Busselton’s outrigger canoe star Beau Haynes will travel to Tahiti this month to compete in the Va’a World Sprint Championships.
It will be the first time the dedicated paddler has performed at an international level.
The 16-year-old said he was excited to compete in the South Pacific.
“I’m a bit nervous but it feels really amazing to be heading to the world titles,” he said.
The Year 11 St Mary MacKillop College student paddles for Busselton club, Geographe Outriggers.
He was crowned the state champion for singles and represented the club at the national championships and the Trans Tasman championships.
After his strong performance at the national sprint titles in Queensland, Beau was invited to train for the Australian under 19 team.
He was selected by the Gold Coast coach to join their V6 and V12 teams for the Tahiti titles.
He will compete in two six man events – the 1000 metre turns race and the 500 metre straight sprint, as well as the 12 man 500 metre straight sprint.
Due to members of the team being from different states, much of the preparation is done as individual athletes.
Beau recently returned from a training camp in Queensland where the group worked on team chemistry and strategy. He said being able to adapt was important when competing.
“Training on your own can be difficult and it is hard as we don’t have the same boats in WA and the conditions are very different,” he said.
“In Tahiti, we compete in a lagoon which is flat and can be a bit windy. In Geographe Bay, it is wavy and often windy. It is a big struggle, so I go to the marina when I can to train because it is flat and there is not much wind so I can practise my turns.
“When I train in the Gold Coast we work on a river, so there are a lot of different conditions that you need to get used to so that you can compete anywhere.”
As outrigging isn’t an Olympic sport, Beau said he would continue to push for World Sprint Title selection in the future.
“I would definitely like to go to another world title or even the marathon sprint titles,” he said.
“The long distance paddles are a lot different and that is something I would like to try.
“I’d love to be able to continue to make it at a Gold Coast club.”
The the Va’a World Sprint Championships will run from July 16 to 26.