A Kayaker from Moruya, South Coast NSW is representing Australia in the Kayak Freestyle World Championships in Nottingham, England, UK from 27th June to 2th July 2022.
Alex Cook (15) from Moruya, was selected to represent Australia in the men’s youth kayak category despite being incredibly new to kayak Freestyle. He took up kayaking in January this year after being inspired by a video on the internet: “I saw kayaking on YouTube and thought it was cool so thought I’d give it a go,” he said.
Mountain biking, last year Alex and his mates made jumps out of dirt piles at a local land development site, which unfortunately led to him braking his ankle. Alex then broke his wrist skating and shortly after he broke his other ankle. He therefore decided that extreme white-water kayaking would be safer and sold his bike to buy a kayak. “Yeah, it was pretty funny, I was on crutches with my arm still in a plaster,” he said.
Alex went kayaking with his dad, Paul (48), and within a few months he was talent spotted by the Australia Paddle Freestyle team manager who loaned him a club freestyle kayak. A few sessions later, he was at national selection at Penrith White Water Centre and was successful.
A Moruya High School student, Alex is pleased to be missing school, (particularly English), to compete for Australia. His first time in England, UK, he is loving the atmosphere and freestyle kayaking: “the tricks you can pull are just crazy, just the concept that you can do airborne front flips and back flips in a kayak is so cool,” he said.
The last World Championships saw Australia’s first youth medal, and now the youth team are now expanding, despite recent COVID and flooding challenges. Alex is now good friends with fellow Aussie paddlers including Jack Newland, Australia’s first youth Gold medallist. “Jack is a great coach,” he said “much better than my dad.”
Photo: by Tom Clare, tomclare.media / firstname.lastname@example.org