Heading to Qatar last November for the 2013 Flyboard World Cup, I really didn’t know what to expect or what kind of friendships might be forged but the experience was nothing short of life changing. The entire Flyboard Family were cool, caring and supportive. I had the pleasure of sharing a front row seat for the competition with Simon and Joanne Desira of Flyboard Malta and Usama Raba of Flyboard Libya. Usama and I talked about doing an interview and I have to apologize that it took so long for me to deliver.
Without any further delay allow me to introduce the man who brought Flyboarding to Libya, Usama A. Raba!
H2RO MAGAZINE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
H2RO: Usama, please tell us a little bit about yourself, your business background and how you got introduced to Flyboarding? What is it about the sport that made you want to get involved?
I’m a computer programmer and graduated in 2000. Since then I’ve enrolled in many businesses in different countries from Canada to China, Italy to Dubai. After joining the IT world I also become involved in E Sports (electronic games) which led to me becoming the Libyan electronic sports committee president after settling down in Libya. I love to support young kids to bring the best out of them. In April 2013 I came across a Flyboard video on YouTube through a friend who told me (YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS !!!! ) As soon as I did I felt I must try it out and bring it to Libya for the Libyans to enjoy the flying experience. Especially since Libya had had a revolution in 2011 and I felt bringing flyboarding to Libya would bring positive energy to a country recovering from a war. So in just 20 days I planned a trip to Morocco (Libya’s regional Flyboard distributor) to try out the Flyboard and to discuss becoming Libya’s distributor. I stayed for 3 days and tested out the Flyboard in the winter. I didn’t feel any cold coz I was so excited to try it out. I loved it from the first flying moment. After I came back to Libya with my first Flyboard purchase I faced some problems with some parts. After trying to reach some of the Flyboard members in other countries I discovered that there was a very passionate Flyboard business in Malta. I went online and got in touch with Simon Desira! It was a quick, strong bond that was created as he was very friendly and helpful and so I decided to travel to Malta since it’s only a 1 hour flight to meet up and discuss this new invention and how we can work together. I can’t thank Simon enough for his endless support and training as he helped me fly for the second time and shared some tips on flying. We keep in touch regularly and I’m always happy to share new Flyboard info with him. Being so geographically close is also a great advantage.
H2RO: What is the state of flyboarding in Libya? Do you have some specific goals you would like to help the sport achieve in your country?
In Libya the summer starts in late June and ends in October. After doing all the preparations needed we could only launch the Flyboard Libya project in late September. One of the different things I considered doing myself in Libya, in comparison to all other flyboarders all over the world, was deciding to go on a campaign to each of the coastal cities in Libya for a couple of days in each city and I felt that will provide an opportunity for more people to enjoy the flying experience and promote the sport to attract more fans .
H2RO: We met at the 2013 Flyboard World Cup in Qatar and I would really like know what your experience was like and what you thought of the event?
Honestly at this age and time in my life I don’t think I realizedr that you could discover you have other family members that your parents didn’t tell you about. Thats what I felt after going back home from this event. I felt warm treatment and pure honest care from people I had just met. For those couple of days I felt that these are truly brothers and sisters that got together for the first time. Regarding the event it was very successful and creative. The location was perfect and the venue was a smart choice.
H2RO: The Flyboard Family is a tight-knit group of people who not only share a mutual passion for our sport but are actually shaping its future. In your opinion where is the sport of Flyboarding going to be in another two years?
From the first months I had the vision and thought of creating a federation for this and just last week I read a topic talking about creating a Flyboard Federation. So i think Flyboard will get global recognition. It’s a new sport created in new times with a new idea and an amazing break through.
H2RO: Usama, talk to me about your first time on the Flyboard. Have you been working on any tricks or techniques that you want to share?
I’m still waiting for the summer to come in… yet I’m a creative person and like to do things differently then others, so yes I am working on the front flip and other new moves that will get the WOW effect from the crowd.
H2RO: There are a lot of Pro Flyboarders training for the upcoming competitions, like the North American Flyboard Championship and I’m curious if there is anyone’s flying style in particular that you like?
Honestly I like them all…
H2RO: Lastly… is there anything that Flyboard Libya has coming up that you would like to share?
As I mentioned in your first question, this year I’m going on tour to over 10 cities on the coasts of Libya. I’ve uploaded videos of the days we spent in cities last time we went toured and all of this is on our Facebook Page. This year Flyboard Libya is doing the same thing and taking along a professional photographer so it will be even more cool. I also am looking forward to sponsor your magazine as I think it is the best at what it does now and I really hope to come to a good agreement about this and hope to sponsor you guy’s because I love what you’re doing with H2RO Magazine. Thank you for this opportunity and keep up the good work!
Thank you Usama! Great talking with you and we are certainly excited about the possibility of your sponsorship support. All the best with your tour this summer, I think it’s a great way to turn people onto the sport and grow your Flyboard Community.
See you at the next competition!