Amber Wing is one of the most progressive and innovative woman wakeboarders in our sport today. Amber Wing has made her mark in this sport by landing new tricks, winning major events and producing video parts that we have all known to enjoy and respect. She is one of the nicest girls you will ever meet off the water and is always a joy to be with on the water. She is still the only female to land a 900 behind a boat and I don’t think the progression will stop there. Read on to get to know Amber a little more than you did before.
WW: Amber, from where in Australia do you hail?
AW: 30 Minutes south of Sydney, Australia, a famous wakeboard community called 'The Hacko.' We ride on the Port Hacking River, which is the most southern river in the city of Sydney. Legends from the Hacko include Marshall Harrington, Reece Jordan, Kylie 'Froggatt' Jordan and Paul Boyd just to name a few.
WW: Now some may or may not know this, but you come from a very powerful water sports family. What was it like for you growing up in this environment?
AW: Growing up in my family was no ordinary upbringing. Well, I guess it was normal for me. I am from a family of five people, Mum and Dad, Joel, my older brother, and Dominique, my younger sister. My parents would wake us up around 5:00 AM and there would be our swimming costume, sweat pants and hoodie on the bed. We would get dressed and jump up on the nose of the boat where a pillow and sleeping bag would be.
The boat would be towed to the launch ramp. Mum, Dad and Joel would ski. Then Dominique and I would be woken up to have our turn. Most of the time I didn’t want to ski and Mum would make me ski. Dad would let me off the hook if I really begged. Mum would say "You will have fun. You really enjoy it when you get out there." I would be in tears getting in the water and then be smiling once I was skiing trying to hide my face so Mum couldn’t see me smiling. Generally we would trick ski. Then the family would pull the boat out, flush (we were in salt water) and wash the boat, get ready for school. Dad would go to work at 8:15 AM and we would be at school by 9:00 AM.
Crazy now that I look back. These mornings happened a couple times a week since…well…I can’t even remember I was so young. On weekends we would head to a lake that had a three-event site as that was what my parents were into after they had kids. Before that, my mum was a world champion race skier and also into barefooting and my dad was into barefooting, holding the backwards speed record in the Guinness World Record book.
I have so many fun memories from growing up in the boat. It is amazing family time.
WW: How often do you thank your mum for making you get in that water these days?
AW: Haha, it's a bit of a joke in my family. When I found wakeboarding, I was brainwashed and suddenly loved going out in the boat and the cold didn't bother me as much when I would ride early in the morning. I see my mum as my mentor and hero. She is an inspirational woman.
WW: Did you do any other sports before wakeboarding took off for you?
AW: Mostly gymnastics. Well, 15 years of competitive gymnastics, trampolining and dancing.
WW: It seems like gymnastics runs in the wakeboarding background for a lot of riders. Do you feel it helped you become a better wakeboarder or was it just all the years on the water growing up?
AW: Growing up on the water gave me a grounding and understanding of load and reaction. Listening to my dad coach my brother in trick skiing helped a lot. Gymnastics gave me strength, agility and aerial sense, and also a knowledge of how to get the best performance out of my body while being aware of weaknesses and fixing them before they turn into an injury.
WW: All I hear about the rivers in Australia is that they are filled with bull sharks. Does that not bother you at all?
AW: It does not bother me. The river I grew up on does not have bull sharks like the rivers on the Gold Coast. In Sydney we ride in pure salt, where you can see 20 feet down crystal clear, or fresh water.
WW: Were there any riders that you wanted to become just like?
AW: Not really. As a gymnast, I idolized Nadia Comaneci. However, when I got into wakeboarding, I didn’t want to have a coach and wanted to do it my way. I guess I was rebelling from 15 years of gymnastics where you are always being told what to do and how to do it. When I had a full time job, the one wakeboard poster I had at my desk was Shane nose pressing on his LF Trip. It’s a sick shot.
WW: What was the first wakeboard video you owned?
AW: I can’t remember the first wakeboard movie I owned. I think it was a video of the Pro Tour my dad ordered from America so I could see what the best girls in the world did on a wakeboard.
WW: When was your first international trip for wakeboarding and where did you go?
AW: My first international trip for wakeboarding was a three-week trip to Japan for the Asian Australasian Championships, then on to Orlando for the WWA Worlds in 2002.
WW: Not only were you the first female to land a 720 behind the boat, but you are also the first to land a 900. How did that first ever women’s 900 behind the boat feel?
AW: When I was riding away I couldn’t believe I was still standing on my board. I was shocked. It was an amazing feeling. I remember during the set my mind frame changing about the way I thought about the trick. I always believed I could land it, but when I was so close on my first few attempts I remember thinking I know I can land this within the next two attempts. I did. When you work towards anything in life, achieving it is always a great feeling.
