Hi Angelika, I am really glad that you have agreed to interview with me.
Tell me about your life history?
I grew up in Johannesburg South Africa until the age of 19 before I immigrated to Australia with my dad in 2005. My dad was the biggest influence in my life and shaped me into my career today. He was so passionate about water sports and got our whole family to try it out. My first time ever water-skiing was when I was 5 ½ Years old in Johannesburg at Buffelsport Dam, which was our local dam we travelled to each weekend. I had the best memories growing up here.
When I was a kid I did not like water-skiing at all and cry all the time when my dad took me out on the boat- “funny how things work,” Now I love it and cannot get enough. I am so grateful I was pushed when I was really young- thanks dad”.
I started competing in 3-event skiing “ jump, trick and slalom” and represented my country breaking records at the age of 12. I was super talented in slalom and jump and this is when my dad took me overseas to America to train at Lisa St. John ski school at the time. While in America my dad discovered Wakeboarding and this is where my wakeboarding all started. I did both professional sports in South Africa, competing, training and travelling back and forth from one contest to another. This gave me a lot of drive and determination when I was young and taught me to be disciplined.
A local talented rider from our dam named “ Gary Botha” my coach and long time friend,” mentioned to my dad he wanted to train me and this is were it officially started. I competed in my first ever South African championships placing 3rd after which the following year I entered in my first ever wakeboarding World Championships in Sun City and took 3rd.
In 2008 my dad and I immigrated to Australia, where I still pursued both water-skiing and wakeboarding but found I had to choose, which was really hard to do at the time. My dad gave me a huge opportunity and bought me my first ever Mastercraft X Star boat. I was very fortunate and grateful to have the best equipment to train.
In 2001 I won the Junior World Championships behind the boat and proved to my dad that this is what I really wanted to do “I made him so proud”. I then started competing in the Pro Tour in Australia and travelled to America to train and gain some experience along side finishing off my Bachelor of International Business and Tourism degree.
In 2005 Cable Ski Cairns opened 10 minutes from my house where I travelled each day after University to ride at the wake park. I found it helped me improve on my boat riding skills, but before you know it I was riding more cable than boat, as I could only boat ride on the weekends and that was not enough.
In 2008 my dad was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease that has definitely been the hardest thing I ever had to deal with and still dealing with it today not having my dad by my side to see how far I have come. We had to sell my boat and this is where I committed 110 % to Wake Park riding and have been traveling on the professional wake park tour for 6 years now competing in all the major tour stops and haven’t looked back since.
It has been a tough couple of years on tour achieving everything on my own, however through struggle, hard work and determination I am super grateful in everything that I have accomplished so far. I know my dad would be proud and I am nothing but grateful.
I am going to continue to work even harder each year to ensure I reach out to potential sponsors who are interested in having me on board to represent their company and to become an ambassador for the sport and further my career.
What made you get into wakeboarding?
My dad was the one that introduced me to watersports from an early age, he was so passionate about watersports that I have to give all the credit to my dad for giving me the opportunity to have all the equipment to pursue the sport I love and undertake today
I started wakeboarding behind the boat in 2000 at the age of 14 years old. I have quite a history in watersports where I first started waterskiing at the age of 5 1/2 years old. Originally I was a 3 event Waterskier competing on the international world circuit breaking records and competing overseas in all the main events. My dad was the one that found wakeboarding in America and this is where I transitioned and started competing in 2000 behind the boat. I became the 2005 junior world champion title holder, competing internationally winning a few titles. In 2006 my dad decided we were going to immigrate to Cairns Australia and this is where I started my career in Cable Wakeboarding( Wake park riding). I was the first girl to ever land a switch Heelside 900 rotational spin and won the Transworld Best trick in 2012, not to mention I became the female Alliance wake rider of the year and was the first girl to win a double world champion title to my name in 2012. I was also featured in the Oakley all women’s wake film called “ sets in motion” where I had the opening section which was such a huge achievement for me to showcase my talent to girls around the world and to inspire females to wakeboard.
How did you become pro?
I became pro when I started traveling around the globe competing in the World Tour, where I gained a world ranking and started winning major events against top names in the sport . To me being becoming pro is when you get picked up by an International Board company , have a pro model board and start getting paid and this is when I decided I became Pro, when I got picked up by an American Board company called CTRL Wakeboards.
What is the best thing about wakeboarding?
