My Watersports Journey
I grew up near the water in Perth Western Australia. When I was 14 years old my parents gave me a windsurfer for Xmas. This was probably the most life change gift I have ever received. Throughout each school day I used to watch the wind turbines on the school roof to see how much the wind was blowing. If it looked good, I would race home on my bike and hitch up my homemade windsurfer trolly (which was always ready to go) to then head down to the Swan River for a session. It took about 30 minutes to get there on my bike. In those days masts came only as one long piece so it was quite a sight to see me peddling along. If I took a corner too quickly it would invariably end up on its side. I must have been very fit back then.
It was a glorious day to finally get my driver’s license – I never road my bike and trolly again. I chose a 1976 Kombi as my first car. It was not only pretty cool but it had plenty of room for my windsurfing gear. It was, however, not always the most reliable transport but I have many fond memories of windsurfing trips in the Kombi.
My passion for windsurfing continued well into my 30’s when I ended up swapping wind power for petrol power and purchased my first of many wakeboarding boats. I had kids by then and just loved getting out with my family for all-day wakeboarding sessions. Over the years I was fortunate to continue to trade up to better and better boats until I finally purchased a Mastercraft X30 brand new. This 23 foot monster was an absolute beast with a pumping sound system, lounge seating and a huge wake. Good times!
After some 15 fun years of wakeboarding, I decided that the cost of running the wakeboarding boat was no longer sustainable so I reluctantly sold it. I then started my next watersports journey. I purchased a surf ski and took up paddling. It was a great sport for fitness and catching wakes from the huge boats in the river or doing downwind runs out in the ocean was a blast.
While paddling was fun I missed the speed of sports like wakeboarding and windsurfing so after a while, I thought I would give kitesurfing a go. I had a couple of lessons but to be honest it was a struggle. My muscle memory from windsurfing was such that every time I got up on the board I pulled the bar in and went straight up in the air. It never ended well!
Not long after that, I saw people out wing foiling. This looked great. Similar to windsurfing but less gear and far more compact. I sold my ski and purchased wing foiling gear the following week, and I have been wing foiling ever since. It’s a challenging but satisfying sport with something new to learn every day. It’s also a very social sport and I love hanging out down at the water having a chat with fellow watersports enthusiasts. If I don’t answer my phone or get back to you immediately on email, that’s where you will find me. : )
Photo credit: Andrew Ritchie