Tobin to be lone Kiwi at windsurfing worlds
JP Tobin will again be the lone Kiwi in the men's fleet at the world RS:X windsurfing championships next week as Tom Ashley's foreseeable future remains off the water.
Last year's bronze medallist Tobin is among a small fleet of 65 men for this year's worlds in Buzios, Brazil, which start on Sunday (NZT), about the same time 2008 world and Olympic champion Ashley returns to Auckland for another year of law studies.
Ashley hasn't been sighted in competition since he lost his 2011 battle with Tobin for New Zealand's sole windsurfing berth at last year's London Olympics, and a return to the water in the RS:X class appears more and more unlikely. A campaign for Rio 2016 is certainly not on the cards.
The 29-year-old has been coaching China's Olympic sailors during his university holidays this summer. Coaching and his law degree, which he is halfway through, are his priorities in the foreseeable future.
"I don't have immediate plans to do any more sailing for myself," he said. "I'm enjoying very much working with other sailors and concentrating on my studies."
It's all go for Tobin, though, the 35-year-old having spent just over two weeks in Buzios, about 175km east of Rio de Janeiro, ahead of this year's world championships.
"I didn't get here as early as some guys but I'm always reluctant to leave New Zealand in February," he said.
"It's been good, though. I'm just trying to get back into the swing of things on the board. I've been doing a lot of other stuff, mountain biking and paddling, so it's been about getting back up to speed on the windsurfing.
"It's a pretty good setup here, it's like a wind factory so there should be plenty of wind next week."
Natalia Kosinska, who missed selection for last year's Olympics, is the only Kiwi in the 41-strong women's fleet which has assembled in Buzios.
The first of five days of racing is on Sunday with the medal race next Thursday (NZT).