Articles
   
       
Pics/Video
       
Wake 101
   
       
Shop
Search
Search
 
 
 
 
 
Home   Articles   Pics/Video   Gear   Wake 101   Events   Community   Forums   Classifieds   Contests   Shop   Search
WAKE WORLD HOME



Not Just Another Harley Interview

Share 

This interview was originally posted on TheOutsidersOnline.com.
Be sure to check it out for wake, photography, art, music, videos and much more.

 
Harley CliffordWhat’s there to say about Harley Clifford that hasn’t already been said? The kid is a living legend. At 20 years old he’s shaping the sport right before our eyes. While others have to choose between style and technical ability, Harley blends both effortlessly. After an exhilarating game of phone tag, Harley finally had a couple of hours to sit down with us to chat about wakeboarding, family and everything in between. Let’s take a minute to humanize this FREAK before he’s whisked off on another trip courtesy of his sponsors…
 
What’s a typical day for Harley Clifford?
HC: A typical day for me is to wake up, usually around 10:00 or 11:00 AM, eat some breakfast and then go wakeboarding. Come back in and eat; I don’t really do a lot of cooking, mostly just go get food. Usually hang out around the house and then go ride again. I’ll go skateboarding quite a bit too, but I always try to wakeboard at least twice a day. Some days I try and attempt to be productive and go to the gym or do some emails. Every day is different I guess. It’s always so busy though. Being in the position that I am, there’s always photo shoots and traveling that I have to do. I always have days off too. I think that’s important.
 
Do you ever get weird Direct Messages on Instagram?
HC: Lately I’ve been getting some suuuuper creepy direct messages on Instagram. A lot of random nakeds (laughs). The other day I had something like 170 direct messages that I hadn’t accepted over the past couple weeks. I was bored going through them the other day and thought, whatever, I’ll just accept some of them. I accepted like 15 and five of them were nudes (laughs).
 
Harley CliffordWhat were the rest?
HC: The rest are little kids that send me videos of them wakeboarding. Strange mix, but, yeah, I definitely get some weird ones.
 
No doubt this has been a pretty busy year for you. How has filming for Prime been?
HC: It’s been crazy filming for Prime. I’ve been to some pretty sick locations and done some stuff that has never been done before. Riding with great riders like Danny, Steel, Shota and Rusty and just watching how much everyone can improve when we are together is crazy. Just vibing off each other and trying new stuff has been a really cool experience.
 
If you had to pick one rider, who do you think has been the most influential in your career?
HC: Phil Soven has probably been the most influential rider for me. I think Rathy has been a pretty big influence for everyone too. Danny Harf has been a massive influence from a different perspective as well. Growing up in Australia, I didn’t even know who Phil Soven was. I would just hear that there’s this little kid called Froggy and he’s like 12 years old and the best in the world. I wanted to be the best in the world.
 
Harley CliffordHearing all these stories about him motivated me to ride harder. The way Phil has continually pushed the contest scene the last couple years has been a huge inspiration to me. He’s been the guy right behind me or, sometimes, even beating me and that has been a huge influence on how hard I push myself.
 
Do you ever get tired of winning? Does it lose its excitement?
HC: No, not really. I’m so competitive and we train so hard during the week. To go to an event and come first, even though sometimes I’m always winning, it still feels like the hard work is just paying off. It’s always a relief and it’s always fun. It will never get old.
 
What’s been your most memorable win?
HC: I think winning the Parks Double Or Nothing has to be one of my most memorable wins. I don’t know if it’s going to be the last one ever, but it’s the last one in the last few years, so it’s really cool to have that title. Also, the year when I won the World Champions stands out. I was up on the podium, and to me it’s just the same as every other contest, but my mom was like crying while I was up there so that was really cool.
 
Would you live full-time in Australia if you could?
HC: Oh, definitely. I miss my family a lot. If wakeboarding was as big there as it is over here, I would definitely choose to stay there.
 
Harley CliffordWhat would you say is the best and worst part of living in the USA?
HC: The best part of living in the USA would probably be that it’s super simple to wakeboard. All the photographers and videographers are here, so it’s easy to do stuff like that, too. The worst part is not having my family here.
 
How does it feel to be a homeowner in two different countries?
HC: It’s pretty cool, I guess. Even when I go back home to Australia I still just choose to live with my parents, though.
 
Is it hard to have a girlfriend when you’re so busy all the time?
HC: I’ve been with my girlfriend, Georgina, for like close to three years now. She’s cool. She’s not crazy and stuff (laughs). Nah, she’s really good. It gets hard being away from her all the time. I mean, she has her life and I have mine. We’re both young and as long as we can get through the next couple years then maybe it will end up just getting a lot easier. We’re still young and just trying to take it as it comes right now. Having iMessage and Facetime makes it super easy to talk every day. She’s the first person I text in the morning and the last person I text at night.
 
Harley CliffordWhat about after a contest?
HC: Nah, Dad is always the first I call after a contest.
 
Your dad helped shape the Aussie tour and has been helping out at events for a long time. How big of an influence has he been on your career?
HC: My Dad has always been there pushing me. When I was younger he was the person who would take me wakeboarding every single day after school. He would be there at 2.30pm and I’d just walk out the front, get in the car and go to the river. Being in the situation that I am now, some of the pressures and stuff that I have to deal with, he’s always there to calm me down, make everything seem easier and take a load off I guess.
 
