Alyssa Bull.
Alyssa Bull. john mccutcheon

Talented Alyssa’s year out to maintain frenetic pace

THE metamorphosis that has seen Alyssa Bull ignite interest in her in two sports is causal to a looming dilemma in her young life.

What to do?

Does the 17-year-old Alexandra Headland member, on completion of Year 12 this year, devote herself wholly to surf lifesaving and canoeing in the coming years or mix her sporting pursuits with academia?

Bull's parents, perhaps reluctantly, have agreed to let her take a gap year in 2014 so she can concentrate fully on sport.

But Bull admitted it would be "lovely" if the study break was longer.

The planned physiotherapy degree may have to wait a little longer if Bull builds on a highly promising past 12 months over the coming year.

After a storming victory in the final round of last season's national ironwoman series at Noosa, she automatically qualified for the 2013-14 series.

And as a canoeing rookie, she made her debut Australian team for the junior and under-23 Canoe Sprint World Championship in Canada in August.

Like numerous athletes over the years, Bull may have to make a choice between surf lifesaving and canoeing.

Leading ironwoman Naomi Flood, a London Olympian in canoeing, has again chosen canoeing over surf sports as she attempts to compete at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Bull said she planned to continue doing both sports - at least for now.

"I'm still only young. I don't need to make too many decisions at this stage," she said.

The schedule for this season's ironwoman series is yet to be released, but Bull expects the first round to be at Margaret River on November 30-December 1. She turns 18 on December 1.

And it is not the return to big surf venues and carrying the race winner tag into this season's series that is causing her most concern.

With series backer Kellogg's increasing prize money but no longer paying the athletes' expenses, she knows she will have to perform to stop reaching into hers and her parents' pockets.

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