x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Loneliness of the long-distance jet skier

Majid al Ameri is spending the day riding nearly 1,000km along the coast, passing all seven emirates for charity. To sponsor him, send an SMS to 4643 and Dh5 will be deducted from your phone bill.

ABU DHABI // If you look out to sea and spot a lone jet skier ploughing the waves today, give him a cheer. For it could be Majid al Ameri, who is spending the day riding nearly 1,000km along the coast, passing all seven emirates, in a bid to raise Dh5 million (US$1.4m) for charity. The 28-year-old Emirati was due to set off from Fujairah at 1am, and aims to arrive on the Corniche in Abu Dhabi around 9pm.

His hope is not only to help the Future Centre in the capital, which helps children and young adults with special needs, but to set an example to fellow Emiratis by devoting time to charity. "I hope to encourage UAE nationals that nothing is impossible and that one person's efforts can make a big difference to those that need it more, as encouraged by our late father, teacher and leader Sheikh Zayed," said Mr al Ameri.

Mr al Ameri will ski at 50kph if conditions are good. If the waves are high, he will go at half that speed. "I have been training for two months," he said. "You need to be fit to cope with the high waves. I have been running, swimming and jet skiing eight hours a day. I am exhausted." Almost Dh200,000 has been spent on the attempt - Dh140,000 for a jet ski and Dh55,000 for a speedboat, which will carry fuel, food and first aid equipment. Mr al Ameri has a support team of five - a captain, assistant and mechanic onboard the speedboat, and two of his brothers who will drive a car.

So far, Mr al Ameri, a general manager at his father's watersports company, has only raised Dh100. But he hopes the funds will flow through a text message system that has been set up. To sponsor him, send an SMS to 4643 and Dh5 will be deducted from your phone bill. In his early teens, Mr al Ameri was one of the few jet skiers in Abu Dhabi. "Now, even my 52-year-old mother jet skis, with my six brothers and two sisters," he said.

@Email:asafdar@thenational.ae