Omani skydiver Ibrahim al Ghafri has undertaken 1400 skydives to promote adventure tourism
It ’s always interesting talking to people with a long skydiving history, like Ibrahim Saif Khamis al Ghafri, an adventure skydiver with a fantastic journey in his skydiving career.
To cultivate an interest for sports of all kinds among the youth and promote adventure tourism, Ibrahim al Ghafri has performed 1400 skydives so far.
A paraglider, member of Dhahirah Hobby Team of the Ibri Club, and member of the Muscat Skydiving Team, Ibrahim explained that Skydiving is a method of transiting from a high point in the atmosphere to the ground or ocean surface with the aid of gravity, though involving the control of speed during descent using a parachute.
“I have loved paragliding since childhood. Paragliding is a recreational sport activity based on the use of a machine called ‘glider’ to fly in the open air for varying distances. From the moment I started skydiving, it was always my goal to promote adventure tourism, spread sports among the youth, and create my own project.”
Ibrahim did his first static line jump in 2012. He also participated in many Asian and European competitions and is now keen to continue skydiving for many years to come, besides participating in ‘exotic events’.
“It is just about being part of the ‘sky family’ and skydiving with good friends. I have done approximately 1400 jumps to date and I am loving it. The most memorable ones are the times I shared the sky with my friends. It’s an amazing way to bond with your mates, doing something that we’re all so passionate about and connecting in the sky,” he said.
In 2018, Ibrahim had joined the Al Dhahirah amateur team and started paragliding, in addition to skydiving from airplanes. In 2019, he created his own project called ‘Fly Oman’ to popularise various sports, such as paragliding and skydiving, and provide courses for those who love adventure, after obtaining international licenses in paragliding and skydiving.
In September 2021, he succeeded in jumping from a height of 4,000 feet in the wilayat of Barka – it was the most dangerous jump of his career.
About hurdles in his path, Ibrahim said, “Unfortunately, there is no skydiving club in Oman to spread this sport. We also face difficulty in obtaining licenses for paragliding and skydiving. The safety measures are now much more improved, and there are courses for all categories. I am particularly impressed by all the skills under canopy and am delighted that these fantastic canopy courses are now on offer.”
A fitness buff and runner, Ibrahim is also interested in hiking, horse riding, and kayaking as hobbies. He tells youngsters that if they are keen on any sport, they need to be committed to face the challenges – especially a sport like paragliding is a costly sport, besides being time consuming. One has to be ready to take in the rough and the smooth in one’s stride, he cautions.
For example, jumping in winter time can be a chilling experience. Also one needs the backing of one’s family, besides being fit and strong. Besides the challenges associated with paragliding, it is also a very fulfilling sport.
“You get out of it what you put into it,” he quips.
Ibrahim is now looking forward to applying all his skills of being in a wind tunnel to the actual task of flying in the sky, besides jumping with friends worldwide again.
“I simply enjoy each and every jump. Perhaps, my journey may be an inspiration for others. So, I hope to support Omani youth in starting to live their dreams through skydiving trips, and I want to create a skydiving club for that,” he asserts.