Kira?s massive challenge
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
THE breaks of Maresias Beach in Brazil's Sao Paulo await Sawtell surfer Kira Townsend next week as she embarks on a massive challenge in the Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championships.
As part of an Australian team that is expected to challenge for the title of world champions, Townsend will be coming up against the might of strong surfing nations South Africa, Brazil, United States and defending champions Hawaii who won gold at Huntington Beach in California last year.
The 16-year-old has trained hard for the championships taking part in team training camps as well as working closely with former pro Lee Winkler who's been a goldmine of knowledge since his return to Coffs Harbour.
"I've been having sessions with Lee and that's helped me quite a lot, it's been great having him back," Townsend said.
"He's helped me with a few surfing tips like how to do turns a lot better and stuff like that and I've had Gary Phillips who's been helping me out with a bit of fitness work as well.
Travelling to Brazil isn't a cheap exercise and since winning the national grommet title in December, a lot of effort has gone into raising the funds required to get to South America.
"We've had so much help, it's been fantastic," she gushed in amazement.
"My mum has helped out so much but it's everyone who's helped. All the locals have been so great with their support."
While the Sawtell girl is obviously heading to Brazil to try and grab some glory for herself and her team, she's looking forward to the entire big picture as she heads overseas.
"Just the culture, seeing all the other girls surf, everything, I'm looking forward to the experience," she explained.
"Getting to know other girls from different countries and hanging around with the Australian team, it should be good."
As the national champion, Townsend could be forgiven for feeling some extra pressure as she enters the prestigious event but the Christian Community College student is taking a low key approach to her surfing and is going in with very low expectations.
"I'm not too sure how I'll go but I'll try my best," she said.
"That's all I can do I guess but if doesn't happen then it doesn't happen but I'm just going to put all my best into it."