Port Douglas could become the training ground for an Olympic champion as a new sport enters the big time in Rio 2016.
Kiteboarding will be thrust in front of the world’s biggest TV audience with athletes from across the globe aiming to take out the inaugural kiteboard racing gold medal.
And it just so happens Port Douglas has built a reputation for being one of the world’s best kiteboarding locations.
Brett Wright, operator of local kiteboarding and stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) company Windswell at the southern end of Four Mile Beach, said the introduction of the sport into the Olympics creates a unique opportunity for the region.
“Four Mile is a proven, perfect training ground for this type of kiting.
“After travelling myself up and down this coast line, out on the reef, and in Hawaii and WA, there’s no place like home. Four Mile is unreal.
“There’s always plenty of room, you’ve got the best wind angle for getting on and off the beach, and you’ve got all terrains of water at Four Mile.”
Mr Wright said the sport has come a long way since the pioneering days of the sport.
“We’ve got the circuit out there already. 2005 was our first official kite race and we’ve been doing it every year. What we did in ’05 is pretty similar to what they’ll do in the Olympics.
“Kiting is now appealing for a lot more people. The equipment is super-easy, it is 300 per cent safer than it used to be, and the pricing is way down.
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“Who knows, the Olympic champion might not even be kitesurfing yet.”
Mr Wright said he’d love to represent Australia in 2016 and is confident kiteboard racing will make an exciting addition to the Rio Olympic line-up
“Given the opportunity I’d give it a shot. It has been a while since I’ve been in the sailing or racing arena but it’s now or never.
“There is a lot of close-quarter situations and a lot of kite fights and tangles. These boards are built for speed so there will be some pretty big stacks.”
Mr Wright said progress is being made to deliver a major event in Port Douglas which could bolster sports tourism in the region.
“For me this has always been my dream, to have a world class event here in Port Douglas.
“Currently I’m in talks with groups like USM (organisers of Ironman Cairns) to host a really good kiting and paddleboarding water sports event in Port Douglas.
“They seem to be fairly supportive and we’re close to getting our own big event.”
Virgin founder and adventurer Sir Richard Branson is believed to have played a big part in kiteboard racing’s Olympic acceptance.
“We all flew a kite to get kiteboarding in to the Olympics and unbelievably the kite has landed in Rio,” Sir Richard told