Having transitioned from Surf Life Saving to Sprint Kayaking in her mid teens, Gold Coast junior Alyssa Bailey is excited to race at her very first ICF Canoe Ocean Racing World Championships in Perth next weekend.
While new to ocean racing at the international level, the Currumbin Creek local is no stranger to the world championship environment, having competed at the ICF Junior and U23 Canoe Sprint World Championships in Italy earlier this year.
“I’m super excited for the Ocean Racing World Championships in Perth, especially considering it will be the first world championships experience I’ve ever had on home soil,” said 18 year old Bailey.
“With the WA Race Week and Ocean Racing World Championships taking place within three weeks of each other, I think there will be a lot of really competitive racing and I can’t wait to get out there in front of a home crowd.
“Perth is such a great place to race, and I’m so looking forward to good competition, good banter, meeting paddlers from around the world and just having fun. This will be my last World Championships racing as a junior, so I’m excited to make the most of it,” Bailey said.
Focusing on calm water racing in her every day training, the up and coming paddler is well equipped to deal with the waves, having spent her early years navigating them as a Surf Life Saving athlete.
Despite her innate awareness of the conditions and how to manage them, Bailey has also adjusted her training regime to ensure she is as prepared as possible for the World Championships.
“I’ve been training specifically for the waves and distance to give myself the best chance of getting to the front of the pack,” said Bailey.
“Usually I’m a Sprint Kayaker and our races are two minutes long, however, at the Ocean Racing World Championships the races will be about an hour and a half to two hours long depending on the wind, so I’m really looking forward to the challenge,” she said.
“I’m super fortunate to be part of an ocean ski group led by Jeremy Cotter on the Gold Coast so I’ve been preparing for the World Championships there as well as at my local Surf Life Saving Club on the surf ski. I’m with BMD Northcliffe Surf Club under the guidance of Olympic kayaker Naomi Flood who’s done heaps of ocean ski, so she’s also been supporting me and helping me to prepare ahead of these World Championships which has been amazing.
Competing in both the singles and doubles events, Bailey is hungry for a medal in what will be her final year of junior competition, having missed the podium by 0.1 of a second at the Junior Sprint World Championships in July.
“I was fortunate enough to travel to Auronzo in Italy for the Junior Sprint World Championships earlier this year. The whole team had really good results and we came away with fourth in the K4-500, unfortunately just missing out on a medal, so hopefully this time around at the Ocean Racing World Champs we can break into the top three,” she said.
“The singles race is 21km long and the double is 15.5km long. I’m racing K2 with another junior Australian athlete, Ziko Vesely from Sydney, so I’m really excited to see what we can achieve together.
“I’m really looking forward to the whole event because I just love paddling and being out on the water. I’m grateful I get the chance to travel across the country, so a medal would just be a bonus,” Bailey finished.