Double whammy for waterski whiz
FOR the second year running, junior barefoot waterskiing whiz kid Nikolas Bray has won the junior sporting award for the Emerald and Gemfields region at the Australia Day awards.
His back-to-back achievements came from an incredible year which saw the 14-year-old win the Queensland junior boy titles and the senior boy Australian titles in March.
Along the way he snared a piece of history, becoming the first junior boy to win the title four times in succession.
Bray said it was "pretty cool" to claim a second award and that he had a special place to store his certificate.
"It felt pretty cool, winning it twice in a row was nice and I was very proud," Bray said.
"It is great to be recognised in the country I call home.
"I have a cabinet at home, it has a bit of everything in it - my trophies and all my medals."
Bray's accomplishments are not limited to the national stage - he is ranked third in the world for the under-17s age group in tricks and fourth for slalom.
He knows he needs to maintain his dedicated training regime to continue his feats - a difficult task to do alone. His father and coach, Dave, also a decorated skier, drives the boat.
"Is it hard, because obviously you need a driver to practice," Bray admitted.
"If Dad can't drive me I have to go out with other people.
"He has been good for me though, I wouldn't be here without him.
"But there are ways around it, I can stay fit and use dry land training. You basically put a rope onto a poll and practice your tricks even though you aren't in the water.
"We try and go out once or twice a week, maybe before or after school for a couple of hours. Then most weekends."
Bray has one big target in sight for 2016, the world titles in Wisconsin.
"That's the major one I want to win, the world titles in August," he said.