Steph Caller 2015 British Wakeboard Champion!
July 25th - 27th saw Box End Park in Bedford host the 2015 British Cable Wakeboard Nationals and Animal Team Rider Steph Caller was crowned Women’s National Champion for the third time in her wakeboarding career.
Steph gives us the low down on how the competition went and the state of the girls wakeboarding scene at the moment:
“Boxend is the perfect wakeboard park for a contest as the lake has a nice variety of obstacles, all well spaced out, with plenty of room for inverts between the corners. The big clubhouse and long, sloped bank also make for great spectating.
The qualifications on Friday went really well for me… I had a stand up first pass and although I crashed at the end of my second, it didn’t matter as only your best run counts and I had already scored enough points to come out on top.
I haven’t been riding as much as I would have liked so far this season as my local wakeboard park WMski only has a temporary 2.0 system while the owners are waiting for planning to be approved on a new lake (fingers crossed for next summer) so I really wasn’t expecting such a good result.
Going into the finals on Saturday with the sun shining I was feeling much more positive, but equally more nervous as I really wanted to ride as well as I had the day before. Having qualified first, I was the last rider to go out in the final, so I was able to see all of the other girls ride beforehand. From a tactical point of view this is a great advantage, but watching everyone ride really well before it’s your turn can be a bit off-putting, so I’m not entirely sure what I prefer!
I managed to keep my cool and had a great first run, landing everything cleanly, including a blind judge, transfer, roll to revert and 540. It was really close between the top 4 riders (Katie Batchelor, Sophie Cordery, Chloe Goudie & myself), but my first run had been just enough to secure me the top spot overall so I was able to relax in my second run. I still wanted to try and improve on my score though (which I did by a couple of points). It is the best feeling in the world riding around the lake, with no pressure, knowing that you already have the title.
Even after 10 years of competing, I still get nervous. Sat on the dock, waiting to be passed a handle by the cable operator, I am often thinking ‘Why am I putting myself through this?’ but the buzz I get when I complete my run is like nothing else and 100% worth the nerves!
I was absolutely delighted to win the 2015 Wakeboard Nationals. It meant a lot to me this year in particular as it is my 10th year competing and I recently turned 30! There are so many up and coming younger riders, so it’s great to know I can still give the young guns a run for their money!
I started wakeboarding when I was 20 (10 years ago in 2005!) on a university trip to JBski by Thorpe Park. Back then, there were very few girls riding, let alone competing and it wasn’t long at all before the lads at the lake were encouraging me to enter my first competitions, which I did that same summer. Having snowboarded a fair bit as a teenager (competing at some of the indoor/dryslope UK comps) I picked up wakeboarding pretty quickly and already had a taste for competing. I think competitions in any sport, whatever your level are a great way to progress, because it forces you to set goals and encourages you to practice your tricks over and over again so that you get consistent. Trying to land something for a camera once is one thing, but being able to repeat it time and time again under the pressure of a contest is a totally different game. For some people, the pressure of competing stops them enjoying the sport and they would much prefer to free ride (which is totally fair enough), but for me it adds another element to the sport which I find extremely rewarding – I thrive on the personal challenge of trying to perform in front of a crowd.
Watching the sport grow over the past 10 years (particularly for the women) has been amazing. When I first started competing, girls were getting kudos for even attempting to hit a kicker, a few years later a 360 or a raley was impressive and now you can’t expect a podium finish at a National level without multiple inverts, blind landings and at least a 540 spin. On the international circuit, the women’s level has stepped up yet another notch with riders like Julia Rick and Angelika Schriber really pushing the sport forward.
Recently I have been getting involved in some coaching at the New Forrest Water Park, which has been really rewarding. One of their junior riders Lola Cuckney (9 years old) who I have been coaching entered the nationals at the weekend and got a gold medal in the mini girls category (under 11). It is great to see young girls with heaps of potential getting involved in the sport. I’m really excited to help them progress over the coming years and am pleased that I will definitely be riding in the oldies category by the time these little rippers are in Open!"
Steph has competed in the British Wakeboard Nationals 8 times, achieving: 1 x Bronze, 4 x Silver and as of this weekend 3 x Champion! Her best results on an international stage, are 3rd in Europe and 4th in World.
By winning the nationals this year, Steph has earned herself an invite to the World Cup in Shanghai, China in October. She will also be representing Team GB at the European champs in Italy at the end of September. Good luck Caller!