Exmouth Kitefoil racing star Steph Bridge all set for the inaugural World Beach Games
PUBLISHED: 15:01 11 October 2019
Exmouth kitefoil racing star Steph Bridge has been excelling in her sport for years, winning five world titles between 2007 and 2013 and at one point, she was one of the top three women in the world, writes Ella Jerman.
She has the chance to get back on the podium when she represents Team GB at this week's inaugural World Beach Games but not only does she have the small matter of representing her country on her mind, but she must also ensure her two sons are ready to compete.
The mother of a family of high-flying kite racers, Bridge, 46, will be competing alongside her two sons Oliver, 22 and Guy, 20 in Doha and hopes that the event marks the dawn of a new beginning for their beloved sport.
"It's so exciting. Being at a multi-sport event is a first for kitefoil racing," said Bridge.
"We've always just had standalone events, or only competing alongside sailing - nothing anywhere near like playing alongside lots of other beach sports.
"It's so exciting knowing we will have a huge audience and it's going to be a completely different experience for us.
"We don't really know what to expect to be honest and that's what is great about the Games - it will give people the opportunity to discover what it would be like if they make the Olympic Games in 2024."
Team GB will compete across seven disciplines in Doha, as 97 countries from five continents come together for the Association of National Olympic Committees' (ANOC) first-ever World Beach Games, taking place from October 12-16.
Alongside kitefoil racing, Team GB will be represented in aquathlon, beach soccer, bouldering, skateboarding, water ski and wakeboard and for most of the 21 Team GB athletes selected, it will be their first opportunity to compete at a multi-sport Games.
And while Bridge may not have had the opportunity to compete at a multi-sport event before, she is delighted her sons are unlikely to face the same fate, with kitefoil racing having been confirmed to make its historic debut at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
"I've always been really proud to be part of their journey," said Bridge.
"I like to think that I am a good support for them. I'm not their coach, and I don't intend to be, but we have a really special relationship because I've always been there.
"I don't want to be sitting on the beach waving a flag. I love to see how they're getting on, what their strategy is and follow their progress.
"We're all super excited and going into the competition with fresh eyes because we haven't raced a lot this year.
"We just want to do our best, sail cleanly and enjoy it - that's what this sport is all about."
The inaugural World Beach Games take place in Doha from 12-16 October. Follow the team @TeamGB on social media and at TeamGB.com