Friday, 7 July 2017

U21 sailing world champion Joel Turner

Joel Turner
Introducing Joel Turner, of Southport Yacht Club, U21 49er world champion, Australian sailing team member and reigning national 49er champion.

“You are not going to win it unless you are the most passionate about it and the most committed doing what you are trying to do.” _ U21 world sailing champion Joel Turner

To say Joel Turner “gets” the Gold Coast's outdoor lifestyle is an understatement.

He loves to ride his surfboard, he water-skis, windsurfs, rides his wakeboard and when the wind is up, his kiteboard.

But most of all he likes to sail.

At 22, and with a world junior championship in the tough Olympic 49ers class already under his belt, Joel is obviously very good at it.

“I like anything to do with the ocean,” he says.

“And with the great weather we have here on the Gold Coast (300 days of sunshine a year on average), it is ideal to do sailing and other water sports.”

Joel is a born-and-bred Gold Coast and a 2012 graduate of Trinity Lutheran College. His family live close to the Southport Broadwater and his dad Grant, a life-long avid sailor, introduced him to the sport when he was just eight. Soon after his 12th birthday, Joe began competing.

Within 12 months Joel had won his first title, the 2009 Queensland sabot championship. By 2012 he was in the Australian Youth Sailing Team.

In 2014, with crewman Lewis Brake, the Australian pairing came from behind in the final race to win the 49ers junior world championship in tricky waters off Aarhus in Denmark.

Joel has since clinched a second in open company (sailing with Olympic Gold Medallist Iain Jensen at the 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup in Miami and won the 2017 Australian championship as a crewman with talented West Australian David Gilmour.

The pairing is considered a strong chance of selection for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

Joel has been a sailing coach at Southport Yacht Club since 2012 and is also a former Junior Commodore at the club.

Although sailing is not one of the 18 sports at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, Joel sees many parallels with his sport – particularly the international competition and the chance to make new friends from other countries.

“What I love about sailing is that it is very technical and competitive but it is also very social. It is a sport where you never stop learning,” he says.

Joel's aim is to interact with as many 2018 Games athletes and officials as he can. He wants to learn as much as he can from them about competing at the elite international level.

“It is going to be a very exciting time for the Gold Coast,” he says.

“I want to meet other athletes from different sports and different countries and use the Commonwealth Games to open my eyes a little bit to get experience for the Olympics Games, where hopefully I will be later on.”

Joel hopes some of the visiting athletes will stay on the Gold Coast and other parts of Queensland after the Games and try their hands at the many water sports he takes as second nature.

He also urges them to experience the contrasts of the Gold Coast from the Broadwater to the Hinterland.

“Take in the environment and good weather,” he says.

“Get out on the Broadwater or go across and explore (North and South) Stradbroke Island.”

And if all that fun build an appetite, Joel advises there is no shortage of great restaurants across the Gold Coast.

He lists Asian-influenced food as his favourite, and in particular Thai cuisine, but adds there is one sure-fire dining winner for any Games visitors wanting a taste of Queensland.

“Any seafood places based along the Broadwater are great,” he says.

“Buy a bag full of prawns and enjoy the view as you eat them.”

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