Catching up with Lex Balladon

Wide-a-wake caught up with Lex Balladon wakeboarder, surfer and blogger, to find out what she’s been up to over the winter. She’s been juggling having a baby with riding, coaching up and coming rider Lottie Harbottle and of course you’ll catch her at ladies mornings spreading the wakeboard gospel.


Lex, so obviously having a baby has been a big change in your life but you managed to get back out on the water pretty quickly and you competed last year, how much time did you take off in total? and how did find getting back on the water for the summer season?
Hey WAW! Yes its pretty life changing! I was lucky to get the all clear from the doctor and was back on the water seven weeks after the birth, it was so hard! I managed two laps… I fell pregnant in April 2012 but carried on riding till August (just laps, too dangerous to do any inverts / rails!), then I couldn’t fit into my wetsuit so I stopped. In total I was off the water for eight months and then won my first competition back on the water after three months of riding again! The Nationals were a different story, I didn’t spend enough time on the water to prepare for them. But still pretty stoked to be the first mum to ever compete in the Open Women! I’ve had a couple of new mums getting involved with Ladies Mornings this summer, its great to see and I urge more women to do it!

We know you’ve been coaching ladies sessions for a while now, but last year you were also involved in coaching Lottie. Is that more difficult/challenging than the ladies sessions because of the level of her wake boarding?
Now there’s a question!  It’s so different it’s hard to compare. Ladies Mornings are more about having fun and getting girls on the water in a non threatening environment, and I’m there if they want to work on something in particular, there’s not a set plan apart from have fun! Whereas with Lottie, we sit down and go through a plan of action; we sat down in October to set the agenda / goals for this year. I enjoy both though, the ladies mornings are fun and I get super stoked to see them get around the cable for the first time etc, its rewarding to witness. And with Lottie, its great working on the trick lists and seeing her land stuff for the first time, its such a brilliant feeling and you can see she’s stoked as well.



Lottie at Club Wake Park

The cold weather didn’t put you and Lottie off over the winter and you’ve been out riding some different cables… what did you think of the wake parks you’ve been to? How do the system 2 parks compare with the 5 corner cables?
Yes we’ve been out and about a bit! We’ve headed over to FestWake, BEP and Club Wake. FestWake has really fun features to play on and Lottie loved it as she can get so much air time from the height of the cable. BEP is always fun as it’s so varied, you’re constantly trying different variations on different features. Club Wake, we’ve had some fun sessions there, the guys are super friendly and let us shoot while we’re there. The reason we ride there is, well I like it for the rails, but primarily we’re there for training. The System 2.0’s are fantastic learning tools for inverts before you transfer them over to a 5 corner cable. You can learn the trick in stages and it builds up your confidence.  We used the System 2’0's at JB and Club Wake for Lottie’s new inverts over the past year. I headed to Hannam’s recently, it was my first time and definitely won’t be my last!



Lex at Hannan’s Wake Hub

So you’ve enjoyed this winter being back on the water and we’re all ready for summer now, have you any trips planned?
It was good to ride through the winter, I missed out last year because I was pregnant so I was almost looking forward to it! There’s something about riding in the winter here, there’s no one around, the water can get super glassy and the sun’s low in the sky… its really pretty. Trip wise, this year I’ve been to Portugal in March to surf and will be heading to Spain in the summer for some wake.

Keep up with Lex’s adventures on her blog Coconut Wireless
She’ll be coaching at the Sunday Ladies mornings at Box End Park on 25 May, 22 June, 27 July, 24 August and 28 September.



Sunday 11 May 2014 Posted by Jacqui in News Interview | Permalink

Megzy Barker heads to Australia for IWWF World Cup

We had the pleasure of catching up with pocket rocket Megzy Barker ahead of the World Cup in Mandurah, Perth, Australia.

After three weeks intensive training out with LDB and Chain of Wakes out in Florida, the Bradford nutter is primed and loaded for the ‘invite only’ world class competition. With new tricks in the bag including a skeezer (switch crow mobe) she stands to hold her own against top riders the likes of Raimi Merrit, Melissa Marquart, Amber Wing and Nicola Butler.

