YOUNG ACHIEVER: Twists and turns of a trick genius

Click or flick across for more photos of Josh performing his tricks. 

JOSH Briant is no one-trick pony.

In fact it’s his versatility that in the past year has delivered waterskiing world titles in age divisions and put him among the pacesetters at the open world titles at just 18 years of age.

Briant spins and twists through a tricks routine, launches himself off a jump and finishes with a slalom run through gates and around balls in the water at high speed and on an increasingly shorter rope.

There are individual discipline winners as well as an overall title up for grabs.

In the past year he has won the tricks section and overall title in the world juniors, the tricks at the under-21 titles in Florida and finished seventh overall at the open world’s in Chile.

But the Albury skier wants to be the world’s best.

He know there are tricks at the high end of the points scale that are there for the taking.

There’s the “super move” — a 360-degree spin and flip over the rope — and the ski line 720 — a double spin again across the tow rope.

His best in the jump is 56 metres — the world record is 75.

“I train six days a week, some days at the waterski park in Albury-Wodonga, sometimes at the weir and most weekends at Yarrawonga,” he said.

“Most of the training is on the water.

“I know I need to keep training and improving, perfecting those tricks and then be able to pull them off under pressure on the big stage.

“The long-term goal is the open world title.”

Briant first hit the water at 13 months, his father Wayne holding him on skis next to the boat, and his first nationals were at 5.

Briant’s sport has in the past year taken him to the US, Chile and Indonesia, but he has also competed in Argentina, France, Italy, Canada and China.

In recent years Briant has spent four or five months of our winter training in the US.

And in August he heads back to Florida to continue his academic and waterski education at Rollins College on a more permanent basis.

Briant follows in the wake of his older sister Michale, the winner of the 2004 Young Achiever Award, who was also part of the US college’s waterski team.

“I’ll study business and be able to train on the lake at the campus,” he said.

“I’ve been (going to) Florida for four or five years now, so I know what to expect, know what they expect.”

This weekend Briant heads to Melbourne for the Moomba Masters, where he is close to a veteran of the city’s autumn festival competition.

“There’s junior Moomba, the under-18s event, Wednesday and Thursday and then Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday is the open event, which is a pro tournament,” he said.

“I’ve competed for the past five or six years and last year finished second in the pro event and won the juniors.

“I’d like nothing better than to win down there but in this sport there are no guarantees.”

This is Briant’s third nomination for the Norske Skog Young Achiever Award.

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