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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Olympic hopefuls train in Whitsundays

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WINDFOILING is a ‘modern version of windsurfing’ and there is a team is currently training in Airlie Beach, with the hope of qualifying for the Olympics.

Windfoiling is a new, exciting emerging sport that is quickly gaining attention in Australia.

The Australian Squad team of three participants – Grae Morris, Caelin Winchcombe and Hamish Swain – have been training at the Whitsunday Sailing Club for several weeks, under the guidance of coach Arthur Brett.

“I have been coaching the squad team for the last two years. I have been a windsurfer and a sailor for a large part of my life,” Mr Brett said.

“My coaching duties had been focused on the more traditional Olympic sailing classes but I decided to change over to this exciting class after the Tokyo Olympics.

“What sets it (windfoiling) apart from windsurfing, is that the board has a hydrofoil attached to it, which allows the windsurfer to sail with their board above the water, while the foil remains submerged beneath.

“The board rides on horizontal, narrow but long, carbon fibre hydro foils, and generally rides about 50cms above the water.”

In the next Paris 2024 Olympics, windfoiling will be part of the sailing discipline, and the Australian Squad is taking the opportunity to train in the Whitsundays, where the conditions are best.

“The team has had various international successes in sailing classes and windsurfing but this is a new discipline that we have embarked on,” Mr Brett said.

“We have a heap of work to do and we are up to the task. We are training about six days a week while we are here.

“Our expectations are long-term, and the first step is to qualify the country for a place in the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

“The Tradewinds are reliable (here) during the winter months and our sport needs wind!

“The venue is magnificent, and we are extremely grateful to the Whitsunday Sailing Club for welcoming us into their facility.”

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