Rider Link: Alice Watts
WW: So who are we talking to? What’s your name, age and where do you reside?
AW: My name is Alice Watts, I’m 28 and I live in Brisbane, Australia.
WW: How long have you been wakeboarding?
AW: I’ve been wakeboarding a lot for about nine years (with some long breaks for injury), though the first time I got on a board was probably about 15 years ago.
WW: Who got you on a board for the first time?
AW: I first wakeboarded with my best friend’s family on her brother’s board. They used to go on camping/skiing trips when I was a teenager and I loved going along when I wasn’t working, which wasn’t often enough! When I started university, I joined the University of Queensland Wakeboard and Waterski Club and it didn’t take me long to get completely hooked on wakeboarding.
WW: Where is your regular riding spot?
AW: I usually ride boat on the Brisbane River and cable at Suncoast Watersports at Bli Bli on the Sunshine Coast (just north of Brisbane).
WW: What is the wakeboarding scene like in your area?
AW: There are some great wakeboarding scenes all over Australia. For most of the last 10 years I’ve been riding with the wakeboard and waterski club at UQ. I’ve met heaps of great people from all over the world that way, and also have friends all over Australia from other university clubs. The club runs ride days every Sunday from its clubhouse on the river, right on campus. It has two boats and has been known to tow up to 50 people a day!
This season, I’ve also started competing with Wakeboarding Queensland, which runs local comps through summer. It’s great to meet so many families who love wakeboarding. And we’re also really fortunate to have had some really amazing riders visit and ride on occasion. Harley Clifford towed and drove the first event, which was very cool! He brought Nicola Butler to another event while she was visiting Australia as well. There are also some junior riders who I have no doubt will be blowing your mind in the States sometime very soon.
There is a whole other scene at cable too – heaps of really dedicated, talented riders, and everyone is always so happy to help if you want to try something new. I don’t get to cable often enough, but I really enjoy it when I do. And Suncoast cable has some of the best obstacles around!
WW: Do you ride with a set crew of people or do you mix it up a little?
AW: I guess the previous question shows I do get to mix it up a bit, but I haven’t even mentioned my regular crew yet! I usually ride with my boyfriend, Dan, and our wonderful friends Allie and Phil, with their kids Mickillie and Chad, and other friends Chelsea and Nathan.
WW: What kind of boat do you usually ride behind?
AW: We usually ride behind Allie and Phil’s 2006 SAN 210.
WW: How about your wakeboard set up?
AW: I ride a Liquid Force Riot (same as a Groove, but prettier) and Watson CT boots.
WW: What do you enjoy most about wakeboarding?
AW: The feeling of being towed behind a boat on anything is awesome, particularly on a bright sunny day with glassy water. But I love wakeboarding the most because there’s always something new to try, and nothing feels better than when all your tricks are just working – pure happiness! I really enjoying competing too – the adrenaline tends to make me step up and ride better than usual.
WW: What do you like to do when you’re not wakeboarding?
AW: Ummmmmm…golf, squash, reading. I guess I don’t have much spare time.
WW: Do you have WakeWorld.com set as your home page?
AW: Close! I generally go local and visit wake.com.au first every day, but WakeWorld usually gets visited next.
WW: Are there any tricks that you are working on or want to work on?
AW: I seem to endlessly be working on not losing tricks. Unfortunately, I really only get to ride on weekends and sometimes it just isn’t enough to get any better. I’m usually having a constant battle to get my toeside jumps working again, and all my 180’s working at the same time. I would love to be able to do a really, really, really poked out tail grab and would like to have a consistent invert or two one day. Once upon a time I would have added a 360 to that list, but I’ve eaten it too hard too many times trying 3’s…maybe at cable.
WW: What would your ideal day be like?
AW: It would probably involve me winning the lotto first, so I’d be waking up in a house on the river and heading straight out for an early set on perfect glass with a few friends. We’d ride until we were tired, then spend hours floating around and swimming in the sunshine, then ride some more until dark. It’s likely I’d have a massage therapist waiting, so I’d not be too sore to do the same thing again the next day!
WW: Pro wakeboarders…who would be your top three and why?
AW: Harley Clifford because he’s so talented and he absolutely dominated as soon as he stepped on the world stage. It’s very cool to watch someone’s dream come true and know that it took years of hard work to make it happen.
Next, probably Dallas Friday because she’s has such awful injuries, but just keeps getting up and going again. For someone accident-prone like me, it’s a huge inspiration.
Lastly, Hayley Smith because she gave me some wonderful coaching recently and it’s great to see an Aussie lady living the dream. She and Amber both put a lot of work into developing women’s wakeboarding and it’s much appreciated.
WW: Are there any spots that you are hoping to one day ride at?
AW: I would love to ride at Lake Powell one day!
WW: Any words of advice to those that are starting out?
AW: Relax. If you’re not having fun, you’re missing the point. And never be afraid to try something new…if you’re not falling off, you’re not trying hard enough.
WW: Is there anyone that you would like to thank?
AW: I’d like to thank Dan – having a supportive partner who loves wakeboarding as much as I do makes me very happy. Also, Allie and Phil for making it possible for me to ride so often with great friends behind an awesome boat. All my other friends who have offered rides, coaching and advice over the years. Mostly, I’d like to thank all the wonderful friends who really stepped up and helped Dan and I out in some tough times recently – particularly JB and Karen.