Nick Donawa has been appointed as head coach of the Russia Junior Surf Team. (Picture by Heather-Lynn Evanson.)
A BARBADIAN is making waves on the Russian surf scene.
Nick Donawa, who has coached Barbadian teams and taken them to many World Junior Surfing Championships, was recently selected as the head coach of the Russian Junior Surfing Team.
He left on Monday.
“We are going to be heading out to Bali to surf and train the kids for two weeks and then I am taking them to the European Surf Championships in Portugal in July,” he told NATION SPORTS, who caught up with him at the recently concluded Barbados Surf Pro at Drill Hall Beach.
“It’s cold,” he added, “and I have to go to Russia probably in October to do their National Championships and we will be doing it in Sochi.”Third year
It’s not the first time Donawa has been coaching the Russian team. This is the third year he has been working with them.
“A couple of the guys I worked with they have been to Barbados already. I trained them here last year and they have done the WSL [World Surf League] Pro, the Independence Pro and I have to get them here to do the [Barbados Surf Pro] next year because it’s a really great event,” he said.
Donawa admitted that Russia and the sport of surfing were not usually mentioned in the same breath.
But, as he put it, they got bitten by the bug.
“It’s [the sport of surfing] really exploding now. Russia has a huge Black Sea coast and they are still in discovery of what they have in terms of surf.”
Coaching, he explained, was seasonal work and as a result he was unable to say for how long he would be gone.
But his dream, he admitted, was to be back to coach the local surfing team for the 2020 Olympics in Japan once he “was not under the Russian banner”.
“That would be my greatest dream – one, first for two of our athletes, male and female, to qualify because the criteria have now been released, and even with that criteria Barbados have a very good chance of making it.
“We just need a very solid governing body association to work with the partners to make sure that this becomes a reality,” he said.
“We have everything here. We have the players, we have the training ground, we have been to the arena in Japan already. I was there last year with a Bajan team and I know what it is like; I know what to expect, so I don’t see us not coming away without a potential for a medal. I wouldn’t say gold, I wouldn’t say silver or bronze, but we do have great potential for a medal.”
But Donawa said what ever experience he had gained from the Russian surfing stint he would be ploughing it back into local surfing.
“My goal is to use this as experience to learn, to bring back home. My navel string buried here. I have coached Barbados teams for many years. I’ve learnt on the way. Now I am doing a different set of learning which in turn will help me come back and share my knowledge,” he said.