Being able to express your emotions on the water with your own unique input of style. You never get bored and your constantly learning each day. It’s my happy place and a place I love to escape and just be me on the water.
What was your favorite trick?
Mute roll to blind off the kicker
Anyone in your family practice wakeboarding?
No just me. However my family did spend a lot of time behind the boat waterskiing.
What is the hardest thing about being a professional wakeboarder?
I would have to say keeping your body strong as wakeboarding is very demanding on your entire body. Secondly one of the other hardest thing ever in my profession is to obtain the financial opportunities to be able to be supported in the right way and being rewarded for the achievements you do ie being on a front cover, sponsors approaching you because you won the world championships and so forth.
Its also hard when Wake Park riding is a relatively new sport and so many people don’t know what wakeboarding is and this needs to change.
Any scars from wakeboarding?
No, I am really lucky so far.
Where do you get your inspiration for wakeboarding?
I would have to say watching other pro’s ride especially Daniel Grant. This kid inspires me as he is always reinventing new tricks and is just an insane talented rider to watch on the water.
Snowboarding movies also inspire me to get creative ideas.
What are you most proud of in your career so far?
I would have to say the 2012 WWA Wake Park World Championships in Abu Dhabi and the 2012 IWSF World Cup in Tokyo
I worked so hard to the lead up to these two events; I was focused, on point and just felt mentally strong. In the same year I won the two biggest events ever in my career. I Became the first ever female to win a double world champion title to my name and I never ever thought that would happen and it did. I was so proud because hard work did pay off and it was my time to shine “ You just get this feeling and you know no one can get in your way of winning”. In previous world championships I was so close and either placed 2nd or 3rd so winning both was something so special to me and something I look back to each day to fuel my determination and drive.
The win in Tokyo was my biggest payout to date of $5000 USD it was the first ever World Cup and the vision for the 2020 Olympics to try and get wakeboarding to be considered. Something I will never forget.
Tell me some funny stories that happened while wakeboarding?
I would have to say its mostly when I am traveling from contest to contest. One of the funniest things that ever happened is when my friends locked me out of my room and put my whole bedroom out the front of the door as a joke lol and I actually had to sleep out the corridor for the night.
Any Sponsors you would like to thank?
CTRL Wakeboards, Rixen Cableways, Follow wake, Breathe boardwear, Thai Wake Park and LKI
Name three things you couldn’t live without?
My two teddies I got from my dad and my boydriend, My swiss passport to travel, chocolate
Any future plans?
I have been traveling on the road non stop for over 5 years now. So one of my biggest future plans that I am trying to work on at the moment is to get a home base I can call home and travel back and forth to. I am going to continue to reach out to potential sponsors and hopefully next year I will have an opportunity to be sponsored by an energy drink sponsor and a clothing company.
If you could bring three things to an uninhabited island what would it be?
My Pillow, Backpack filled with camping gear, My Bikini
Which famous person would you like to meet?
Eminem, Adam Sandler, Richard Brandson
How do you keep yourself in shape?
I ensure I am active all the time throughout the week and ensure I am eating correctly which is a fundamental key to keeping in shape . I think its really important with the foods we put into our bodies, that’s why I am super conscious about what I eat so I can monitor my daily nutrition.
To give you an idea of my daily routine before the day starts:
Wake Up: I start with an early tea as soon as I wake up with a small snack ie: Fruit, sesame snaps
Work out: Start with a morning walk to warm up followed by either a run or cycle to switch it up as well as a variety of squats and lunges
Breakfast: Big wholesome breakfast with a coffee
Morning: Start with a wakeboard set before lunch
How many hours a day you practice?
I practice 4-6 hrs a day which ranges all the time depending on my stamina. I tend to have 3 sets a day if I can. Morning, Lunch, Afternoon
What music we can find in your iPod?
2 Pac, Swollen members, Santagold, Biggie Smalls
Any other hobbies?
Surfing, Snowboarding, Swimming
Eminem, Chris Hemsworth
What is your favorite quote?
Never give up
What’s the coolest place you’ve ever been?
Geneva, Amsterdam, New York, Los Angeles
Where we can follow you?
Movie: Blue Crush, Just write, The Cobbler
Tv Series: The Big Bang theory, Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul
Actor/Actress: Leonardo Di Caprio, Vince Vaghne, Adam Sandler/ Cameron Diaz
Favorite food: Sushi, Salt n vinegar chips with salsa, avocado and hummus