Cheng Ho-yin does not chase after a ball or dodge other players on a sports pitch. He doesn’t run, or bat, or throw. Ho-yin surfs.
The 17-year-old student from PLK Choi Kai Yau School is a champion windsurfer. Over the past seven years, he has honed his skills so he can catch the wind and handle the often unpredictable conditions of the waves and ocean.
Ho-yin says he was motivated to excel in his sport by his parents, and in the seven years he has spent training as a windsurfer, he has exceeded even his own expectations. At the 2015 Asian Windsurfing Championships in Japan last October, he was crowned Asian champion, winning first place in the Youth division.
Just a few weeks later, Ho-yin found himself on the other side of the world, competing at the Techno 293 World Championships in Cagliari, Italy.
Ho-yin was up against 112 competitors from around the world. “There were stronger sailors from other nations,” he says. And even though he had been training hard for two months, the competition was a struggle. “The conditions varied a lot during training days and the competition period,” says Ho-yin.
Ho-yin’s tough training served him well though. He was in the top three for the first few days and finished fifth in the competition.
But it’s not always been smooth sailing. Ho-yin says windsurfing can be dangerous and he has suffered injuries in the past. “I hurt my back during a competition,” he says, “and it affected me a lot in other competitions afterwards.”
Now fully recovered and following on his success in both the Asia and World Championships, Ho-yin hopes to take part in the Olympics one day.
But he says winning isn’t everything. For Ho-yin, his love of windsurfing comes down to two simple things: “speed and the freedom of sailing on the sea.”
If you could have any superpower for 24 hours, what would it be and how would you use this power?
Flying, because I could travel to a lot of places in a short time.
If you could have an unlimited supply of anything, what would it be and why?
Time, so I could improve my windsurfing skills and do better in schoolwork.
Ten years into the future, you are a famous athlete. What company would you sign on as spokesperson for, and what product would you promote?
Hong Kong-based sports group, Neil Pryde, because without them, there wouldn’t be such great development in windsurfing.