Sports Star of the Week: Kye is taking on the world

TAREE barefoot skier Kye Cornall is aiming for a top 10 finish at the Junior World Championships to be held at Mulwala in Victoria starting on March 10.

Kye, 16, has been named in a four strong Australian squad. He was selected following an exhaustive series of trials before attending a training camp in Victoria.

He is the Manning River Times-Iguana Sportstar of the Week, earning a $50 open order at Iguana.

Kye has been water skiing since he was five. He branched into what is known as free event barefooting, where skiers perform tricks and also negotiate jumps about a year and a half ago.

"I was looking to do something different so I gave it a go and went alright,'' Kye explained.

His first event was the NSW championships where he finished second and so earned a place in the State team for the national titles held in Darwin. He'll head to the nationals again in April in Perth soon after completing commitments in the world event.

"We're seeing plenty of Australia,'' his dad noted.

The boat Kye skis behind will reach speeds of up to 70km while he's competing. While that's happening he's skiing backwards or on one foot. Still he hasn't suffered any major injuries.

"I've had a couple of crashes, but nothing too bad,'' he said.

There'll be skiers at Mulwala from a number of countries with the USA and New Zealand usually providing strong competition. However, Kye trains with the current world junior champion, Keenan Derry, whose father, Ken, is also his coach.

"He's helped me a lot,'' he said.

Kye practices just about every day when conditions allow and also travels to Toukley twice a week for training on the jump under Ken Derry's guidance. The season starts in September and Kye there's usually around 10 rounds outside the major championships.

His dad is his regular driver but this won't be the case at the worlds, where skiers will be allocated a driver and a boat. They'll then have what is termed a memorisation program before competition and Kye assures this won't be too daunting.

He can't wait for the titles to start but thinks he'll be 'a bit' nervous before his first event.

Kye followed his dad into skiing and Warren also boasts an impressive record into the sport.

"But I've overtaken him now,'' Kye said with a big grin.

He intends to continue into open company once he's too old for the juniors.

o See more photos/footage of Kye and his sister Makayla skiing in Daybreak on the Manning on our website.

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