Two years ago I got to interview the new hotshot rookie on tour named Harley Clifford. This week it’s back over to Australia to talk with the wakeboard freak of nature again and catch up on new things. Harley has been hard at work in these past two years by not only getting every trick in the book down, but even has a whole chapter dedicated to the tricks that only he has done. Enjoy catching up with Harley as his summer in Australia ends and summer in Orlando begins.
WW: Harley, can you give us a little run down on some background info again for all of those who don’t know you?
HC: Harley Clifford is my name. I’m 18 years old. I am born and raised in Australia and I love to wakeboard and surf!
WW: How old were you when you decided you wanted to wakeboard as your profession?
HC: I think it’s always what I wanted to do since I started wakeboarding. It was probably more when I started competing when I was about seven, went in my first contest and ended up winning. I think that just gave me the bug ‘cause ever since then I wakeboarded every day after school and just wanted to learn more and more stuff. Also, when I first came to America and got to meet and hang out with some of the pros, see the way they live and how awesome and fun their lifestyles are, it really drove me to want that.
WW: Was there a rider that you looked up to for inspiration at the time? Are there any riders you still look up to now?
HC: I look up to a lot of different wakeboarders, like Phil and Bob Soven, Aaron Rathy, Parks Bonifay, Danny Harf, Dean Smith, Ben Greenwood, Rusty Malinoski and the list just goes on and on. They are all so awesome to watch and they all have something unique about their riding whether it’s how smooth they land, how good they can grab their tricks or how big they can go. They’re just all so awesome to watch and ride with.
WW: Can you walk us through a normal day in your life right now?
HC: I sort of have two different lives, one in Australia and one in America, but considering I have been in Australia for the past six months and I just got back here two days ago, I’ll walk you through a day in the life in Australia.
First things first, I wake up do the usual brush my teeth, have a shower. Then I usually drive over to my friend Cameron Edwards’ house where we try and invent new crazy breakfast foods all the time. After that I will drive back home, grab my boat and call up my friends Reece Martinz and Brad Teunissen, who I ride with all the time. They will usually meet me at the boat ramp to put the boat in and have two sets each. On the way home we usually stop at the local fish and chip shop to grab some lunch, for me usually the calamari and chips. :) Then we go home to drop the boat off, load up the truck with our surfboards and head down to Snapper Rocks beach with my older brother, Ty, and go surf for a couple hours. After that we will head home and hang out with my younger brother Ethan for a little bit and we usually go to the gym together.
Then by that time it’s about 7:00 PM and we get home and my lovely mum and dad will have dinner prepared for us. After dinner we usually chill on the couches as a family and watch a TV show or two together. Then I usually go hang out with some friends at night or usually I’m just pretty spent from the day and go down to my room and pass out.
WW: Do you prefer the States or Australia for your living needs?
HC: Well, they both have their ups and downs. In Aus I have my family and I have such an awesome group of friends. In the U.S. I have an awesome group of friends as well. In Aus the surf is always good plus wakeboarding is always good, but I don’t have as many people to ride with. In Orlando I tend to wakeboard a lot more ‘cause there are so many people to ride with and I live on the lake in the U.S. In Aus I have to go put my boat in the water every day.
WW: Exactly how dizzy do you get after a Pro Tour run?
HC: Haha, not usually dizzy at all because I’m used to spinning around a lot, but you for sure get more puffed out by the time you’re done with your run compared to riding at home.
WW: You are known for being the best in the biz right now. What do you have to say about that?
HC: I don’t know. I don’t really look at myself in that way at all. I still look up to so many riders and still feel there is so much stuff that I can still learn, but when I do hear that stuff from people it’s just like a dream come true and I’m just fortunate that I had an awesome family who always gave me the opportunities to ride a lot and come to the US to train and everything.
WW: You have landed some of the hardest tricks in the sport today so far. Which would you say was the hardest one to get?
HC: I don’t know? They’re all different, but wake to wake back mobe 7 and the wake to wake backside 1080 were pretty hard, but I recently have been landing both of them pretty consistent which is fun.
WW: Got anything hiding up your sleeves for this season’s move of the year award?
HC: Haha! I guess you guys will have to wait and see, but I might already have something.
WW: Are you working on any film projects this year?
HC: Ummm, nothing crazy just yet. I recently shot a big 3D thing with Oakley and Phillips TV, which you guys should see soon that is pretty insane!
WW: Can you tell us about your pro model board out this year with Liquid Force?
HC: I love my board with Liquid Force. It’s just such a fun, smooth, poppy board and it suits my riding perfectly. I feel so much more comfortable and right at home riding that board than any other board I have ever ridden. It was such an honor to be able to work with the best wakeboard shaper in the world, Jimmy Redmond, on it. Plus I love my graphics. I love my board to be bright and stand out whenever I’m riding, so thanks to Scot Leverett for that!
WW: Where is your favorite place that wakeboarding has taken you?
HC: There are so many cool places wakeboarding has taken me. I’ve pretty much been to every country I can think of, but a couple of my favorites would have to be Italy, Malaysia, Canada and, of course, around Australia.
WW: With all of the gnarly tricks you’ve got on lock, is there a personal favorite?
HC: I don’t really have a favorite trick. I love them all! Wakeboarding to me is so much fun and everything you can do on a wakeboard is fun to me!
WW: Now we all know you shred the boat, but how about the wake parks? Do you have a favorite wake park to visit?
HC: Yeah, riding wake parks is fun. I really like riding Bli Bli Cable Ski and Penrith Cable Ski back in Australia. They are the two best cables I have ever been to.
WW: How do you feel about the growth of that side of the sport?
HC: They are for sure getting bigger and bigger with all the crazy contests and stuff they are having and I love to watch all the crazy things they’re doing with the systems. It’s really good for the sport
WW: What do you have to say to all those people out there saying that boat riding is dying?
HC: Boat wakeboarding will always be at the forefront of wakeboarding. There are so many things that are just so awesome about it. It’s such a good day when you go out with your friends or your family on the boat. It’s super accessible with the amount of lakes, rivers and boats in the world. Plus, with all these new cheaper boats companies are making, it’s just getting more and more affordable. And with the new boats the companies are making, especially MasterCraft’s new X-Star that’s coming out, the wakes are just going to be next level and it is going to push the limits of boat wakeboarding so much further. I can’t wait to see how far we can take this sport!
WW: Anything special we should be looking forward to with this new X-Star?
HC: Not much I can really say except the obvious… the wake is next level and it’s for sure going to help all us riders push this sport to the next level!
WW: Any words of advice to the kids looking up to you?
HC: Just keep it up! Sometimes you’re going to go through rough patches where you aren’t riding well, but just don’t let those days get you down and you will get through them. Just keep the fun going forever!
WW: Shout outs?
HC: My family, Mum, Dad, Ty and Ethan. You guys are the best and I love you. Also to all my sponsors: Liquid Force, MasterCraft, Oakley, Monster Energy and Body Glove.