Personally, I’m a terrible wake park rider. I always knock myself out on the corners! Angelika Schriber on the other hand has it dialled. She has been killing it on the wake park scene for quite sometime. What she does on that cable is nothing short of mind blowing. Inspired by her ambition, achievements and the healthy, inspired life she leads I caught up with her to find out a bit more about her days as a professional wakeboarder.
Hey Angelika, you’re a South African/Aussie Wakeboarder. How did you get into wakeboarding and become a champion wake park rider?
I grew up in Johannesburg South Africa. At 19, I immigrated to Australia with my dad. My dad has been the biggest influence in my life. He shaped me towards the career I have today. He was so passionate about water sports and got our whole family to try it out. My first time waterskiing was when I was 5 and ½ and I started competing at the age of 12. Once in Australia, dad gave me a huge opportunity and bought my first Mastercraft X Star boat. By this time I had chosen wakeboarding over waterskiing. In 2001 I won the Junior World Championships and proved to dad that this is what I really wanted to do, “I made him so proud”.
In 2008, my dad was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease. That has definitely been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with. I’m still dealing with it today, not having my dad by my side to see how far I have come. As a consequence, we had to sell the boat and I committed 110 % to wake park riding. I’ve been traveling on the professional wake park tour for 6 years now, competing in all the major tour stops. I 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 for everything that I have accomplished so far. I know my dad would be proud and I am nothing but grateful.”
Are there lots of girls getting into wake park?
Wake park riding is a new extreme sport that is quickly becoming very popular with girls around the globe. There are loads of girls riding and producing edits which is fantastic to see. The numbers are definitely growing, especially with so many kids coming up. When you travel to a wake park, you see so many more girls on the dock waiting to ride. When I chat to them, they usually say “they love wakeboarding and became hooked”. The vibe at the wake park is always fun, girls really enjoy it. Not to mention it gives you the best overall workout. It’s a fun sport, you never get bored. You can hang out with your friends, go doubles around the lake and you’re always learning something new.
When it comes to the world tour, us girls get along quite well. On the water it’s game-on but off the water, we’re all friends. We have a steady 8-10 girls who follow the tour, however this number is inconsistent. Financially, it’s hard to make it to all the tour stops as the lack of funding and publicity is minimal. It’s getting better with the Monster Triple Crown getting involved with prize money and overall tour placing. I would like to see more girls competing on tour, trying to get out of their comfort zone.
You’ve had a lot of success on the competition circuit, is competition the main way to get recognised in wakeboarding?
“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 represent their company and become an ambassador for the sport.”
I am super happy with how far I have come and what I have achieved. I feel it is important to compete on tour and to make a name for yourself. To let the industry know who you are. However once you are established, competing is not everything. It’s amazing to win and make extra money, not to mention it takes a lot of mental focus and strength to maintain that top spot. However, the reason I still compete today is because I want to continue supporting female wakeboarding and make sure we always have the numbers on tour. I enjoy the feeling I get when I am about to compete. It’s passion and fire and it’s me out there. When you win it’s an added financial bonus which can definitely help if you don’t always have the support from sponsors. That being said, there are other opportunities in the sport. It’s important to produce quality video edits and showcase what you are doing on the water. This is becoming more important as time goes on.
Companies are looking for people who have the whole package. Girls that can market themselves and be an ambassador for their brand and product. This is what I am looking towards. I would like to do more advertising/marketing and promotions for brands out there, while building my social media presence. I’m always looking for more opportunities and searching for the brands that are interested in my lifestyle.
Tell us about your most memorable wakeboarding event?
“You just get this feeling and you know no one can get in your way of winning.”
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 in 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 in my career. I became the first ever female to win a double world championship title. I never ever thought that would happen and it did! I was so proud because the hard work did pay off. It was my time to shine. In previous world championships, I was so close and placed either 2nd or 3rd, so winning both events was something really special. I look back on this frequently to fuel my determination and drive. The win in Tokyo was my biggest payout to date at $5000 USD. It was the first ever world cup event as well as being the vision for the 2020 Olympics to include wakeboarding. It was very special.
How do you approach trying a new trick, do you visualise it or work it out in a trampoline before taking it to the wake park?
When it comes to a new trick, I tend to visualise the trick beforehand so I understand the manoeuvre. I break the trick down into steps so I understand it and once I know what it entails, I go out and just give it a go and see what happens.
To me, wake park riding is about a feeling, something clicks and you understand how to do the trick. I also watch other pro men wakeboarders on certain tricks. From time to time I ask my boyfriend, pro rider Matty Hasler to show me or explain the trick. This definitely help, as he breaks the trick down step by step.
Matty Hasler and Angelika Schriber at Black Mountain wake park:
How do you stop fear getting the better of you and halting your progression? Have you any advice to other girls?
