Eighteen-year-old Nicholas Bezy went from being scared of the water, to being one of Hong Kong’s most sensational sailors.
“When my mum first took me sailing when I was around seven years old, I remember being so scared of sharks and the water in general, I couldn’t even [get in the boat],” he said. “A couple of years later, she tried to get me back into it, and I realised how much I love [it].”
The former King George V School student has sailed for clubs all across the city, including Hebe Haven Yacht Clubs, Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, and J-Asia. Now, he sails full-time for the Hong Kong Sports Institute (HKSI) as a member of the Hong Kong national team.
“The HKSI has given me so much – I’ve talked to some athletes overseas and it seems like they don’t get as much as I do right now,” said Nicholas, who races in the Laser class.
“With their efforts and the Volvo Ocean Race [recently in] Hong Kong, it’s great so see the sailing scene blowing up here.”
Nicholas’ career took off last year, taking gold in the Laser Radial European Championships in Poland in July, also finishing third in the world championships in the Netherlands in August.
Although Nicholas’ parents hail from San Diego in the US, he was born and raised in Hong Kong, and he flies the flag with pride.
“I definitely want to represent Hong Kong in the Olympics and bring home a medal,” he said.
“After that I have no idea where my sport will take me, but I do know I want to become a coach when I’m older. I want to get more young people into sailing and develop good athletes for Hong Kong, like my coaches did for me.”
Although some people think of sailing as a relatively relaxed, leisurely sport, this could not be further from the truth, says Nicholas, who called Laser sailing “the ultimate test of physical and mental strength”.
“You have to stay focused the entire time,” he said. “There’s never a moment when you aren’t using your brain in sailing.”
He advised young sailors to stay fully committed to the sport. “Commitment is the biggest thing,” said Nicholas, who will be attending the University of Auckland in New Zealand next February.
“Just stay on top of your school work so you can head down and get the training hours in. It will be worth it.”