Six-time Australian FW Windsurfing Champion Sean O’Brien has just arrived in Cairns to begin a 1-month training camp with his training partner Luke Baillie in preparation for the 2013 Qantas Australian Slalom Championships coming up at the end of June on picturesque Green Island.
The pair have just returned from the first PWA World Tour event of the season in South Korea and decided to head north, leaving their cold and wet homebase of Brisbane for the sunny, warm and windy conditions of Cairns, offering perfect training conditions for windsurfing.
O’Brien, based in Brisbane, has represented Australia on the PWA World Tour for four years and is looking forward to the Australian Championships at the end of the month to add another national title to his belt. At 29 years of age, Sean is a veteran of the tour and chose Cairns as the winter training destination due to its unique and varying weather conditions providing perfect preparation for the rest of the World Tour events coming up this year in Europe and the Asia. O’Brien said of his time in Cairns so far:
‘It’s my first time in Cairns and I’m blown away at how much this city has to offer. From the northern beaches at Yorkeys and Holloways, right out to the beautiful reefs on Green and Arlington, there’s so many different spots to sail here – which is important for training so we can tune up our equipment in all types of conditions. With the reefs close by, we’ve also seen it’s potential for photoshoots, so we’ll be.’
Joining O’Brien up here in Cairns is PWA World Tour rookie Luke Baillie. Baillie had previously campaigned and successfully qualified Australia to compete at the 2012 London Olympic Games however did not compete. 2012 ranked number in the World for Olympic Windsurfing, he made the decision to switch to the Pro Tour and at only 21 years of age, is one of the youngest riders on the tour. To prepare, Baillie partnered up with his former coach, O’Brien, and hit the road up to Cairns to get some all-important winter training. Luke said of his arrival in Cairns:
‘Back home in Brisbane in winter there’s no wind and it’s mostly cold and wet. With the European leg of the Pro Tour beginning in July, it’s difficult to find somewhere to train at this time of the year, so Cairns was the perfect choice. We’ve had some amazing days sailing up here on Green Island. I think I will come back every year!’
The pair are up here preparing for the 2013 Qantas Australian Slalom Championships which will take place on Green Island from the 24-28th June, featuring Australia’s best windsurfers as well as a plethora of international rivals from as far as France, New Caledonia and New Zealand. This is the first time this Championship has been hosted on Green Island and with the temperatures plummeting in the more southern parts of Australia, many sailors are arriving early to take advantage of the warm weather and windy conditions each day.