I feel we all have fear from time to time. The best advice I can give to girls is take it step by step. Sometimes going back to basics is the best thing to do. 10 steps back is one step forward in the right direction. Make sure you break the trick you’re about to learn down, or the rail your about to hit. Visualise it in your mind and try to feel comfortable with it. Personally, when I don’t think too much about the trick and go out and just do it, it tends to work for me. Everyone is different. Another option which tends to work when I am afraid is, I have the boys on the side cheering me saying ‘you can do it‘. They screaming at me saying “GO” so I feel I can’t back away and have to try it. I only do things I know am capable of. They wouldn’t push me if they didn’t believe I could do it. That tactic hasn’t let me down yet!
What new tricks are you working on now and what is your favourite trick to do?
I am working on an Indy backside 720. I love doing backside 7’s and to add a grab to that manoeuvre is something that the boys are doing. It would be rad for a girl to do. My favourite trick is a mute back roll to blind. It feels really stylish. I enjoy doing this trick over my boyfriend for a cool selfie photo, haha.
You’re really into nutrition and fitness, do you follow any training schedule or specific diet?
“Your body is your idol and the way you treat it, is what you’re going to get out.”
I did have a personal trainer in Australia, however being on tour most of the year, it’s hard to maintain one. Being my own personal coach and instructor motivates me to be healthy, fit, mentally strong and to stay in shape. Your body is your idol and the way you treat it is what you’re going to get out.
The mornings are definitely something that I most look forward. I get excited to wake up to and start my day. When I was in Australia I had a routine that worked well for me, however when I’m on the road for 10 months of the year, I try to maintain a routine as best I can.
My diet and routine at home:
- When I wake up, I start the day with a green tea and a small snack of either a Blue Dinosaur Paleo nutrient bar, homemade sesame snaps, or a banana before I head out. I try to switch it up each morning depending on what I am feeling.
- Go for a morning walk to warm up, then a run or cycle followed by a lot of lunges and crab walks for my knees. I tend to switch this up to give my body a different work out each day.
- Yoga and relaxing stretch session after my run when my body is still warm.
- Jump in the ocean to cool down and do breaststroke to stretch my legs.
Breakfast at home: I switch it up from time to time depending on what I’m feeling. I either have:
- Omelet with tomato, mushrooms, spinach, sugar snap peas and a bit of chili.
- Gluten-free toast with almond butter, honey and a slice of banana with a sprinkling of chia on top.
- A bowl of mixed fruit with nuts, chia and coconut milk.
- A big glass of water and a coffee if I feel I need an extra boost. I enjoy my 1-cup of coffee but sometimes I take breaks to not have it every morning.
- I make sure I have Metagenics Fibroplex water every morning. My naturopath recommended it to maintain good energy for my muscles throughout the day.
My diet and routine on tour:
- I start with a green tea and a small snack, anything healthy I can find when in a different country: dates, prunes, a handful of nuts or a banana.
- Go for a morning walk to warm up, then a run and a bike ride around the area. I’ll do some squats, lunges and cross overs.
- Yoga and a relaxing stretch session after my run when my body is still warm.
- Cold shower to cool down. Cold water is good for your muscles and for blood-flow.
Breakfast on tour: It’s similar to what I do in Australia, however if I can’t find what I am looking for I try and make the best possible choices. In Thailand I have been mixing it up with:
- A cup of coffee in the morning with soy milk and a bowl of fruit with a chia seeds and a lot of cinnamon.
- Bacon and eggs with gluten-free toast (if I can’t find gluten free, I don’t have toast).
- Bottle of water with Metagenics Fibroplex to keep me energised and help my muscles.
- After breakfast I head to the wake park to ride and start my day.
You scored a magazine front cover, tell us about that!
My first ever front cover was last years bikini issue for Wake Journal. I was jumping with joy when they asked me to be featured. I’ve never been on a front cover and to mention, in my bikini! I was so happy with how it turned out. I hope it opens some doors to more opportunities. I would like to do more of these kinds of things and show people that I not only wakeboard but can also model.
What is the best advice anyone ever gave you and who gave it to you?
Be independent. Don’t wait for others to do things for you. Go out and get it. Travel the world while you’re young and gain as much experience as possible. Be yourself. My dad said this from an early age.
What advice would you give to any girl wanting to follow your path and become a professional wakeboarder?
I would have to say, make a home base you can always go back to and from here, travel as much as you can. Network and ride as many wake parks as possible to gain experience. Stay true to yourself and what you want to achieve. Don’t get side tracked and forced into doing something you don’t want to do. Just be you.
What does wakeboarding mean to you and why should other girls try it?
Wakeboarding is a sport that I can express myself and showcase my individual style and technique. It’s the place I feel happiest and all my worries go away. I enjoy every moment when I’m on my wakeboard. It’s my happy place and I love just being on the water.
Girls should try it out. It’s a fun sport. You never get bored, you’re always learning something new and you can put your style and influence in the tricks you learn. It’s a sport you can enjoy with friends in the water and sunshine. You get the opportunity to travel the world and to see so many cultures and experience new places that you never thought you would travel to.
Thanks Angelika. You’re spirit and positivity is so inspiring. We’re really excited to follow your career :-)
Follow Angelika Schriber on her travels across her Facebook, Instagram or her YouTube channel.