As many of us take to the beach this summer, we now have another local hero to emulate, as 18 year old Jake King from Derry has been crowned Surf Kayak World Champion.
Travelling to Queensland, Australia for the World Championships Derry native Jake was competing for the first time as a Senior. Living in Derry, Jake travelled to Australia with the Northern Ireland Surf Kayak Squad and took to the waters of Maroochydore beach.
For two weeks Jake had challenged and beat the best surf kayakers in the world including the reigning masters world champion Darren Bason and the reigning junior short boat champion Julen Arrizibala. In the final he then beat, the previous world champion, Edu Etxeberria from the Basque country.
Jake sent this message home before leaving Australia, “To finally win my first world title feels amazing and words cannot describe how I am feeling at this moment. There are a lot of people I would like to thank for my success. First of I would like to thank my family, especially my mum and dad; also I would like to thank my Coaches, Canoe Assocation of NI and my friends. I would like to thank my sponsors, Random Surfkayaks, Gath helmets, Snapdragon spraydecks and Sport Northern Ireland without whose backing I could not compete and this level.
“Finally i would like to thank my big brother and training partner Corin King, without him and his support I would not have got this far.”
Chair of Sport Northern Ireland, Brian Henning, congratulated Jake King: “Jake is a fantastic role model for young people. He has been surfing since he was 10 and it is a superb achievement for a young athlete.
“We know our beaches and waterways are ideal for outdoor sports and for people to try surfing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding or rowing. Our local athletes are an inspiration, including the Chambers brothers, Jake and his older brother Corin, who is also a previous Surf Kayak World Champion. There are numerous ways to enjoy outdoor sports and I would encourage everyone to take the first step. It is very important to be safe around water and also important to have qualified instructor training in all water sports. There are ideal introduction courses to be found at the Tollymore National Outdoor Centre, where mountain biking and many other outdoor sports can also be enjoyed.”