Team Abu Dhabi aim high in penultimate round of F1 H20

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In fine form: Team Abu Dhabi.

Team Abu Dhabi have set themselves a big target in the penultimate round of the 2015 UIM F1 H2O World Championship, aiming for an outright race win to improve their chances for a second world title of the season.

While Thani Al-Qamzi and Alex Carella both have a mathematical chance of landing the drivers’ world championship, Team Abu Dhabi manager Guido Cappellini made it clear that the main focus is on Friday’s Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi.

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“Yes we know that Thani and Alex are among nine drivers who could be champions, but realistically that is almost impossible,” said Cappellini, who captured the world title 10 times in his career.

“For me, the main focus is to get a win here in Abu Dhabi and to take the team championship at the end of the season because there is a better possibility that we could do that.”

Cappellini believes the Frenchman Philippe Chiappe’s 26 point lead means he is virtually certain to be crowned world champion.

In the team championship, however, Al-Qamzi and Alex Carella are within 15 points of the CTIC China Team pairing of Chiappe and Ziwei Xiong with one more race to go in Sharjah. Team Abu Dhabi will be aiming to add to the UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship title which Gary Ballough and John Tomlinson secured last month for Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club, where the team is based.

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Oman to make history as first ME country to host America’s Cup

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Oman Sail has been delivering great results.

Oman Sail will make history in February 2016 when the Sultanate of Oman becomes the first country in the Middle East to host a Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series event, a stage of the world’s most famous sailing event, the America’s Cup.

From 27-28 February, some of the best sailors in the world will grace the Oman shores with the action broadcast live around the world to millions of fans.

The America’s Cup dates back to 1851 and is a competition for the oldest trophy in international sport. In over 160 years, teams representing just four nations – the United States of America, Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland – have won the trophy.

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The 2013 America’s Cup was broadcast in 190 countries, covered by 15,000 news bulletins around the world and videos of the event recorded 24.8 million views on YouTube.

Oman Sail CEO David Graham hopes the reach of the America’s Cup will create new opportunities for the Sultanate and increase the country’s exposure around the globe.

“The America’s Cup is the pinnacle of sailboat racing with a long and interesting history and we are delighted to be hosting the first Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series event of 2016 here in Oman,” said Graham.

“Oman Sail has worked hard since 2008 to reconnect the people of Oman with their sailing roots and to create a generation of sailors.

“We have a very successful youth, women, national and international sailing programme and are actively generating socio-economic benefits for the country and contributing to the development of the Omani people through sailing. Hosting a Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series event will provide huge inspiration to our sailors and take us closer to our aims.

“The America’s Cup brand is incredibly powerful so this will be a monumental opportunity for us to showcase the Sultanate of Oman and to celebrate a landmark moment in the history of Oman Sail.”

Oman Sail has been the driving force behind the Sultanate’s sailing activity since it was established in 2008, introducing a new generation of Omanis to sailing and raising the country’s profile through sport.

Harvey Schiller, America’s Cup Commercial Commissioner, said at the announcement: “Oman is an ideal place for us to open the 2016 racing calendar. It’s exciting to be bringing America’s Cup racing to this part of the world for the first time. We all look forward to adding to the success of Oman Sail with this historic event.”

Near perfect sailing conditions that consistently deliver 10-15 knots, combined with a sunny climate and warm waters have made Oman a popular destination for many Olympic Classes that have chosen to stage their World Championships at a time of year when the weather in Europe and North America limits training opportunities.

For many of the America’s Cup sailors, including Sir Ben Ainslie (Land Rover BAR), Dean Barker (SoftBank Team Japan) and Franck Cammas (Groupama Team France), the waters off the Sultanate of Oman will be familiar territory, since Muscat has been hosting high performance multihull racing every year since 2011.

With points counting towards the America’s Cup Qualifiers in 2017, the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Oman will give fans their first opportunity of 2016 to see all the runners and riders seeking to gain an early advantage. 

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A day with the first star of flowboarding

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Affandi in action.

The most fun I’ve had in a long time was at a Billabong hosted flow boarding master class at Wild Wadi.

I use the term loosely as simply balancing on the board as the water shoots towards you is hard enough without having to do any tricks, but seeing Billabong pro flow boarder, Alfian Affandi in action is awe-inspiring.

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He aptly sums up the sport as “whatever you can do on a surfboard, skateboard or any other board sport, and doing it on the ride itself.”

