Hawaiian athlete CJ Perez has been getting international attention for her inspiring story. Perez, who has only been sailing for five years, recently competed with the USA team at the Global Sailing Championship.
At age 18 years, she became the youngest competitor ever and the first American woman to race the global championship event. She also became the first Latina athlete to compete in professional sailing.
Perez remains humble in spite of all the media attention she is getting:
“Sailing on the F50 in Spain was the coolest thing I’ve ever done. It’s amazing because that boat is at the forefront of technology. To be with the USA team there, they were super welcoming and it’s filled with such intelligent sailors that I’m learning from every second that I’m with them,” Perez told KHON2’s Alan Hoshida.
Perez is the first in her family to take up sailing. At 13 years old, she got her start at a spring break camp for sailing. Growing up near the shore, she saw kids sailing and thought it was “the coolest thing ever.”
Perez aims to compete in foiling Grand Prix events. By performing at her best, she hopes to inspire other females and Latinas to believe in themselves and pursue their dreams to the highest level.
“I’m trying to be the best representation and inspiration I can be for them.”
Image credit: Bob Martin for SailGP