HONING SKILLS: Noosa product Matt Roney won at the 2013 Kitestock Festival in Western Australia.
WHEN Noosa product Matt Roney won the 2013 Kitestock Festival in Western Australia last month, he didn’t thank his sponsors.
Because he doesn’t have any.
Roney blitzed the field in the kite surfing event held at the coastal town of Dongara, about four hours north of Perth, blowing away sponsored kite surfers from across Australia in his debut competition.
Putting in a solid performance that had strangers praising his efforts on Facebook and Twitter, Roney said it was surreal to beat some of his more experienced counterparts.
“I went over there with no expectations at all, really, and just wanted to test myself against the other guys,” he said.
“To go up against these well-known guys, guys that are sponsored, and beat them is really satisfying.”
Roney, 22, a former Good Shepherd student, joined the navy three years ago as an avionics technician and is based in Jervis Bay, New South Wales.
Full of confidence from his recent win, Roney said he was keen to continue to test his skills against the best in the sport.
“I’m feeling really good about everything at the moment and I will be competing in some upcoming comps,” he said.
“I’m lucky that in my job I can take time off whenever I want, so I’ll be travelling a bit this year for competitions.”
Returning to Noosa as often as he can, Roney hones his kite surfing skills along the Sunshine Beach and Coolum stretches. Well-regarded among the Sunshine Coast kite surfing community, Roney’s father Scott said his son’s most valuable trait was his humbleness.
“I actually called him a few days after the competition in Western Australia to see how he went, because he hadn’t phoned us,” he said.
“When I asked him how he went, he casually replied, ‘Yeah, I won, Dad’, which shows just how modest he is.
“He’s still very young and I think he’s got a great future in the sport and we’re very proud of him.”
At one with the wind
Kite surfing took off in Australia more than a decade ago
The Sunshine Coast is credited as one of the first kite surfing communities in Australia
Kiteboarding, similar to kite surfing, will be included at the Rio Olympics in 2016
Kite surfing is extremely difficult considering the surfer’s feet is not strapped to the board