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8-year-old water sports wizard becomes the youngest to windsurf across the Gulf of Thailand



Yesterday’s triumph moves Shane closer to his ambition to become the 

youngest-ever wing foiling world champion and represent Thailand at the Olympics


Water sports history was written yesterday (Thursday) when eight-year-old Thanawat “Shane” Promwaen became the youngest to windsurf 107 kms (66 miles) across the Gulf of Thailand – a claim to fame he most wanted as a gift for his ninth birthday this coming Sunday.



It was a case of “third time lucky” for Shane, whose two previous attempts at the epic crossing  were scuppered by poor wind conditions.


The boy wonder achieved his kite foil crossing in just four hours and 10 minutes – the fastest time yet for windsurfers of any age. He even beat the five hours and 45 minutes crossing time recorded by a jetskier.



Thailand’s wee windsurfing wizard was flagged-off from Surfspot in Hua Hin and landed at Pattaya Kitesurfing Clubloongchat on Na Jomtien Beach.


Shane is the child prodigy of kitesurfing father Somsak “Sam” Promwaen, who himself narrowly missed qualifying for the next Olympics after finishing second to much younger competition.



Sam (35) said: “Shane was very cool and relaxed the whole way across, but I was incredibly excited and anxious all at the same time! When Shane finally landed, I cried a little and hugged him tightly. I felt super proud.”



Sharing that family pride were mother Pawinee “Woon” Deenok and Shane’s 11-year-old sister Fern.


Sam added: “Crossing the Gulf of Thailand really is a dream come true for Shane. He is an absolute natural, driven by pure passion.”


Weather conditions were perfect, with wind blowing from the south in such a way that the challenge was not too tiring for the youngster. Two vessels accompanied him for the entire crossing – an 11-metre craft to carry an ambulance capability plus a five-metre safety boat.



With yesterday’s record-breaking achievement under his belt, Shane plans to enter international competitions on an ambitious journey to become the youngest wing foiling world champion and represent Thailand at the Olympics. He’s now recruiting sponsors to make the dream come true.


Sam said: “I’m sure the fact Shane is the youngest – and fastest – to kite foil across the Gulf of Thailand will be very attractive to sponsors wanting to support his racing career.”



Hailing from Pattaya, Shane is expert at “wing foiling” and “kite foiling”, by which a hydro-foil lifts the board out of the water to enhance performance.


He is still too young to compete, so relies on special invitations to adult events. So far, Shane has five kite foiling and five wing foiling adult races to his credit – and names American water sports sensation Kai Lenny as his biggest influence.



Shane began his windsurfing career when just three years old and now balances studies at Satit Udomseuksa School in Pattaya with an intensive training schedule that sees him on the water for up to five hours a day, under the guidance of his parents.


He’s also become a strong swimmer, after having first entered the water at the tender age of four weeks – before learning to doggy paddle by the age of 18 months.


The next big day for Shane is this coming Sunday when he celebrates his ninth birthday with friends and family on the beach!


Follow Shane's progress via his Facebook page (@shane.wing.foiler), website (shanethewingfoiler.com) or LINE account (@shane.wingfoiler). Prospective sponsors wishing to help Shane compete internationally are invited to visit https://makeachamp.com/SHANEthewingfoiler.

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