I have to say it was a pretty cool feeling seeing my H2RO Magazine interview with back to back Flyboard World Champion Suksan Tongthai published in Asia Magazine and being distributed throughout Iran. The opportunity was driven by Payam Arabzadeh who is Head of the Iran Flyboarding Committee. Payam translated the article and worked with the media to bring the interview to print.
This experience got Payam and I talking and I am pleased I had the chance to turn my interview questions on him this time and introduce him and his work to you now.
H2RO MAGAZINE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
Dear Blaine, thank you so much in advance for giving me sufficient time to introduce myself, my country and the stage of water jet packs in our region.
I got involved in Flyboarding in the winter 2012 when I was invited to a villa which belonged to one of my brother’s friend in the North of Iran. It was during a holiday and I used to get a contract with beach resort hotels to set up tandem entertainment like paramotoring flights for tourists. One day I came back from working as a pilot to the villa and I started uploading some photos and videos of my passengers onto various social networks to attract people to com out for some fun the next day. Suddenly, I saw an advertisement which was an awesome video clip. It was simply Zapata Racing’s first official clip. I played it again and again, my heart flew into the air and over the clouds. How could you swim like a dolphin and fly like a bird? My exhaustion from the day disappeared and I searched many websites until I found the main website and contact information. I emailed ZR and they led me to their distributor in Europe. This is the story of my first steps into the Flyboard Family.
H2RO) What is the current state of Flyboarding in your country? How is it growing and what are your expectations for our sports future in Iran?
I started some correspondence with Iran Marine Sports Federation in June 2013 and after lots of discussion and great effort on part I finally got their agreement in August of 2013 to found a new committee under the title of Iran Flyboarding. I introduced this new exciting extreme marine sport officially at the Iran Jet Ski Competition by performing a Flyboard show in front of the Governors. Time was passing so fast and I got involved in Water Jet Packs day after day. My participation in the 2014 Flyboard World Cup in Dubai was a milestone for our committee. We introduced our country as a fan of water jet packs alongside other active countries. I’ve added a Flyboard competition to our Marine Sports Federation schedule for 2015 and I hope we will attract a lot of Flyboard fans… more than ever before.
H2RO) Who is involved in Iran Flyboarding and what specifically are you working on for 2015?
The officials of the Iran Marine Sports Federation chose me as the Head of our Iran Flyboarding Committee on August 20th, 2013 and I was tasked to bring key people on as members of this committee. The main goal is fostering talented athletes by preparing and leading them into the 2015 Flyboard World Cup. We need to identify and bring on the best athletes who have a background in water sports such as Jet skiing, wakeboarding, water skiing or similar skills. These people could be trained to work as future water jetpack instructors in Iran.
H2RO) Talk to me about the athletes in Iran. Are there some riders approaching a professional level yet? Are there any Pro Flyboarders that you are a fan of?
I’m struggling very hard these days to train my students and get them ready to participate in the 2015 Flyboard World Cupwhich will take place in Dubai again. I promise you all that the Iran Flyboard Team will shine so brilliant this year and weintend to have 6 athletes in 3 categories. (Pro Riders, Veterans and Women).
H2RO) Has the Hoverboard made an appearance in Iran? If yes, what do you think about this new experience?
Unfortunately, we got the first Hoverboard in Iran on October 26th, 2014 because of customs clearance issues, sanctions and the delay of air cargo. We are so amateur on Hoverboard and we need much more practice to upgrade our skills. I will do my best to solve it.
H2RO) Now you were able to share our H2RO interview with Flyboard World Champion Suksan Tongthai in Asia Magazine and are looking to help cover the North American Flyboard Championship in Shreveport Louisiana this June. Talk to us about your journalistic goals and how that might compliment your work as Head of the Iran Flyboarding Committee?
It’s my task as a sports journalist to cover these events and competitions. I put some articles about Flyboard & Hoverboard in Iranian magazines and newspapers to illustrate other countries activities and to persuade Iranian athletes to improve their skills and introduce such an unknown shining diamond to my people.
Now I have two wings to spread and fly on the water, one is my stage as Head of Iran Flyboard Committee, another is my journalism which could take me closer than ever before to my goals for success.
H2RO) Finally, share with us your dreams for Flyboarding and vertical water sports in general over the next few years. How would you like to see our sports evolve globally?
In conclusion, with all do respect to this great Flyboard Family, we need more events and festivals to gather and share our goals and points of insight. That way we could stop fake manufacturers and warn people of the hazards that come with these water jet pack copies hopefully saving lives. We must admit that while we are climbing mountains higher and higher in an attempt to catch our dreams, we face deeper and deeper valleys. We must concentrate solely on goals. When we distract from our goals this is when we see obstacles and problems. I will continue to appreciate Mr. Alipour head of Iran Federation, Mr. Salianchi head of Iran Marine Sports Association and his great son Daniel Salianchi for all their efforts to found the Iran Flyboarding Committee.
Payam, thank you so much for sharing your Flyboarding journey with us and for your tremendous work to grow our sports in your country. Your influence both within the media and as Head of the Iran Flyboarding Committee is hugely beneficial to the growth and future success of Flyboarding and Hoverboarding in Iran and around the world.