As we get closer to the race day, we are continuing to profile some of the amazing athletes who will be heading ‘down under’ for the Worlds. This week, turn the focus to Ana Swetish from Team USA.”
Ana is heading to Perth to defend her Under-23 World Championship title, which she won in Portgual in 2022.
Ana is no stranger to Perth, having travelled here on three previous occasions to race The Doctor and the Shaw and Partners WA Race Week. Swetish finished off 2022 strong with a podium finish at The Doctor just behind Danielle McKenzie and Jemma Smith.
Like many ocean paddlers Ana’s start in paddling was through sprint kayaking but her Dad quickly got her into surfski, and this is where she fell in love with the sport. Ana loves the physicality of ocean racing but is particularly drawn to the mental aspect of downwind racing. “It’s like a mind game, trying to find that line that allows me to maximize my speed and minimize my effort.”
One of the great things about ocean racing is the opportunity to connect with people from all over the world. Reflecting on her sport Ana says: “One of the coolest things about ocean racing is that we are a small enough sport that you get to know everyone and were all out there first to have fun. Everyone in surf ski participates for the pure love of the sport and that results in a friendly and supportive vibe. Don’t get me wrong – on the water, we are out to absolutely break each other, but back on land we are all friends!”
When asked about her favourite spot to paddle downwind, Swetish says it has to be Deception Pass which is a tide race about 45 minutes south of her home town of Bellingham. When there is an outgoing current and west wind, it creates some of the most technical and exciting waves she has ever paddled.
For anyone still thinking about entering and may be anxious Swetish says the one thing that she loves about ocean racing is that it is just fun. “It doesn’t matter if you win or not, paddling downwind with all your friends is just a good time. I think focusing on that makes it a lot less intimidating. Just have fun and enjoy the waves, that is what I always try to do! Also, the reefs outside of Perth provide a very nice dampener for the swell. While there are exceptions, I think the average day in Perth is well within many paddlers’ comfort zone.”
Swetish is super excited to be heading back to Perth for some proper downwind racing with the fastest women in the world! Ana says “Winter in Bellingham can be pretty cold, so I am looking forward to getting some time in the warm weather. The combination of the Shaw and Partners WA Race Week with the world championships is going to be all-time! It’s clearly an event of a lifetime, and I can’t wait!”
Not entered the world championships yet? Enter HERE