A chance encounter on the shores of Cairns not only sparked a trailblazing kiteboarding career but proved a life changing experience for Rebecca Colefax.
Colefax, a world and national kiteboarding champion, was inducted into the Sunshine Coast Sports Hall of Fame at USC Stadium on Thursday.
The Noosa resident earned the prestigious honour in recognition of a remarkable career across Australia and the world.
Among her achievements Colefax won back-to-back national titles in 2002 and 2003 and came third at the Kiteboard Pro World Tour stop in 2002.
In 2003, she won the Big Air titles, Australian kite league, the Suncorp Sports Star of The Year award (Queensland) and became the first Australian to win a world championship in kiteboarding.
A fledgling and little known sport in the 1990s, Colefax said her journey to world kiteboarding domination started with a visit to a Cairns beach where she first witnessed the sport and met the man who would become her future husband.
“I saw him (Mathew) arrive at the beach and he set up the kite and disappeared for the next six hours over the horizon,” she said.
“I’d seen windsurfing before but I was really mesmerised by this guy and sport.
“So, I bought a kite off him and I started kitesurfing.”
Mathew was Australia’s first kiteboarder.
From there it was a whirlwind journey.
“There were bumps and bruises all over me because it was quite a learning curve,” she said.
“But, that story continued and I ended up competing as a kiteboarder in the women’s division and being one of the first kiteboarders – there were not many women in that division.
“I kept persisting and I was running clinics and then I became an instructor and became the first female examiner in the world, so I was training trainers.”
Colefax said she was honoured to be inducted into the hall of game and join a long and prestigious list of elite stars.
“Kitesurfing back in the 2000s was still really a developing sport and very much in it’s infancy,” she said.
“So, to be part of that and to be a pioneer of the women’s division was really challenging sometimes because no one really knew what they were doing.
“But, now it’s a fully fledged sport and I feel really proud to be able to stand here and represent the women that are doing the sport and that also helped me get to where I am.”
She praised her husband for sparking her passion all those years ago in Cairns.
“I owe a lot of this to him because if it wasn’t for him I would’ve never have started.”
These days she enjoys passing on her knowledge to her three kids Matias, 14, Rivalee, 12, and Stryder, 10.
Certificate of merit awards were also presented on Thursday to Ian Grant (surf lifesaving), Helen Park (water polo) and Lyndsay Halson (AFL) who worked tirelessly contributing to the
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