The last time I saw Amber Wing was at a demo day at Lake Elsinore where she was teaching a boat load of women wakeboarding and wakesurfing. The demo was packed and because Amber spends so much time making sure each rider gets as much coaching as possible, they were getting behind schedule. I was on another boat and we were done riding, so we headed over to offer to help lighten their load by taking a few of the riders for a pull behind our boat. We got a “thanks, but no thanks” as Amber made it clear that she was going coach each and every rider that came out to her demo day no matter how long it takes.
The time before was at another demo day where Amber was teaching a physically disabled woman how to ride a two-tower system. Amber gave it her all, but was having trouble understanding how to coach somebody riding a custom sit-down wakeboard to negotiate the turns at each end. So Amber strapped herself into the rig and went out and did a few laps to get a feel for exactly how the special wakeboard behaved and how to help this woman. Sure enough, it did the trick and before long Amber had taught this young lady how to ride the cable.
You can look long and hard, but you’d be hard pressed to find somebody quite like Amber Wing. Her total dedication to progressing not just wakeboarding in general, but women’s wakeboarding in particular, is unmatched by any rider in the sport’s history. And while she progresses the sport, her riding has done the same making her one of the top contest riders and one of the most-watched female freeriders in the sport.
Amber’s success in both areas can be attributed to a relentless drive and good old fashioned hard work. It’s safe to say that the sport of wakeboarding would not be where it is today without Amber’s contributions. It’s no wonder we wanted to interview her and find out more about what makes her tick!
WW: You just returned to the U.S. from summer down in Australia. Tell us about your summer.
AW: Summer was busy and went by really fast. I worked at Wing Wetsuits November to January, then filmed with Kilgus is February, competed in a World Cup stop early March to then jump on a plane and be back in the states mid March. It was fun though.
WW: What are your plans for this season in the U.S.?
AW: My calendar is filling, that’s for sure. Competing in all the Pro Women events, along with Ronix and Malibu demos, it’s looking like yet another busy summer. I am excited.
WW: You spoke out about the lack of a Pro Women division on the Pro Tour when the 2014 schedule was announced. Since then, at least one new event has been added with a Pro Women division. What do you think needs to be done to get more pro events for women in the U.S.?
AW: Since the announcement of the Pro Women being dropped from the Pro Tour, which is only two contests, we have been told that there are three new Pro Women events added to our calendar this year. So we have plenty of events this year and, as I said earlier, with contests, demos and photo shoots, my calendar is full.
At the moment we have 15 ladies riding in Pro Women in boat events. I think there are around 40 men. I want to encourage more girls to ride more contests. We are definitely lacking some depth in contests on the women’s side of things both in boat and more so cable. The U.S. Nationals had four ladies for rail and five for the cable event compete. I know there are way more girls out there that ride and are ripping who should come and compete. Competing is fun. It’s a fun way to build friendships and it also pushes your riding. If you land a trick in contests it helps when you go back and ride to build on that trick as you have it strong because you landed it under pressure.
The more girls that compete, the more pull we have for increasing prize money and events for pro women in all aspects of the sport.
WW: Whatever happened to the Australian Pro Tour? Do you see that ever making a comeback?
AW: The Australian Pro Tour ran out of sponsor money and people dedicating their time to making it happen. Hopefully, one day the Australian Pro Tour will make a comeback.
WW: You were one of the masterminds behind the all-female film, Sets In Motion. Do you have any plans for future videos?
AW: Yeah, most definitely. I am filming for Prime, which is my number one focus night now. I encouraged the girls to film and use Sets in Motion as a platform to post videos. See what happens. I know a few of the girls have been working on some stuff and filming.
WW: What do you think is the best way to showcase women’s wakeboarding?
AW: For sure through videos, riding at their home cable park, lake or wherever they learn new tricks, video them and post them. Web reaches the biggest audience and is a great way to showcase what the girls can really do on their board, not just people seeing what happens in contests.
WW: You had been riding for Liquid Force as long as I can remember. What prompted the change to Ronix at the beginning of the year?
AW: I had been thinking about it for a little while, making my next plan of what I wanted to do. I saw so much potential in Ronix for me and wanted to take advantage of that. I am really excited to be working with Ronix, stoked to be on a team with Dallas Friday and Hayley Smith. Together we can really build the women's side of the brand together.
WW: What does riding Ronix mean to you?
AW: It means I am working with a team of riders to further build and progress the sport we all love. I have support to pursue the goals I want to achieve both personally on the water and for women’s wakeboarding.
WW: How is it riding on the same team as your man (Dean Smith)?
AW: Haha, awesome! I get to hang out with him at the Ronix lake! Dean pushes me and helps me progress my riding the way I want to, so I am stoked that he can help me progress along with the facilities that Lake Ronix has to offer.
WW: What would you like to see happen in your future with Ronix.
AW: I want to help grow the women’s side of the brand, reaching out to more ladies and bringing wakeboarding to girls of all ages who have never had the opportunity to try it.
WW: Are you stoked about being able to ride at Lake Ronix?
AW: Yes!! So excited. Hayley and I have started to make plans on things we want to do out there. We are really excited!
WW: What board and bindings are you riding?
AW: I am riding the FHL (Faith Hope Love) boots on the Code 22.
WW: It seems like every time I run into you, you are teaching somebody to wakeboard. Do you feel a responsibility to spread your wakeboarding knowledge to others?
AW: Haha, yeah, for sure I do. I feel like I can make an impact on a girl’s first wakeboard experience that she then wants to go again and again. With only girls in the boat there is no pressure and I have never had a girl not stand up on a wakeboard. I get paid to wakeboard and that to me includes introducing as many people to the sport as possible. I really enjoy meeting new people and teaching them.
WW: Who do you consider the most influential women’s wakeboarder of all time?
AW: Dallas Friday…who else has an ESPY?
WW: Which current pro wakeboarders influence you and why?
AW: Dean Smith. I watch him ride most days, going massive. Keith Lyman still does. He sent me a FB message telling me what new tricks to try the other day (haha). When I was flicking through wakeboarding mag today I saw a sequence of Langley that inspired me and also out riding with Danny Harf lately. All influence and make me push myself to try different things.
WW: How do you set up your Malibu Wakesetter 22 MXZ for wakeboarding?
AW: Along with factory, I have the Wedge down. Additional sacks, I have about 20% more weight in the back than the front. I ride 80-foot rope and 23.4 MPH.
WW: Do you wakesurf much?
AW: A little. I had a lot of fun surfing with the girls at my demo at Lake Elsinore.
WW: What do you do when you need to get away from wakeboarding?
AW: Yoga and gardening.
WW: What’s your favorite kind of rail/hit?
AW: I love hitting the kicker at the cable or a flat step up flat.
WW: Which would you rather have in your backyard; a lake with a boat on it or a lake with a full-size cable on it?
AW: Lake with a boat for sure!!
WW: Is there anyone you’d like to thank?
AW : Oakley, Rockstar, Malibu Boats, Ronix, Wing Wetsuits. Without these companies I would not be able to pursue my passion and achieve my goals in wakeboarding. Thank you.