Rashid Almansoori is a well-known among the kitesurfing community in Qatar, having founded the kitesurfing centre Salty Kites. Q Life interviewed him to learn more about his journey to becoming a professional sportsperson and business owner.
Tell us about your background.
I’m a 27-year-old graduate of Aspire Academy and Qatar University Business College, and former Chairman of the Athletes & Youth Committee in the International School Sport Federation.
I was a member of Qatar’s national kitesurfing team for one year, before the programme was unfortunately cut. I’m also an internationally recognised International Kiteboarding Organisation Level One instructor, and the founder and owner of Salty Kites.
How did you discover your passion for kitesurfing?
I was introduced to kitesurfing in 2016. A colleague of mine, Khalifa Al Misnad, invited me to come and practice with the National Team after I placed second in the Samla race that year.
After my lifelong dream of a football career ended abruptly, I was looking for a new adventure and immediately fell in love with kitesurfing. I have not looked back since.
What makes kitesurfing in Qatar so special?
We have such a wide variety of locations that offer a mixture of conditions for your level or preferences.
My favourite spot for teaching and flatwater riding is Zekreet Lagoon on the West coast. It’s a sheltered bay with shallow water and steady north winds, and it’s perfect for teaching and beginners. For more advanced riders, Fuwairit and Ruwais have excellent conditions, with many waves hiding up north.
We also ride in the mangrove forests when there are suitable tides. With so many beaches and regular winds, there are endless options.
Tell us more about the kitesurfing community in Qatar.
Qatar has had a wonderful kiting community since long before I joined, and it only continues to grow. What makes the community in Qatar unique is that it’s very close, like a big family. We look out for one another and cheer each other on after every trick we land.
We also have a very diverse community, and even non-kiters join to take pictures of us playing or hang out on the beach and be part of the atmosphere. Many expatriate kiters get their start here in Qatar and continue to foster this passion when they move elsewhere.
As more Qataris have joined kiting, there is a growing permanent community too. Salty Kites is proud to be adding to this community with every student that we teach.
What type of classes do you host at Salty Kites?
We teach everything from beginner lessons to progression skills, including classes in foil boarding and jumping techniques. We use the latest kites and gear from the best brands, and offer lessons in English or Arabic.
What are some of your favourite kitesurfing memories?
Some of my favourite memories are from when I represented Qatar at international tournaments with the national kitesurfing team. We competed in Poland, China, and the UAE, and it was an incredible introduction to the world of competitive kiteboarding.
Another is teaching the son of my former Aspire Academy football coach to kitesurf. Being able to give back to those who have invested so much in me is a beautiful feeling.
What are your goals for the future?
I want to grow Salty Kites into a well-known kitesurfing brand within Qatar and internationally. I also want to build up a kitesurfing team that can participate in international events on behalf of Qatar. Kitesurfing is in the Olympics now, and it would be amazing to see a Qatari kiter competing someday.