Eighteen year old Anton Pain is passionate about windsurfing, and he has some impressive competition results already under his belt. Anton will travel to Flat Rock, near Ballina, in November, to take on a national field of competitors. Anton is keen to encourage others to take up the sport … But he has a word of warning, saying windsurfing is addictive!
Hi Anton. Introduce yourself please … What’s your family background, and where do you go to school?
We moved to the Great Lakes area three years ago, after travelling in Australia and being home schooled. I started Year 9 in Forster, and I am finishing Year 12 in Tuncurry.
My family came to Australia 14 years ago from the UK. My older brother is a fireman and my older sister is a shipwright in Sydney. My mum is an artist and dad a designer of sails; he is a passionate hang-gliding and glider pilot. We live in Coomba Park.
How and when did you become interested in windsurfing?
In May 2011, I had my first real go at windsurfing in Poland (my mum’s country) in Hel – a seaside resort on the Baltic – a really popular windsurfing destination for the Pols.
Windsurfing simply looked like a fun thing to do. I soon realised that it was also very challenging.
What do you most like about the sport? Why would you encourage others to give it a go?
It is dynamic. It is it like surfing, sailing and jet-skiing all in one. I believe that this is one of the hardest sports to achieve real competence in. It requires courage, skill, physical ability, desire and dedication – more so when you get on the ocean waves. Wallis Lake, however, is a great place to start and go for speed sailing.
Where do you regularly train, and what club/s (if any) are you associated with?
I am associated with the Mid North Coast Marauders. This is a GPS speed sailing club, where after sailing with a GPS logger, you upload your data and compete online worldwide. There are thousands of competitors. I managed a top speed of 40 knots – close to 75 kph, which placed me first in the Junior section this year and second ever speed achieved by a junior windsurfer in the GPS challenge. The No. 1 ever is also an Australian, Isaac Perkins from Tasmania.
You had a trip to WA last summer, where you took out first place in both the Lancelin Junior Windsurfing Marathon and the Wave Competition. Describe these two events – how did they differ from each other in format, and how challenging were they?
My parents took me to Western Australia for the summer, so I could train and enter two competitions in Lancelin. We trained at Coronation Beach, and this was my first real experience wave sailing. It was awesome! I was lucky enough to get some coaching from UK top sailor Ben Proffitt. He showed me how to do loops, and one of my photos shows Ben and his partner critiquing some recorded loops. It was so good to get his tips.
My first Lancelin Marathon of 26 km in the open ocean was challenging. About 260 competitors lined up, and we set off. The pros had poll positions, and people like me were in a melee of competitors, trying to start as soon as there was a bit of space. The wind on the day was light, and my equipment was not ideal for the conditions, but I gave it my best and ended up first junior.
The wave competition was epic – lots of competitors, and good conditions for it. I saw many world top windsurfers in that competition, and it was so cool and inspiring to see them in action.
You also placed second in the NSW Wavesailing Titles. How do you feel you performed overall in this event?
On the way back home I took part in the NSW Wave titles in Gerroa. I got the second place, which I was happy with. It was a great new and challenging experience – very light winds.
I find each competition presents something new to learn. Windsurfing requires different boards and sails for different conditions and wind strengths. Some people carry a full set of various sizes boards, while others just have to do with the equipment they have. Some pros will have an amazing set of gear for all conditions, but most of us do not.
November will be a big month for you, as you’ll be off to compete in the Nationals. When and where will this take place exactly, and how much preparation have you been doing leading up to the event?
The Nationals are in Flat Rock near Ballina on the 7 – 14 November. I will go there straight after my HSC exams. Last winter was not good for training, as there was little wind. My family and I will go to Flat Rock a few days earlier, so I can practice. I’m really looking forward to it! I know there will be lots of great windsurfers. This time I am better prepared and just had my 18th birthday, and my parents bought me a board for the coming competition. It should be epic.
Looking further ahead, what are your ambitions?
I have been offered an opportunity to go to Maui and get involved in the windsurfing scene over there. However, I have to fund it all or find a sponsor (partial sponsor). I have lined up work in Sydney for few months to save for the trip, so hopefully in March next year I will be in Maui.
Windsurfing is weather dependent – and expensive if you want to perform at the top. Time is needed to take any opportunity of good wind and money, if I am to go to the top. It is challenging, but such an awesome sport.
At the moment I have no other ambitions – just to have fun with windsurfing, do some motorbiking, and I need to learn a trade.
I would like to acknowledge and thank my parents for supporting me. We all started to windsurf at the same time, and it’s great to see your parents learning such a difficult sport.
There are other Marauders on the Wallis Lake: Rob, Chris and Gabe, Peter, Matt, Aza and Andre. Thanks for all the tips and support. Lastly, I would like to encourage young people to try the sport. It is second to none, and we have an amazing lake to practice on. A word of warning: the sport is addictive! For any questions about windsurfing in the area or any offer of help, please contact me at: email@example.com
Thanks Anton. Pic on the right features Anton with Ben Proffitt – one of the UK’s top windsurfers.