CANVEY'S teenage wave sailing prodigy Aleksy Gayda is experiencing peaks and troughs on his winter training sojourn in South Africa.
Gayda is hoping his prolonged trip to the land of consistent waves, strong winds and warm water will stand him in good stead for a full summer of boardsailing competition.
The former pupil of Appleton School in South Benfleet is living 20 minutes outside Cape Town in an attempt to improve his skill in the waves, with a hope of getting even more tricks and manoeuvres under his belt.
Last autumn Gayda scooped the amateur crown at the prestigious British Wavesailing Association Wave Tour and earned himself a pro ticket for this season’s UK competition, where he will be up against the best pro sailors.
“All the good sailing beaches are fairly near to Cape Town,” Gayda said. “I am staying with two pros, Andy “Bubble” Chambers and the world’s under-18 freestyle champion Youp Schmit.
“We get to sail most days of the week pretty much whenever it is windy.
“I have not entered any competitions over here yet because they don’t start until the summer.
“I’m trying to learn several new tricks including the ‘push-loop’ and am really just trying to get more consistent at the tricks that I can do.”
Gayda scrimped and saved enough cash while working in the building trade in Essex to be able to fund his extended training trip.
The youngster is keeping his eyes open for sharks, but thankfully has not seen an yet.
He said: “There’s no sign of sharks, but I’ve seen and sailed with dolphins which is really fantastic.”
But there have been some lows even in the island teenager’s otherwise idyllic training.
Vicious gusts smashed him through the window of his sail and he was slammed into the deck of his board so hard that it cracked his windsurfer.
Gayda is looking forward to the BWA Wave Tour in the UK and has an outside chance of a wild card entry onto the full World Tour series at its Tenerife event in August.