Thursday, February 16, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
A year 11 student from Bowen has made his way onto the podium of the 45th Australian Windsurfing Titles on the Sunshine Coast at Lake Cootharaba in early February, claiming a third place medal in his upward trajectory in the sport.
Sam Belyea from Bowen State High School placed an overall third in his youth division of 16- to 19-years at the national competition, beating out 141 other Australian windsurfers across three disciplines: course racing, slalom racing and the marathon event over 4 days.
The youngster has been windsurfing since 2018, having picked up the sport from his father and uncle, who have been windsurfing proponents since the 1980s.
His mother, Adelaide Belyea, said Sam had “jumped onboard with his dad and his uncle, as well as Whitsunday legend Dennis Winstanley.”
“Dennis has taken Sam under his wing and taught him over the past few years,” Adelaide said.
“Safe to say that’s very helpful when you have a multiple national champion in your corner to help you out.”
Sam’s third place finish at the National Titles is not his first accolade in the sport either, at last year’s iteration of the competition he brought home a Junior Australian Title last year.
He said both this year’s top three finish and the previous years were just more incentive to keep going strong with training and passion.
“When you see results, you get such a spark – you just want to get out on the water again,” Sam said.
“I think my grin was ear to ear when I was given the medal. I love this sport; it’s great on and off the water, competitive racing but it’s not something you take to heart. It’s a community where you’re there racing against some Olympic class sailors and learning.”
The young athlete has lofty ambitions as he already begins training for the World Windsurfing Titles in Perth at the end of this year and will be looking for sponsorship.
Bowen State High School student Sam Belyea (R) placed third at the recent Australian Windsurfing Titles
Sam (L) competing in the Titles on the Sunshine Coast at Lake Cootharaba