Don’t miss a thing! Tune in details for tonight’s semi finals:-
http://www.Iwwf.tv for live coverage.
Sat 15 March
Women’s Semi Finals
09.15-11.15 local time
01.15 UK time

16.15-17.45 LCQ women
08.15 UK time

News and updates head to http://www.waterskiandwakeboardworldcup.com

How excited are you about Perth?
It’s 6 in the morning over there and 21 degrees already! Sweet!  I’ve not been to Aus before, so I’m looking forward to shrimps on’T barbie!
I’m really excited, I’m nervous though obviously. I don’t know what to expect but it’s going to be fun!

Its a real privilege to be invited to the World Cup, what does this mean to you?
I’m really honoured. Last year I was there on a replacement spot for an injured rider, but this year I was invited.  And that’s awesome! I’ve worked really hard and I hope I don’t sound big headed, but I feel really pleased with myself, like I deserve it.

You’ve been training here in Florida for the past three weeks. How ready are you?
I just want to enjoy it, as long as I do my best then I’m ready! As long as I enjoy it! I should be fine!

We hope you’ll join us in wishing her all the very best next weekend. Get your coffee on the boil as it’ll be an all-nighter!

Friday 14 March 2014 Posted by Jacqui in News | Permalink

Winter Wake Surfing

Now that winter is well and truly here the water temperature has plummeted, and most sensible people have hung up their wetsuits and are tucked up in front of the fire with a glass of mulled wine. Not the best time to try something new you might think?

JBSki ladies morning finished in September, but the cable is still open on Wednesdays and there are a few of the ladies who have carried on wakeboarding into the winter. Last week in a change from our usual cable session four of us decided to have a go at Wake Surfing at LBD Wakeschool

We all looked slightly nervous as we got on to the boat before Lee talked us through the basics, but after a quick run through of what was expected, it was time to get out on the water.

The boat was set up for right foot forward riders so Jane and Annic were first to have a go. Both managed the deep water start with ease and were up and riding quickly! Getting used to the feel of the board was next with a bit of carving back and forth, and then it was finding the sweet spot where you can catch the wake and the rope goes slack.

Lee then swapped the weight in the boat around and it was time for the left foot forward riders, first Sarah and then me! Having the benefit of watching the others and listening to Lee’s coaching certainly helped us, and Sarah was quickly up & riding on the wake. After a bit of practice Lee shouted for her to throw the handle to one side and she was up and surfing.

Finally it was my turn and despite reservations about the deep water start it was easier than I thought, and once I was up and out of the water I was in familiar territory. Finding the sweet spot on the wake proved to be quite difficult but I did manage a few seconds of surfing without the rope. However, once you lose the sweet spot the boat soon leaves you behind and you get an icy dip in the lake!

A Big thank you to Lee from LDBWakeschool for some top coaching, we all really enjoyed our Wake Surfing session (in spite of the cold water and ice cream heads) and we have already booked in for another go next week!

Words and pictures: ©wavepattern












Tuesday 03 December 2013 Posted by Jacqui in News Chicks Sessions | Permalink

Megzy’s girls wakeboard clinic

Last week, LDB Wakeschool hosted Megzy Barker’s girls wakeboard clinic sponsored by Breathe Boardwear, and Wike-a-wake was there to catch all the action, check out the Wide-a-wake Facebook page for the full gallery.

Despite some ominous dark clouds overhead, the girls were all keen to get out on the water and for once the weather played ball and gave us a loverly flat lake to play on… we even had some sunshine! There was a real mixture of ages and abilities amongst the wakeboarders and with Megzy’s great coaching and infectious enthusiasm all the girls were inspired to push their riding. There was a great atmosphere amongst the girls and loads of cheering and encouragement from the boat when you were on the water, everyone taking part received a fabulous Breathe goodie bag and there were some extra prizes for Rachel and Helen (who was really close to landing her Backrolls!)

All the girls jumped in the boat to watch Megzy’s set at the end, where she showed off the skills that have seen her take a hattrick of titles this year, she’s now National Boat Champion, Wakestock Boat Champion and European Boat Champion.

Thanks to Megzy for an awesome afternoon, thanks to Lee Debuse for driving the boat and hosting the clinic at LBD Wakeschool at JBSki, and also to the amazing Breathe Boardwear for sponsoring the clinic… we can’t wait for the next one!