Do your brothers wakeboard?
HC: Yeah, my brothers both wakeboard. I guess that’s the reason why I grew up being so competitive. We would wakeboard together every day. The reason I even started to get good is because my little brother started to learn flips and stuff before me. I was like f*%# this, I need to go out and get better than him (laughs). I guess that’s part of the reason that I’m so competitive. We were always trying to outdo each other. They sort of faded away from the wakeboard scene and went into their normal lives, but they still ride a lot. It’s insane how good they are and how they just don’t want to do it. They just stick to the fun side of things and they still love it.
 
Harley CliffordImagine if they had stuck with it and there were three of you! Last year you won a legend award in Australia. Being only 20, how does that feel?
HC: I definitely felt like I was a little too young to win the legend award in Australia last year. I don’t really know if I can put it all on myself, but the younger generation just keeps getting better and better and I guess I was at the forefront of that. I was like the first young kid out of Australia to be really good, I guess. But I’m still only twenty years old. I think people forget that sometimes. I never really dreamt that I would be this successful at such a young age. I remember like just growing up and watching all the Incomplete and the Pointless videos. The lifestyle that all those guys had was something that I just always wanted for myself. I don’t know. I just never thought I would be here at this stage this early in my career. It’s pretty surreal.
 
How have you made it this far without a major injury?
HC: I’ve gotten lucky I guess. Touch wood. I don’t really hit massive double ups all the time and I try to limit myself on going into the flats on a lot of tricks. That’s always a big help. I think learning how to bail out of tricks when you know something is gonna go wrong is a big thing. I’ve definitely mastered that. The art of falling (laughs).
 
Harley CliffordDo you think you rely on natural talent more than training?
HC: I would say I rely on talent more as I don’t really train too much off the water during the season. I am riding so much that, to me, that is training. Going to the gym isn’t helping my muscles, only wakeboarding can train those muscles. Don’t get me wrong. I think the gym is really good for injury prevention, just not during the season. I spend a lot of time in there in the off-season, though.
 
You’ve set the level so high and people are so used to seeing you stick 1080’s and double flips easily. When you don’t land them every time, they are kind of disappointed. Is it frustrating that people sometimes forget how difficult these tricks are?
HC: I guess I don’t really ever think of it like that. I just take people’s criticism as an incentive to just go out and make sure that I don’t fall on them.
 
What would you say is the best place that wakeboarding has taken you?
HC: Wakeboarding has taken me to so many places it’s hard to pick the best place. Italy was a good one. Russia wasn’t my favorite place to travel to but it’s really cool to say that I’ve been to Russia. No place has been bad. It’s just different everywhere you go.
 
Harley CliffordWhat’s your closest near death experience?
HC: The closest time I came to dying was when I crashed my truck and boat. I didn’t get hurt at all, but if I wasn’t in a big truck I would have. It saved my life. The lady in front of me slammed on the brakes because she was going to hit a kangaroo, so I put on my brakes and it was kind of wet. I wasn’t going to stop in time, so I put my foot down hard and the trailer brakes locked up and pushed me off the shoulder of the road and we crashed into a telegraph pole. I got out of the car and the boat had flipped off the trailer and was upside down on the road like 50 meters away. It was pretty crazy.
 
Damn, that’s crazy. Glad everyone came out okay. Whatever happened to your website Harley’s Place?
HC: My website was going really well for a while, like getting 30k hits a day. I had it going for a while and then it got a virus on it. Any time someone would go on it, it would say like it’s not safe. The word on the street is that another wakeboarding site put this virus on my website. All my videos were killing it and then that happened. I still have so much footage on my computer and little edits that no one has seen.
 
Harley CliffordTell us a story.
HC: One year I got pulled over driving home from Masters. I guess the cop was chasing me for about five miles while I was doing 95 mph on the highway and I had no idea (laughs). I had a massive check in the back, so I couldn’t see the lights and had no idea he was pulling me over. I didn’t know ‘til he pulled up next to me and cut me off the road. The cop ran out of his car with his gun pointed at me and opened my door and handcuffed me straight away. I was just yelling, “I’m just a kid! Leave me alone.” Nicola Butler and her friend, Emily, were in the car sleeping. The cop called for backup and separated them both and questioned them. It was pretty intense. I don’t know why I was driving so fast. I guess it was pretty late at night, I was zoned out and just wanted to get home. They drove me back to the police station in Georgia and they let me go a couple hours later at like 4:00 AM.
 
How long do you plan to keep riding?
HC: Wakeboarding is something that I’m always going to want to be able to do. I don’t know how long I can see myself wakeboarding pro, but, I mean, I’m only 20 right now and Murray is nearly 40 and he’s still killing it. As long as I can get through these next 10 years and keep myself fit after that I’ll still be riding.
 
What’s next for you?
HC: Prime is a big thing for me, so I’m pretty excited for that to be out now. I did pretty much every trick that I wanted to do for it. I’m really stoked with what I’ve done and how my section turned out.


This interview was originally posted on TheOutsidersOnline.com.
Be sure to check it out for wake, photography, art, music, videos and much more.




Share 

Comments (0)

Please Login to Comment
Home   Articles   Pics/Video   Gear   Wake 101   Events   Community   Forums   Classifieds   Contests   Shop   Search
WAKE WORLD HOME

 

© 2019 eWake, Inc.    
Advertise    |    Contact    |    Terms of Use    |    Privacy Policy    |    Report Abuse    |    Conduct    |    About Us