Year 10 student Jack Newland is currently competing at his first International Canoe Federation World Championships in San Juan, Argentina, but, if not for age restrictions, this would be his second. A freestyle kayaking phenom, Jack is currently ranked 1st in Victoria and 3rd in Australia in his discipline. He qualified for the World Championships last year but was forced to wait for his opportunity to compete on the world stage, as he was deemed too young by the governing body. He's had to bide his time and Jack can't wait to test himself against the best in the world.

"I have a goal going into the competition; that is to finish in the top 10," Jack said. He's traveled to San Juan as part of a 15-person strong Australian team; a comparatively small team compared to other nations. While traveling across the world as a 16-year-old is a daunting prospect, the fact that Jack's father, Peter, is one of his teammates will surely ease any apprehension or nerves he might experience.

Anyone that visited the Handbury Centre after school in Term 2 and 3 would have seen Jack and Peter Newland ducking and diving in their kayaks in the HCW pool. The Handbury Centre provided a rare opportunity at Corio to perform the tricks they need to master in a controlled setting. "When I train in the pool I start off doing the tricks I know 100%, and I build up to the really hard tricks," Jack explained. Kayaking has provided the vehicle for father and son to bond, and also to travel the world. Jack and Peter paddled the Colorado River - which winds through the Grand Canyon - when Jack was just 13 years old. "I may be the youngest person to ever paddle that river," Jack said.

Jack and Peter Newland

The School has had many students represent their country in many sports, but few have excelled in a niche sport like Jack has with freestyle kayak. Despite not knowing a great deal about it, the School community has been right behind Jack as he has sought to reach his goal. "The support has been amazing, from friends (at School), other people on the Australian Team, coaches and family," Jack said. "While it's seen as an exotic sport by many, every one has been super interested in what I do."