell off the wave. I still don’t know.

“My mind wasn’t there – but the wipeout woke me up and I realised I was in trouble.”

Rahma was held under the water for about 40 seconds -before being hit by a second wave.

A jet ski rider who towed him in to the surf to help him catch the wave helped reunite Rahma with his board and then took him back for a second attempt.

Huge waves generated by Storm Doris, which hit much of the United Kingdom last week, attracted a small crowd of thrill seekers, and were a far cry from the waves of Dubai.

“The first time I surfed was in Umm Suqeim, the waves were tiny,” said Rahma.

“I had lessons at the artificial wave at Al Ain and would try to get over to Sri Lanka or the Maldives to try out bigger waves and gain experience.”

Rahma competed for the UAE at the ISA World Surfing Games in 2014, as the only representative from the Middle East.

“It is cold and rainy in Ireland and I miss the sun, but the chance to surf these waves was too good to miss,” he said.

nwebster@thenational.ae

Updated: March 2, 2017 04:00 AM

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