Young water-skier heads for Spain
Water-skiing for two weeks in Spain might sound like a holiday but for 15-year-old Natalia Khalil-Flexman it means one thing - competition.
At the end of August the Botany Downs Senior College student travels to the Canary Islands in Tenerife, Spain, to represent New Zealand and compete in the World Water Ski Racing Championships.
Natalia has been water-skiing since she was 4 but started racing competitively 4 years ago.
After winning every competition for her age group in New Zealand Natalia travelled to Australia where she also took out the trans-Tasman competition.
This success meant the 15-year-old automatically qualified to compete in Spain.
"I love the feel of the water. When you're skiing you get an adrenaline rush, especially racing. I do get a bit competitive. I feel so free and amazing out on the water."
Natalia's dad Brett skied when he was younger and now uses the knowledge he gained to observe his daughter during her training sessions.
Three times a week, all year round, Natalia hits the water at Half Moon Bay.
"It gets pretty cold in winter."
She says representing New Zealand will be quite nerve-racking but she is excited, proud and honoured to be doing so.
As far as a future with the sport goes, Natalia says water-skiing isn't a professional money-making sport like rugby so she's not looking to make a career out of it.
"I am hoping to just get as much as I can out of it awards-wise."
Before she competes in Spain Natalia has a lot of fundraising to do.
She is looking for donations of products or services to auction off at a fundraising evening on July 27.
If you have anything to contribute contact Natalia's father Brett on 027 289 7707.