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PHOTOS: 7minutes with...World Flowboard Champion Clayton Barker.

At the recently opened Yas Waterworld, resident flowboard world champion Clayton Barker is teaching riders how to boost their skills on the static wave and get some serious air.

Running the Yas Flow league, he is on the lookout for someone who can challenge for his title when the world championships come to Yas Island in September. Sound swell? Hear more from the laid-back wave master himself:

How did you get into such a niche sport?

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Wave House Durban opened up literally a 15-minute walk from my house. I had been surfing for about 16 years and I heard about this artificial wave, that broke perfectly and was not affected by the wind conditions or anything. Me and a friend tried it out and obviously we got hooked. I'm now a professional flow boarder, I am sort of an amateur take-my-time surfer.

It's an unusual career. How did your mum and dad react when you told them what you were doing?

Yeah, it wasn't really planned, it just happened that I had a knack for it. I have been doing so many different board sports throughout my life that it is kind of like a mishmash of all the sports that I have done.

Do you remember your first flowride?

Yes, and it was terrible! It honestly took me about two months to learn how to stand properly. I was used to surfing and when you ride a surfboard it is really heavy on your front foot whereas flowboarding is really heavy on your back leg. Once that has sort of clicked, surfers, skateboarders and snowboarders will pick it up a lot quicker, because they will find similarities to their sport and add those to their riding.

What got you to stay at Yas Waterworld?

It wasn't necessarily what they could offer me but it was the opportunity that I had to come out here and do what I wanted to do. They basically emailed me and said we have this position opening up and I am here as assistant operations manager, that is my title. I focus on the whole park but obviously my portfolio focuses on flowboarding and developing that. I am not all about money and status, because our sport is small, as much as I can do to help publicise it, I will.

It sounds a bit like a desk job - surely that's not for an adrenaline junkie like you?

It is no desk job! Hey, I'm outside from 8am in the morning to 8pm dealing with guests and colleagues, just making sure that the park operates well.

But you get to ride the flow tube after hours right?

Not really. Unfortunately I injured myself recently, about four weeks ago. I tore some ligaments in my ankle while riding so I am probably out for another four weeks, waiting for it to heal up. My riding time is not where it needs to be especially considering we have world championships coming in September.

What is the flowriding equivalent of a double backflip on a BMX - that near impossible trick? Strapped [onto the board] or strapless?

Strapped, the hardest move is a double cork (two flips with a spin rotation). There are a lot of guys trying it and only two or three guys internationally that have actually landed it. Then strapless, the strapless front flip or a strapless rodeo flip. It is basically a backflip with a 360. There is only a handful of guys that can do the frontflip and only really two guys that can do the strapless rodeo flip.

What is Yas Flow league? Can anyone take part?

If you have never bodyboarded before then we would recommend learning how to bodyboard just because you're learning curve is a lot sharper if you understand the basics of how the wave works. We will be coaching people up from basic standing to landing tricks to progressing into becoming a seasoned rider.

I would love for an Arabic rider to be part of the team and actually stick it to the rest of the teams in the world championships being held at Yas Waterworld in September.

The Yas Flow League training is on Wednesdays from 6.30pm and Saturdays from 8am. If you want to get on board, visit www.yaswaterworld.com

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Publication:7 Days (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Date:Mar 28, 2013
Words:731
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