Ripley returns after a decade to represent Samoa in sailing

Vamo’oi’a Astrid Ripley will be making a comeback to sailing after a decade to represent her country, Samoa at the Pacific Games.

The Laser Radial sailor will be competing in her second regional meeting.

“I am doing sailing, the laser radial for women, me and another lady representing Samoa. And I’ve been sailing since I was 8. Had a big gap in between with abit of travel, University, Work and now back again at work. So I had a ten year gap. Now I’m back into representing Samoa. I did represent in 2007 Games. So this will be my second Pacific Games.”

Ripley is expecting a tough competition this year and believes the team is well prepared for the games.

“And there’s a lot of prep that is involved cause not many people realize that sailing is a full body sport. Using your arm, your abs, your shoulders, your back and it is also a mental game as well. Also strategy and tactics.”

“I would really like to be on the podium. I am expecting a big competition thou because Fiji has good sailors and the woman coming from PNG. I believe she represented in quite a few international events, Australia has also a good athlete coming. So I am expecting a good competition, she adds.

Apart from sailing, Ripley is a Communications Officer at the Australian High Commission in Samoa.

“I have been really fortunate to have a good workplace with a very flexible and supportive of sports and work life balance. And my family. They are very encouraging and they try to do everything. I don’t think I could also do all these with all their support.”

“Even when I was eight, my dad who had no idea about sailing, he would come out on the canoe and try and encourage us in the water.”

She also praises her family for being the main people getting her involved in the sport at a very young age.

“Through family. I have five other siblings. When I got into the sport, there used to be four of us. That was our weekly sporting activity. More of a family event, did not really take it to serious and just get to enjoy being on the water. Get into races, you start to really well and I think it’s just getting that whole upbringing and love for the sport.”

“It would be amazing. And winning a medal won’t be just for me but also my family, my friends who go and train with me and my work colleagues.”

Alongside Ripley, siblings Bianca (Laser Radial) and Eroni (Laser Standard) Leilua competed at the 2015 and 2011 Games respectively, but Peter said the rest of the team is quite green.



Josephine Navula