Fynn Goat, one of Australia’s best young kite surfers, is getting on board the wing foil – ABC News

Fynn Goat, 12, is a precocious kitesurfer and wing foiler living in Darwin, where at this time of year, not fussed by crocs and jellyfish swimming in the warm waters, he can get some nice waves during the tropical monsoon season.

“We can go pretty fast on the kite,” he says.

“The highest I’ve ever jumped is 9.5, but I say its 10 metres. Regularly I jump about 7 metres.”

Out on his board he does tricks called “back rolls” and “kite loops” and he’s also learning how to do “upwind tacks”.

“And I’m trying and get a little bit faster on the actual foil, but it’s 100 per cent just a big learning curve that I’m eventually going to get,” he says.

“It will take a long time but it will be worth it.”

Fynn Goat stands with his kite surfing gear and smiles while looking at the camera.

Fynn says he’s excited by the considerable opposurnties in relatively new discipline of wing foiling. (ABC News: Pete Garnish)

Foiling is a kind of hybrid of kitesurfing, windsurfing and surfing.

It’s a sport growing in popularity, involving a board, a hydrofoil that propels the board out of the water when it is going at speed, and a wing, which looks like a sail, that the wing foiler holds to generate pace.

By late last year, Australian Sailing, the country’s sailing administrator, had declared a talent search for the best young Aussie wing foilers.

The wing foil, wrote Australian Sailing in November, is “fast becoming one of the most sought-after water sports across the globe and has started to make inroads on the racing scene”.

With talk the sport could be introduced for the 2028 LA Olympics, Australian Sailing set up the “NextGen” foil program, for which young Fynn’s talents were scouted.

“Olympics 100 per cent is a dream,” says Fynn, who has been travelling down to Brisbane every four to six weeks this year to be part of the new wing foil academy.

“Getting there would be a big effort. I’m going to have to do a lot of comps … It’s going to be an awesome atmosphere with all the new upcoming juniors.”

The beach at Lee Point, adjacent to the Casuarina Coastal Reserve. 

The ocean is considered off-limits for many during the tropical wet season.(ABC News: Andie Smith)

All the travel can be “a bit exhausting”, Fynn says, but he’s loving the exposure to new coaching and getting to hang out with other young foilers he’s meeting in the program.

“It’s 100 per cent worth it all the time. You go there not knowing one thing and then when you come back you know five more things,” he says.

While balancing school with his travel, Fynn is still doing plenty of kitesurfing (he’s one of the best air and freestyle kite surfers for his age in the country) while exploring his skills on the wing foil.

“I haven’t specifically changed from kiting to winging, it’s just a new category that’s coming on and there’s a big future in it,” he says.

“It would be an awesome dream representing Australia,” he says, while also acknowledging his Northern Territory roots.

“Even just representing the NT, because people don’t think we have many opportunities here, but we 100 per cent do and there’s people that go into events thinking that they are going to get smashed but they actually prove a point.”

Two men kitesurf near Rapid Creek in Darwin

Kite surfers hit the swell during monsoonal weather in Darwin.(Supplied: Charlie Bliss)

Fynn also wants to dispel the notion that it’s too dangerous to get in the water around Darwin during the tropical wet season, where onlookers are often unnerved to see people swimming due to the threats of saltwater crocodiles and box jellyfish, the latter being often cited as the most venomous animal in the world.

“I’m not really that scared of crocs and jellyfish in the water, because I know that it’s monitored regularly with the rangers going out and seeing if there’s any crocs, but it’s definitely a risk that you have to take but you always just protect yourself,” he says.

“We always talk to each other if we ever see one of anything.

“We protect ourselves and for the jellyfish we put a stinger suit on – that’s basically a full-body rashy, but it’s mainly just important to protect all the organs in the chest.”

Alanna Field, Fynn’s coach, sees the potential both in Fynn and the sport.

“Wing foiling is huge overseas, and especially in Europe. Australia is jumping on board at the momentum, and that’s why this next gen program started,” she says.

“They’re thinking that it will be a future Olympic sport, so we’re just preparing now to start finding emerging athletes than can be on the pathway to join the Olympic team in the future.

Fynn Goat and his coach Alanna Field stand in front of the beach.

Fynn and his coach Alanna Field, who initially taught Fynn in a learn-to-sail program in Darwin. (ABC News: Pete Garnish)

Field says Fynn was selected for specialised coaching because of his kite surfing ability and competition results, as well as flashing traits that suggested he’d adapt quickly to the wing foil.

“He’s got heaps of passion, lots of dedication and is really working hard at it now at such a young age,” she says.

For now, flying high and fast across the sea in the Beagle Gulf, in waters most people in town want nothing to do with, it’s not feeling like hard work for Fynn.

“The best thing about kite surfing and wing foiling is there’s so much freedom and opportunity you can have,” he says.

“I just love the freedom of it.”

Posted , updated 

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