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Brotherly love enjoys the ride

10 November 2016

 Ellis Brothers
Charlie, Jayden and Jesse Ellis 

It is all go, go, go in the Kneebone-Ellis household. But that is the norm for three outstanding young  kayakers, two under the SASI scholarship program and one in the youth program, who are setting the pace in the water under the watchful eye of Canoe Sprint head coach Nathan Luce and at the West Lakes Canoe Club.

But with mum Jo Kneebone providing the immediate support, encouragement and home base maybe the sporting talent was borne a couple of generations ago through their grandfather Ron Kneebone, father of Jo. Ron, the 1966 Magarey Medallist, captained and vice captained Norwood between 1961 and 1967, won a club best and fairest and played state football.

Jo said her boys put her dad on a pedestal.

''My dad is a hero to my boys,'' she said. ''They have always looked up to him and he is always on the sidelines watching. Dad was heavily involved in swimming and the boys followed into nipper surf lifesaving.''

But, with many siblings, there is a touch of good-natured ribbing about who is the best at their sport and who works the hardest. A couple of question and answers may help sort out what the boys think of what they have achieved, their futures, and of each other.

What are your immediate aims/goals?

Jesse: I am an under 16 kayaker and my immediate goal is to make the under-17 national team and get gold at the nationals for the K1 1000m. Then I want to go on to improve my world ranking.

Jayden: I am the oldest and compete on a kayak in under 23s. My goals are to make the national senior world's team this year and to make the Tokyo Olympics.

Charlie: Winning the Australian national titles in under four minutes.

Your highlights in the sport so far?

Jesse: Competing in the Hungary Olympic hopes regatta and finishing sixth in the under 15 K1 500m and sixth in the under-16 K2 200m

Jayden: Getting bronze in junior worlds in 2014, touring through Budapest, Munich and Prague and training at times with multiple Olympic champions through many  countries.

Charlie: Making a final in my debut year at the under-23 world championships in Belarus. And for holding the current Australian record for the fastest C1 1000m as a junior.

Who is going to best of the brothers when your careers are finished!

Jesse: Being the third child I get to see what my brothers do and then improve on it. So, of course, I will be the most successful!

Jayden: Once the other two sneak out of home to ride their bike to morning training at 4am after being grounded, they'll have an argument. But until then I'm the only one going places!

Charlie: Being the only Kneebone-Ellis who can balance a C1 boat I'm already winning every time I hit the water. The other two are just sitting down on the job!

What does it mean being related to a famous name in SA sport?

Jesse: I have always looked up to grandpa as a role model and an inspiration with my sport and I see it as an honour to carry on his legacy.

Jayden: I've done a lot with grandpa over the years and it is really cool how every retiree in the city seems to know him well and he always has good conversations with everyone we meet. He has a special brand of humour I haven't found elsewhere.

Charlie: Grandpa was an athlete his entire life. That imprinted itself on my mum, who then from the day we were born insisted on an active lifestyle. I would be really proud to be able to honour Granda's legacy as an elite athlete.