‘It’s crunch time’: Kailua windsurfer sets sights on 2020 Olympics in Tokyo
HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Sammy Perez Hults is a world-class windsurfer who’s set his sights on the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
"I have been windsurfing for the past 21 years. I started when I was 12. I'm 33 years old," he said.
A vision of standing on the Olympic platform drives him.
"It just gives me motivation to train harder and train harder," he said.
He learned the sport from his older brothers in their homeland the Dominican Republic, the country he hopes to represent in 2020.
He’s convinced its Olympic Federation to take him on.
"They were pushing other sports like running, swimming, baseball and basketball, all kind of stuff," he said.
The U.S. has already selected its windsurfing representative. Hults has a dual citizenship. If he qualifies he’ll be the first windsurfer from the Dominican Republic to get into the Games.
“Now it’s crunch time. It’s now or never,” said his wife, Kim Perez Hults.
The couple have two young children and a small business they've put on hold while they chase the Olympic dream.
“All of his previous windsurfing experience has been able to help him accelerate the learning curve for the RS:X, which is the Olympic class,” Kim said.
The RS:X board is bigger than standard windsurfing boards and tougher to maneuver.
It’s also not the kind of board Hults grew up using.
"I'm learning quick but it's not easy," he said.
The qualifying event will be in January in Miami, a winner-take-all race Hults believes he can win.
"There's only going to be one spot available for South America. Whoever wins will take that spot," he said.
Between now and then he’ll travel to New Zealand, Spain and Brazil to train.
“I’ll be everywhere training with other competitors so I have a better shot for January,” he said.
Hults is a longtime Kailua resident and a water sports instructor. He hopes to add Olympic athlete to that resumé.
A fundraiser will be held next month to help with his training and travel expenses. Click here for more information.
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