While watching Edoardo Tanas scud over the waves on his board and wrangle his sail with expert technique, it is easy to forget that the young windsurfer is just 14, and has only been surfing for six years.
It’s fair to say that the surfer, who goes to HKIS, has a natural talent for sports that require balance. “I like anything related to boards – surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding,” he tells Young Post.
Above all, he loves windsurfing due to “the feeling of flying on water using only the strength of the wind, as well as the freedom you have in the water and the contact with nature.”
Edo’s parents hail from Lake Garda, which, as well as being a picturesque northern Italian tourist spot, is also a “Mecca” for windsurfers the world over, as Edo describes it. “I used to spend my summers there, and one summer I started to get bored as I had nothing to do in the small village. So my mum suggested that I should try windsurfing. Since then, I’ve never stopped!” Having honed his skills on the lake’s crystal waters in the shadow of towering mountains, Edo now trains in Hong Kong, and races all over the world.
In January, Edo travelled to Thailand to compete in the Pattaya International Windsurfing Cup. Competing for Italy meant the surfer came up against fellow Hongkongers, as well as Thai, Singaporean and Indian competitors. Getting his head into the zone proved tough, and the different conditions – from the sea water to the particularly noisy hotel air conditioning to not having his family around for support – rattled Edo. He also developed a nasty bruise on his foot after tripping on an anchor on the final day of the competition.
Yet he had dedicated himself to training in the preceding months, which paid off during the championships. He was surprised to find out that the wind conditions were in his favour, and he managed to get ahead in the rest, and ended up winning. “I couldn’t believe it!” he said. “It was my first time in Thailand with my Hong Kong coach and without my family.”
For Edo, his win was further proof that he shouldn’t listen to naysayers. “I have always been told I’m too short to be at the top of the rank, but with the right technique, I proved everyone wrong,” he says.
Thailand was a huge achievement, but Edo ranks winning the European Championships in Sopot, Poland, in 2016 as his most significant victory to date. Looking ahead, the aspiring Olympian wants to take part in more tropical competitions. “Anywhere where the water is clear enough to see through it,” he says. “But no sharks ... I am afraid of sharks!”
What song/movie title best describes you when you’re playing your sport?
Creed [2015 sports movie].
You can take the abilities of any animal during one competition. Which do you choose and why?
An eagle, because its eyes can see gusts of wind, even if they’re far away.
What’s your favourite thing to eat before a big event?
Anything with carbohydrates is good. Luckily pasta is my favourite food, but I have to wait until the end of the competition to eat a good lasagna: it’s too heavy!
Which fictional character would you choose as your team mate?
Homer Simpson because he makes me laugh and would help me forget the pressure of the races.
10 years in the future, you are a famous athlete. What company are you spokesperson for, and what product do you promote?
Adidas and Rip Curl are my favourites, so I’d promote shoes for Adidas and wetsuits for Rip Curl.