After a strong summer season and a third place finish at Cable Worlds in the Philippines, Illinois native Jamie Lopina tells us a bit about herself while she packs her bags for yet another weekend away from home to compete on the water.
WW: How old are you and where are you from?
JL: I’m 18 years old and from Minooka, Illinois, about an hour south of Chicago.
WW: How did you get into wakeboarding?
JL: The first time I was introduced to wakeboarding was actually at a summer camp about 3.5 years ago in New Hampshire.
WW: And where did you start riding cable?
JL: I actually never rode cable until I went to OWC in Orlando.
WW: When did you decide to make the move down to Orlando?
JL: Well, we had been coming down here a lot, so I could wakeboard and eventually we decided it would be a lot better if we just moved down here, so that’s what we did.
WW: Who is we?
JL: My mom moved down here for like two years but now she has moved back to Minooka.
WW: So now you are permanently here in Orlando?
JL: Yes, I just started at UCF this Fall.
WW: Do you find it difficult to keep up with school while competing?
JL: No, it is not too bad as long as you can balance your time. I have always strived to get good grades and I don’t want this to change now that I am in college.
WW: What is your major?
JL: English. That has always been the easiest for me.
WW: Are most of your classes online?
JL: Yes, all of my classes are. I am planning on going to Australia for most of the winter, so I will probably stick to just online classes for now.
WW: What are your other plans for the rest of this year?
JL: After a month in the Phillies for Worlds at CWC, I head back to Orlando to ride some more boat. After that, I’m going to Australia for January and February then it is back to contest season.
WW: Have you ever been to the Philippines?
JL: No, this was my first time there.
WW: What goals do you have set?
JL: I just want to progress my riding as much as I can and focus on getting wakeboarding more and more exposure.
WW: You ride and compete in both boat and cable competitions. Which do you prefer?
JL: I like them both evenly. They are both different, so if you ever get tired of one you can go to the other or vice versa.
WW: So far what have been some of your career highlights?
JL: Well, this year I won Plastic Playground, which was pretty sick. It was also the first year they had a women’s division, so it was awesome that I got to compete and even to take the win. I also won FISE back in May, which was a highlight for me. I got third at Cable Worlds. I also did well in boat Worlds, so it has been overall a really good year for me.
WW: What do you do off the water to help your wakeboarding?
JL: I go to the gym four times a week and I also go to 9 Round, which is a boxing gym here in Orlando. I like to stretch and sleep (haha).
WW: What are the ups and downs of wakeboarding, your worst and best moments?
JL: Ah! Last year at Cable Worlds I flew into Dubai, drove into Abu Dhabi and then crashed on a kicker first hit off the dock and was out of the contest. I will never fall like that again (haha)!
Also, my first boat contest in the WWA two years ago was at Nationals. I ended up falling on a tantrum very first trick, got up and fell on a 360 second trick. Hah, so those are my lows. To go somewhere and then to crash out is definitely the worst thing. The best is just to have a great set and look back on it and be like, "Ah, that was sick!"
WW: Where do you find your inspiration for wakeboarding?
JL: Probably from everyone that I ride with since we are all pretty unique, so I like to take pieces from everyone’s riding and try to make it my own.
WW: Who are some of your favorite riders to ride with or watch ride?
JL: Well, obviously Nicola Butler (haha), but pretty much any of the boys. They know who they are!
WW: What would you want to see changed with contests?
JL: I just want to see more girls show up to contests and get more recognition for it, especially at the cable. Boat is definitely better about it, but cable needs some work. I know they probably won’t until more girls start competing, so more girls just need to get out and ride.
WW: Who would you like to thank?
JL: I would like to thank my Mommy and Daddy, Ronix, WakeWorld and the boys.