NEDLANDS’ Mani Bisschops (17) will be the first ever kitesurfer to carry the Queen’s Baton for the Commonwealth Games when he flies over the water on his kite-powered hydrofoil board from Scarborough to Trigg beaches next Sunday.
“I am going to foil with it, either strapped to my hand or in a harness brace, but it may depend on how big the beaches’ surf breaks are I’ll have to get through,” Mani told the Western Suburbs Weekly.
If conditions are correct, he and the baton will quickly travel the 2.5km because the hydrofoil’s underwater wing will lift his board about 1.1m above the waves.
A Games spokeswoman said Mani was chosen for the relay because he excelled in innovative kite hydrofoil racing on a traditional sailing course, had participated in world racing circuit for the past three years and was current Australian junior champion.
Mani is a Year 12 Shenton College student, and he still does not know who nominated him to be part of the relay which will allow the public to see the baton carrying the Queen’s message to Games’ athletes in locations across Perth next weekend.
His recent successes on the water have included winning the 2018 State Hydrofoil Championship, second in the 2018 Lancelin Ocean Classic, fifth in the Lighthouse to Leighton kitesurfing race in December and under-18 champion in the Hydrofoil ProTour in Sydney last year.
Next month he travels to Thailand in an attempt to qualify for the Youth Olympic Games.
Training and teaching kiting takes up much of his spare time, and he gets credits for the sport as part of his studies, including sport coaching and business units.
“It’s great honour to be kite with the baton as kiting is a unique sport,” Mani said.
Next Sunday, it is planned he will leave from near the amphitheatre at Scarborough Beach about 2.40pm.
The baton is scheduled to be carried by others, community members and sports personalities through Kings Park 10am-11am, Mount Claremont’s WA Athletics Stadium after 11am, City Beach between noon and 2pm and Floreat Surf Lifesaving Club about 2.25pm.
A ceremony at the amphitheatre starts about 2.30pm.