SURFING Australia's national squad Olympic readiness camps at the World Surf League's KS Surf Ranch wrapped up at the weekend, after six days of successful training.
Culburra Beach’s Owen Wright and Gerroa’s Sally Fitzgibbons were joined by Australian team mates Matt Wilkinson, Stephanie Gilmore, Bronte Macaulay, Nikki Van Dijk, Macy Callaghan and Adrian Buchan when they went into camp on Thursday – tapping into the KS wave system's consistency for three days of training with elite program manager Bede Durbidge and support staff, including shapers and coaches.
“These camps are going to help all the potential Olympic athletes to perform at their best and that’s what it’s going to take to win gold medals,” Current WSL women’s world number two and six-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore said.
“To have the support of the Australian Institute of Sport backing us to make a camp like this possible is incredible, and we as a group are already feeling the benefits.”
WSL Men’s world number twenty-nine Matt Wilkinson also spoke positively of the camp.
“It’s going to accelerate (training at KS Surf Ranch) the level of surfing amongst the squad so quickly,” Wilkinson said.
“The chance to try boards and new moves has been amazing.
“Out here you practice something once and if it’s not right you go and repeat it instantly the way you should have done it on another identical wave.”
It is the first time the WSL's KS Surf Ranch has opened its facility for National Squads to support their high-performance training needs heading towards the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Surfing Australia’s National Squad being the first to utilise the facility as a national team.
“There are seven hundred and sixty-one days now until the Tokyo 2020 Games,” Surfing Australia’s national high performance director Kim Crane said.
“Our athletes are only home and out of competition mode on average 110 days or so a year, so we’re time challenged to build a Team Australia culture, and this is why an innovative training environment like the WSL KS Surf Ranch is a highly effective and efficient one.”
Since its online reveal in December 2015, the WSL KS Surf Ranch has captured the world’s attention as the best man-made wave in history: a 700-yard, high-performance, bi-directional wave featuring barrel sections and manoeuvre sections.
Primarily existing as a testing facility, the Lemoore site has spent the past two years dialling in the technology under the guidance of 11-time WSL Champion Kelly Slater (USA) and feedback from visiting WSL surfers.
The Surf Ranch has already hosted the ‘Founders’ Cup of Surfing on May 5-6; and the Surf Ranch Pro, a WSL Championship Tour stop, to take place September 6 - 9.
Ethan Ewing, Keely Andrew, Stuart Kennedy, Connor O’Leary, Nikki Van Dijk and Wade Carmichael benefited from the Surfing Australia national squad three-day Olympic readiness camp last week..