While their peers relaxed during the final weekend of the October school holidays, a group of the State’s most promising ocean competitors traded books for swimsuits at an intensive camp designed to improve their skills while giving them an early insight into the reality of life for an elite surf sport athlete.
Forty-three teenage athletes aged between 12 and 14 from across NSW gathered at Sydney’s Academy of Sport on the Northern Beaches for a this year’s development program for young talents who have demonstrated an aptitude for any of the water disciplines contested at a surf sport event.
It is the first time many of these youngsters have been exposed to a high performance environment though many of them have already enjoyed success at the NSW Country and State Championships in their fledging careers.
Throughout the three-day program that was held at the Sydney Academy of Sport on Sydney’s Northern Beaches the athletes participated in training sessions under the eagle eye of some of the best surf sports coaches going around including Jim Walker mentor of the NSW senior team, attended discussions on nutrition, had their skills and techniques analysed and were introduced to high performance and recovery techniques.
Additionally some of the lectures were delivered by guest speakers with their own background in competitive sport providing an intriguing backdrop. Mark Webster from Winning Edge spoke about the importance of sport psychology on performance, while London Olympian kayaker Jo Brigden- Jones delivered a lesson on goal setting.
Georgia Gaddes, from South West Rocks enjoyed the topics that were discussed throughout the program, and it helped her set goals for the new season.
“I learned the importance of goal setting, how to improve nutrition and have a good psychical and mental mindset. For me the camp was all about learning while also having the chance to make new friends,” she said.
“My goals for the future are to continue to get better at State Carnivals and to that I will need to get stronger and fitter.”
Cape Hawke’s Xavier Robertson-Reynolds was one of four participants from across the Lower North Coast and said a highlight for him was getting in the water.
“I had a lot of fun out there on the water it was a really good day and I got to work on my paddling,” he said.
Surf Life Saving NSW development officer Tim Piper said introducing these youngsters to a high performance environment will accelerate their development as they look to make their mark on surf sport.
“It’s been a really positive experience to introduce these young athletes to this type of environment and to see them make friends with their age group rivals.”
“I’m looking forward to seeing this group’s results both this summer and beyond. The athletes certainly got a lot out of this program,” Mr Piper concluded.
2017 Junior Development Academy Participants
Mid North Coast
• Georgia Gaddes - (South West Rocks SLSC)
• Aneeka Reilly - (South West Rocks SLSC)
Lower North Coast
• Xavier Robertson-Reynolds - (Cape Hawke SLSC)
• Harrison Ward - (Cape Hawke SLSC)
• Abby Mulligan - (Cape Hawke SLSC)
• Braydan Lee - (Forster SLSC)