Our windsurfing whiz
HAMISH Swain is a young man in a hurry.
Living proof of that is the recent success for the Cannonvale windsurfer at the Sailing Nationals in Tasmania.
Swain, 16, proved much too slick for his rivals to land top honours and with it an Australian berth for July's Youth World Championships in Poland.
"It is my first national title and while it was a big thrill, it was more of a relief than anything,” he said.
"The conditions were difficult, but I sailed the best I could.
"Only the top boy and girl make the Australian team, so I'm pretty happy to get that spot.”
The Whitsunday Sailing Club ace said he has always had a love for the water.
"Mum (Ali) used to take me out on yachts when I was four and when I turned six, I said to her I'd like to have a go myself,” he said.
"I started in the Learn To Sail program and I really liked it, so I had four to five months in the Sabots and then went straight to the Optis (normal dinghy).
"I sailed boats for a long time, but decided to take up windsurfing in December 2017.
"I trained every day before the nationals last year and came fifth, which wasn't bad after a month of training every day, then did all the regattas in the lead-up to this year's nationals.”
Swain normally sails a BIC Techno 293 Plus, a recognised board used widely, but not at the Youth World Championships, where the RSX is adopted.
"The RSX is the board they use at the Olympics and they cost about $15,000,” he said.
"It is a different shape to the BIC Techno 293 and I'm waiting to get one.
"Because I'll only have a short time to train on it before going to Poland, my expectations will be realistic.
"I want to use it as a great learning experience, benefit from going overseas for the first time and then know what one percenters I'll need to work on.
"That way I can really target the Youth Worlds in 2020 because by then I'll have had a year-and-a-half of hard training under my belt.
"I train six days a week, at least two hours a day, not just on the water, but in the gym, because fitness is a huge factor.
"Windsurfers are the fittest competitors at the Olympics.”
Swain, who is set to study Year 12 at Proserpine State High School this year, also wanted to take the chance to thank some people who played a pivotal role in his rise to national champion.
"Dennis Winstanley is the man who has helped me get there. He helps me train every day. He's a great friend, mentor and coach,” he said.
"I'd also like to thank my mum Ali, my friends and family and my sponsor ISail Whitsunday.”
Swain jetted out on Tuesday for Lake Macquarie, where he will compete at this weekend's Original Windsurfers Nationals, an event that includes three sections - course, slalom and marathon, which will test not only speed, but endurance.
"It is a big regatta with more than 100 entries and it is my first using a LT, which is an original style windsurfer,” he said.
"I'm looking forward to it, especially the marathon, because we'll find out who the strongest windsurfers are.”