Kite foiling teen JJ Rice out to create history in Paris as first Caucasian to represent Tonga at an Olympic Games

Kite foiling will make its Olympic debut in Paris next year and with it, a teenager is looking to become the first Caucasian to represent Tonga at a Games.  

It hasn't been an easy journey for 17-year-old JJ Rice, who's been isolated from training partners, coaching and equipment, though he's hopeful he can qualify.

And should he make it to Paris, he may have an extra duty on his hands.

If his shirt and board don't give it away, Rice is a proud Tongan.

"I was born in the US, but never lived there," he told Newshub. "[I] lived in Tonga my whole life.

"I see myself as Tongan, I don't see myself as anything else."

Rice's family own a resort at the remote Faleloa, and he wants to become the first Caucasian to represent Tonga at an Olympics. And it's next year in Paris, where he's looking to join kite foiling in debuting.

"We compare ourselves to F1 cars, basically, on the water," he explained. "It's the fastest form, and most intense and hardest to learn."

What hasn't helped is the remoteness of where he lives. Boat rides can take a day, and there aren't frequent flights.

A large chunk of his journey in the sport for the last 10 years has been "a lot of self-teaching and YouTube videos, and asking people what they think".

There aren't many people he can train with either, so, Rice spends a lot of time overseas meaning easier access to kit.

That's a better option than the seven-month wait.

Regardless, none of it comes cheap.

"I've had help from the Bank of South Pacific, and also the bank of mum and dad have been a big sponsor of mine," he joked. "But we are hoping to get some funding soon."

Rice will need to secure his spot as one of the next best from nations not already qualified, at an event next April.

Should he make it, his good friend - renowned Tongan flag-bearer Pita Taufatofua - has made him a promise.

"He said if I do make it, I get to be flag bearer. I'll have to bulk up quite a bit for that." 

A kite might not be the only thing he's flying for Tonga.