WW: Do you feel if the double up looks good or the kicker is big enough that we will see a 1080 from you or any other girls some day?
AW: Yes, definitely. I think over the next year it's possible to see a 1080 and double flip from a female rider.
WW: You have been riding for Liquid Force wakeboards since I first saw you ride, as well as having a pro model with them for a few years. What's it like being a part of the Liquid Force family for all this time?
AW: It’s great. Melissa and I get along like sisters and love traveling and working together and helping each other out. It’s nice to be friends with the people on your team as it makes traveling and staying at week-long photo shoots pretty fun. Liquid Force really supports Melissa and I in whatever path we choose to take our wakeboarding. They are a great company to work with.
WW: Now, like most Aussie wakeboarders, you live in Florida for your winter months and our summer, but where could we find you in Florida?
AW: From March until October you can find me hanging around The Wakeboard Camp in Clermont, Florida. I love how quiet and away from Orlando it is. Very peaceful.
WW: Can you tell us more about your role with The Wakeboard Camp?
AW: I would say I am an ambassador for The Wakeboard Camp. They have supported me for a long time, providing boats to ride behind and quality coaches. Whenever I would be out riding, the people in the boat would know what I would be doing wrong and help me correct it and to progress in wakeboarding. Kyle Schmidt, Ben Greenwood and Kurt Robinson are all great coaches. And around the camp, it’s a great learning environment.
WW: Who would we normally see you riding with out on the lake?
AW: Mostly I ride with Dean Smith, Hayley Smith, Ben Greenwood and Bob Sichel. I try and ride with other people when I can and it works out like Aaron Rathy, Trevor Hansen, Rusty, Danny Harf, Chad Sharpe, Chris O’Shea, Watson, and Nicola Butler. And I used to ride with Keith Lyman a lot as well.
WW: Do you enjoy the wake park side of the sport as well as boat?
AW: I enjoy going to cable parks with good rails. I just don’t like standing in line. I like to feel that my days are productive and I am not very good at standing or sitting around. I love going to The Projects and hitting the rails behind the ski. Henshaw builds crazy rails that he asks me if I want to have a try. So even though I am riding boat every day, I still have fun on rails and go to the cable park occasionally.
WW: What are your thoughts on the sport not just being about riding behind a boat anymore?
AW: Sports always branch off in different directions. Cable is fun and many people love it. They love going to the cable park for the day and it is a great family environment. More cable parks are opening and are much more accessible to the general public on a daily basis. In saying that I feel boat will never die, it is a close family environment as well where everyone has fun and the social interaction in the boat is hard replicate anywhere else. People enjoy the day on the lake wakeboarding, wakesurfing, skiing, barefooting, shoe skiing, kneeboarding, tubing, you name it. So many activities in your back yard or down the street or the family holiday at the lake cabin. It’s a lifestyle that many generations love and will continue to love. My grandparents had boats, my parents have had a boat my entire life and I will always have a boat!
WW: You have now won countless awards and events, taken women’s riding to new levels and devoted yourself to the lifestyle of the sport we call wakeboarding. What are you most proud of and is there anything else you still want to accomplish?
AW: This year is my tenth year on tour, which is a crazy thought to me. My first year on tour I thought would be my only year. Making a living out of wakeboarding was beyond my wildest dreams. I think that is my biggest accomplishment. Winning Queen of Wake last year was a huge accomplishment for me. Also, landing a 900 was very memorable for me.
I am in the process of making a women’s wakeboard movie. The girls are pushing the sport, riding hard and learning new tricks. I see them riding and know what they are doing, so I want to show the world. It is my project for this year and I am really excited about it all coming together.
WW: You are making a female wakeboard film? Can you tell us more about this project?
AW: It's a progressive female wakeboard movie giving the girls a chance to show the world what they can do on their boards. About two weeks ago I got the confirmation of support from Oakley's 1242 production company. This project has been on my mind for a year and half. I have had so much positive support from every company in the industry, making this project really exciting.
WW: Any words of advice to the young girls out there that look up to you?
AW: Haha, stay in school and finish your education and further your education. Keep your eyes and ears open to the world. There is so much you can learn every day. Do what you love and love what you do and dream big. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it.
WW: Would you like to thank anyone for the success of your career?
AW: There are way too many people on this list. Everyone who has ever helped me, thank you for taking me wakeboarding, putting a roof over my head and having faith in me that I would succeed and be a positive ambassador for your company.
Amber is sponsored by Liquid Force, Malibu Boats, Oakley,
Rockstar, Wing Wetsuits, The Wakeboard Camp and Straight Line.