Alfian Affandi made history in 2010 when he became the first-ever flow boarder to be signed to an international brand. Alfian consistently ranks among the world’s top flow boarders, with his most recent achievements being 2nd and 3rd in the 2015 Penang Skim boarding Competition and the Korean leg of the 2015 Flow Tour Asia.

Affandi made history in 2010, becoming the first-ever flow boarder to be signed to an international brand.

Alfian, 31, was born and raised in Singapore and is married with 2 young children. He took some time out to answer a few questions.

How did you get into Flowboarding?

I was always involved in sports when I was young. I’m a pretty adventurous person who is willing to try new sports. I started skateboarding when I was 13 and that’s where my passion for board sports began. Ever since, I have been trying all different board sports, ie, Wakeboarding, Wake surfing, Skim boarding and surfing. I got really good at Skim boarding and I travelled the world to compete in Skim boarding events.

In 2009, I found out about Wave House opening up here in Singapore. I knew about the sport of Flowboarding through an MTV show where they usde to have a program filmed at Wave House San Diego, USA. So I got a job in Wave House Sentosa and since then, I’ve never looked back.

Did your parents like your career choice?

Yeah, they are always supportive in whatever I do.

What is Wave House, Sentosa?

Wave House is great place to enjoy the California-like lifestyle, enjoy the rides and to stay away from this busy city of ours. We have a restaurant for beach goers to enjoy their meal by the sea as well as enjoying the water sports, so a great day out.

What is Flowboarding? 

Flowboarding is a relatively new sport in the extreme sports scene and sometimes mistaken as just another fun attraction. It is a combination of most of the board sports.  It has similar riding techniques but some Pros from other board sports might find it hard to get used to.

But it’s a fun sport that caters for all ages and quite easy to take up as a hobby. Trust me it’s very addictive according to most of the beginners who try it for the first time at Wave Houses and Water Parks.

During competition, we are given 45 seconds for each run to execute tricks such as Carves Big Airs, Back Flip/Front Flip or skate manoeuvres such as Ollies, Shuv It or Kick Flips. The judges will determine your scores based on your overall impression on the wave.

Is it always at purpose built centres or could it be done at a beach?

You can only do it in the rides themselves. We have a few rides and it’s a different experience for each one. The Flow Rider is more of a sheet wave kind of feel and it has some influences from skateboarding and Wake skating when you ride it.

The Flow Barrel, is a 10 foot stationary wave machine that curls up to form a wave look alike and has more influences from surfing and snowboarding.

Is it just an Asian Tour or do you compete all over the world?

I’ve competed in most of the competitions around the world, ie, in the US, Europe and Asia region

What have been the highlights of your career? 

My highlight wias be definitely in 2012. I won the Asia Tour in 2012 and also got 3rd place overall in the World Championship in Mallorca.

How do you stay fit? 

I go to the gym 3 times a week to work out on the core, mostly on the core muscles because they are the main element for good balance. I also do some cardio to improve my stamina and endurance for me to be able to endure a few intense physical minutes on the rides during competition.

Have you ever had any injuries?

Yes I have: I’ve dislocated both shoulders and have also had an ACL (of the knee) reconstruction 2 years ago. But injuries are just a part of all sports. If you want to get really good in the sports you do, you need to go through the injuries and just get back up recover and do it again.

How did you come to be with the Billabong team? 

They approached me just before I was heading out to my first international contest in the US. Ever since they’ve been very supportive in my sporting career and I’m blessed to have them as my sponsor. I’m the only Asian male Flowboarder to be sponsored by Billabong. Apart from being a part of their team, I sometimes help to promote the brand in my home venue. 

When your competing days are over, what would you like to do?

I will definitely still be involved in the sport as a coach or maybe manage a team of elite riders and also to grow the sports event moreI would love to continue my relationship with Billabong, travel more with them and promote the sport and the brand even more. And I would love to design my own range of apparel with them if I get the opportunity.

Flowboarding is a relatively new sport on the extreme sports scene.

When you’re not competing, how do you relax?

I just take my mind off everything – work, the sport – and I focus on my family. I spend most of my free time with the family and sometimes I’ll go down to the beach to Skim board or I’ll spend some time in Wave House to get some practice and have fun. Whenever possible, my family always travel with me.

Do you have any advice for anyone starting out?

My advice is to keep going when you feel you are not progressing as it sometimes take a while to be where you want to be.  But with hard work and determination, anything is possible!!

If you fall, get back up and fall again! That’s how you progress. Cheers! A

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