A man for all seasons

Noosa athletes Courtney Steel, Jaxon Retchless, Brielle Steel, Mailee Scott-Jones with head coach Mick Hooper

Ron Lane

In every sport there are many athletes who in their chosen field, become champions of the highest order but because their sport is relative unknown, they receive little or no publicity. Despite their many outstanding achievements, they still remain in the shadows.

Such a man is Kai Thompson. Kai is a member of the Noosa Heads Surf Life Saving Club and as such, represents his club at surf carnivals. His speciality is beach events: at all levels Branch, State and National.

This young man, who started his career as an U9 in the Noosa Nippers, is now at the ripe old age of 20 years one of the best, if not the best, beach event competitor in Australian Surf Lifesaving.

A quiet young man, who has little to say unless pushed, said of himself, ‘’Since I finished school I have been working for my father as a chippie. Other than my career as a beach competitor for Noosa I am very passionate about the sport of Downwind Foiling. Last year I went over to Hawaii for the month of July to race in the Molokai to Oahu Downwind World Championships: this year I am doing it again.” ( For the uninformed Downwind Hydro foiling is a water sport that involves riding a hydrofoil board on the downwind side of a wave or wind swell)

His introduction to beach events was under Noosa Coach Omar Bakhach. “He took me from the U9s to U13s. Omar gave me the spark and taught me the fundamentals of beach sprinting and beach flags: but above all made us understand it was also fun. From the U15 to U17, my coach was Mitch Hunter.

It was Mitch who made me achieve something that not many runners in the beach sprinting have done. I won both the Beach Sprint and the Beach Flags at the Australian titles in the U15s. He taught me how to push myself and also the importance of good gym programs. Currently I am training under the eyes of Australia’s best beach flags coach, Simon Harris. He is really helping me refine my skills and push my limits. Now, I am competing in the Opens and racing against the big boys.”

His results since U9 have been outstanding. Since joining, he won nipper age championship every year and then as the U14, he was awarded the Sunshine Coast Lifesaver of the Year. This has been just the start: and his achievements, are too many to mention. Today we list just some, and in the weeks ahead, we will keep in touch with this outstanding young athlete.

As a member of the Noosa club, he has been named the Athlete of the Year, every year from 2018 through to 2022. He has been a member of the Interbranch Team for five years from 2013 to 2018, Interstate Team four years 2015 to 2019, and the elite Super Surf Team League, four years 2021 to 2024. He has also represented Queensland in water polo, triathlon and athletics.

However, his life has not been just travelling and competing: for now, he contributes to others, where ever possible. Helping the Noosa Seahorse Nippers, sprint and beach flags coach for the Noosa Nippers, and working as water safety officer, for major swimming events at Noosa’s Main Beach.

He has worked as a mentor, at the Branch Commando Advance Training Camp, for young lifesavers: attended the LEP (Leadership Excellence Program) which was to enhance his leadership abilities, thus helping within the club and community.

With all the travel and success, he has achieved, his readiness to put back into the community is to be noted and acknowledged: in some cases, it is just not happening.

Noosa Athletics.

Noosa’s Athletics club, took a small team of four athletes to experience the AIS facilities and hopefully, run some good times in nice conditions, against national level athletes. Head Coach Mick Hooper said, “ We had Courtney Steel and Brielle Steel competing in the Open women’s 100m and 200m. In the U20s 100m and 200 we had Jaxon Retchless and Mailee Scott Jones.

Now only seven weeks out from the Queensland Championships and 10 weeks out from the Australian Championships, this was an important hit out to gauge areas of performance that we can work with, going forward. All our athletes responded well to the challenge, with everyone running seasons best times: Courtney Steel running a Personal Best time in the 100 m, securing the national qualifying standard for the Australian Championships, to be held in Adelaide April 2024.

Noosa Athletics, also had Kristie Edwards return to the track on Saturday in Brisbane, at the Dennis Boyd Shield meet. Kristie picked up where she left off last season winning the Open Women’s 100m and 200m events. This shows that she will be a force to be reckoned with in this Olympic year. Zane Branco, will also return to competition next week in Brisbane in the Open men’s Long Jump: hoping to make a statement early in 2024.’’


The next racing for the Noosa Club, is on 10 February in Brisbane’s Scarborough. This will be Round 3 of the South Queensland Zone Club Challenge. Racing is for 6 person canoes as well as small craft. One of the highlights for our racing calendar is in Sydney on March 2nd.

Hosted by the Bondi Outriggers, is the Sydney Harbour Challenge. This is a gruelling series of races with craft going out Sydney Heads and back. Following this there will be racing at Coffs Harbour on March 16 and April 13 will be racing at Surfers Paradise.

Then on May 10, 11 and 12, the Noosa club will play host to a massive three- day event, at the beautiful Rainbow Beach. This will be done in conjunction with the Gympie Council and the Rainbow SLSC. All indications are, that a club with such a busy calendar must be heading in the right direction: with plenty competition the club can only go from strength to strength. And we wish them every success.

The door is always open and the club is only too happy to greet new members, so check out the website: www.noosaoutriggers.com.au