Ballina Kitesurfer flies high at Gladstone
By RICHARD A FORBES, Star correspondent
BALLINA High School student Shaun Craike began his Easter break by travelling to Gladstone for the extreme sport of kite surfing.
The 16-year-old member of the Australian Kite Surfing Association said the Coronet Classic at Tannum Sands was a free-ride event that advanced to a top 10 shootout.
"I made it into the top 10 in opens and finished third overall," he said.
"Previous to this, I finished fourth in the nationals at Caloundra earlier this year and I was pretty happy about that."
Shaun won the NSW State wave riding titles in 2005 and 2006, each time qualifying to advance to national titles. He won the Extreme Kite Week event at Cairns those years.
He finished third in the nationals at St Kilda in Melbourne last year under a blanket of smoke from the Gippsland bushfires. Twelve months earlier, he finished a solid second in the nationals at Geraldton in Western Australia.
As with a lot of extreme sports, kite surfing can be expensive, but Shaun competes 'simply because it's so much fun it's unbelievable'.
Sponsorship from Slingshot Kiteboarding and Mystic Harnesses, and his job at the Lennox Head Bakery help meet some of those expenses.
Shaun said he'd like to complete his HSC next year and hopefully join the International Slingshot team.