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Courtney Angus: Wakeboard Queen

Courtney Angus: Wakeboard Queen

Generation Y’s Courtney Angus was born and raised on the Gold Coast. She has proven herself to be world’s undisputed ‘Queen of Wakeboarding’ having won the World Wakeboard Association (WWA) Wake Park World Championships in 2013 and victories at WWA Triple Crown Series in 2014 and 2015 as well as many other major competitions here and abroad. Confessing that she is all hard work and no talent, Courtney shares her fascinating journey of personal realization that has made her one of the world’s best wakeboard riders.

An instinctive athlete, Courtney grew up training on sacred waters at the exact stretch of river where the legendary Gold Coast water ski icon Keith Williams established the Surfers Paradise Ski Gardens in the 1950’s. “I grew up in Benowa Waters and skied on the Nerang River. My earliest recollections were of my Dad setting me up in the pool with a wakeboard strapped on while he ran along pulling my tow rope.”

So great was her father, Chris’s commitment that he took the kids skiing on the Nerang River at Carrara before and after school during summer months and every weekend all year round. “I learned to waterski and wakeboard from a very young age. I competed in my first ever Australian Wakeboard Nationals when I was seven and remember winning the U9s division when I was eight. Dad always gave me the best opportunity to get out on the water and progress my riding. We travelled all over Australia competing and even took a trip to America to visit one of the best wake camps.”

Confirming her world title pedigree, she won her first international crown in 2005 in the Under-14’s age group. So good was her junior success that Courtney decided to turn professional as a career path. “Throughout high school I said I would be a pro wakeboarder, and when it came time to find a job or go to university, it was very obvious to me that I had to follow my passion to wakeboard as a professional rider.” She went on to become the youngest ever WWA Pro Women’s Features World champion.

Courtney confirms the importance of cross training for extreme sports athletes which helps to condition the body for grueling training sessions and high impact crashes. “I go rock climbing, do lots of yoga, bike rides and snowboarding.”

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Living and working as an instructor at Cables Wake Park in Penrith NSW gives her unlimited access to on water training. “My training schedule changes depending on events. I never have an off-season because I am always following the summer across the globe—in the US, Europe and Australia. During the Australian summers, I am focused getting my body in the best physical condition and learning new tricks. I give myself a break from contests and train at the gym four to six times per week and only wakeboard once a day achieving set goals. During the northern hemisphere’s summer and coming up to a contest, I ride two to three times per day, every day in order to become consistent.”

Sponsored by Rockstar Energy, Hyperlite and Fox, Courtney has competed internationally in China, Thailand, Philippines, UK, US and France over the last three years. “Chasing the endless summers is awesome and rather hot. I get to experience living in different cultures and have friends in every country.” She has her sights set on the 2016 Plastic Playgrounds Wake Park Championships in London which has recently added a women’s division. “Last year was the second year of the event and it is taking wakeboarding events to another level. The format is really entertaining for spectators and challenging for the riders.” Last year the Ministry of Sound, an internationally recognized dance party music promotions company sponsored the event.

Back in Australia, Courtney won the Wakeboard Australian Open, a professional boat-powered event that makes her one of the six pro women’s spots at this year’s Moomba Masters, an international water ski and wakeboard event held in Melbourne. “I grew up riding behind the boat. Now that I have had so much time on the water at cable parks, when I come back to riding behind the boat, my board control is great and I can progress very quickly with the competition leaders.”

Courtney has a fully stacked trick list and manages to find unique riding lines that always impress the judges. Competing in elite competitions on Australian waters against the country’s best is an adrenalin rush for this 22-year old. “Over the last three years it has definitely been the girls from down under who have pushed me the most. A few times, while competing in the US, there has been an all Aussie podium! Australian female wakeboarders, such as Sophie Hogben and Ange Schribber, are very competitive riders.”

This extreme sport is not without its serious dangers. Courtney has had many knockouts and concussions behind the boat. “At the moment, I am nursing two ruptured discs in my back. I still ride every day. However, a full recovery is taking a very long time. Disciplining myself to daily yoga and regular massaging ensures I can continue to train reasonably pain-free while I work towards a return to peak fitness.” To ensure she does not scare anyone from trying to wakeboard, Courtney confides, “If you engage an experienced coach in a cable park, you will have a very safe and pleasant experience. Request your first lessons to be on the 2.0 linear cable systems which are the easiest to start out on. Everyone can try it from four years old just as long as they can swim.”

Courtney grew up riding behind the boat, but now she is definitely more passionate about wakeboarding at cable parks. “Generally the park’s higher pulling cables mean I can improve my tricks easier in a park than behind a boat. And if I do crash, the slower speeds mean less chance of serious injury. Parks also allow trick progress because there are so many options such as kickers, rails and flat water tricks. Behind the boat you are limited because you only have the boat wake to work with.”

The absence of a cable park on the Gold Coast means Courtney must be separated from her family for most of the year. “If there was a cable park here I will be back in a heartbeat and it will be a dream come true. A high quality cable park in this city would be an excellent tourism offering and would attract wakeboarders worldwide.”

As an internationally recognized advocate for wakeboarding, Courtney spends a lot of time coaching up-and-coming riders and is a role model to the many hundreds of young wakeboarders who take her classes each year. “I advise my students about the importance of goal-setting and the dedication to practice that leads to the consistency required to be good, not only at wakeboarding but everything they hope to achieve in life.” About her own success, Courtney admits that it is her tomboy competitive nature of not wanting to lose that makes her so good.

Cable wakeboarding is one of the fastest growing extreme sports and will be a feature sport for the 2020 Olympic Games. Meanwhile, Courtney continues to tweak her style while integrating new high-flying aerials to her repertoire. She waits patiently for a cable park to finally open in her hometown, so that one day the first international wakeboarding event will be held on the Gold Coast. Only then can the ‘Queen of Wakeboarding’ show the city all the tricks of her trade.

 

Interview by Andrew Kancachian

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