Photos: © wavepattern





Thursday 19 September 2013 Posted by Jacqui in News Chicks Sessions | Permalink

Jessie Knight (re)presenting the future in Women’s Wakeboarding

There’s somebody we want you to meet! Wakeboarding’s turbo grom, Jessie Knight is proving to be quite the little all-rounder. The 10 yr old Industry.1 Liverpool Wake Park rider is not only an uber passionate rider, but has now turned her hand to coaching and presenting. A regular feature on podiums across many grass roots competitions, Jessie has grasped her enthusiasm for getting more people out on the water firmly with both hands, partnering up with Industry Wake Parks and WhiteNoSugar productions to get filming! 

She’s making a series of instructional ‘How To’ coaching guides aimed at beginners, and she’ll also be documenting her exciting season in her series ‘Jessie’s Wake Blog’ where she gets unprecedented access to meet the riders at all the top events this year. We’ll be featuring all of Jessie’s guides and video blogs on the site, so look out for more top tips as they drop.

Jessie was destined to make her mark in the world of wakeboarding as she has been on the water for most of her life with the rest of her water sports mad family. She started out knee boarding at only 2 years of age and after a little break, she began her wakeboarding journey aged 6, to win the overall 2012 Grass roots tour in Open Ladies just 3 years later, and recently placed 3rd at the Just Wake stop of the 2013 tour. An active participant in wakeboarding, she’s already giving lots back. Her ‘How To’ guides provide clear concise tips for beginners of all ages and we’re thrilled that Jessie’s already such an ambassador for women’s wakeboarding in the UK. Jessie’s ‘Wake Tips’ will feature permanently on the site to help you in your wakeboarding journey.

To introduce Jessie’s wake Blogs, she recently caught up with the competitors at RedBull Harbour Reach, where she learned, amongst other things, that to be a professional wakeboarder, you must have a suitable moustache!  She’ll be at Wakestock 2013 catching up on all the action there too! Jessie plans to compete at the remaining Grass Roots tour stops, Ten Feet high and hopefully the UK Cable wakeboard Nationals. We can’t wait to see what else she gets up to for the rest of the season! Well done Jessie, great work lass!

 


 

Sunday 16 June 2013 Posted by Jacqui in News | Permalink

Hove Ladies Sessions


Last week, Lagoon Wake Park, part of the Hove Lagoon complex, launched their Ladies Evening Wakeboarding sessions in the stunning Brighton sunshine. The evening sessions, running 6-8pm every Tuesday using two of their three Sytem 2.0 rigs, was fully booked for their season opener. Lagoon Wake Park invited GB wakeboarder Sarah Kingdom along as guest coach for the seaside wakeboard event, and of course, Wide-A-Wake were there to see what went down.

The first of a string of stunning sunny coastal days, the Brighton sea air welcomed everyone to the lagoon adorned with beach hut roof tops and colourful murals. It’s safe to say that the British summer holiday feeling was rearing its head, boding well for the wakeboarding Summer months ahead on the South Coast.

For many, it was a chance to blow off the cobwebs of the winter, revisiting the basics and eliminating bad habits, however there were new tricks too. After a warm up and assessment of trick ‘wish lists’ the girls got cracking with their coaching time with Sarah, rotating between the two cables. Rachael managed to banish her precarious board-slide up the box, and learnt to ride away from it switch, Maggie got her dock starts, and Cherry was spinning like a top! Amy addressed her windsurfing stance influence and get the corners much more easily as did Kat with a reviewed cut. Little Sophia looked like she’s never been away and Lei nearly bossed the box on her skate.


Despite the glorious weather, it soon got a wee bit chilly and it was time to warm up with WAW Goodie Bag treats from LDN Muscle and Angry Squirrel and give out the Goodie Bag prizes. Each attendee went home with a party bag of samples and give-aways from Breathe, Natural Hero, LDN Muscle and Angry Squirrel, but the overall WAW Goodie bag winner for this session was Cherry Parnell and the Angry Squirrel Coffee award for ‘Angriest Squirrel’ went to Rachael Cockle.


Lagoon Wake Park continue to support Ladies Wakeboarding having secured Sportivate funding for the third consecutive year giving whopping discounted rates to 17-25 year old novice female wakeboarders. We’re delighted that this club continues to support and push the development of the female side of our great sport. Check out their website for further details.

Massive thanks to Lucy McCormick and James Stuart for all their help in getting WAW involved with this event, Mel Russell for her help on the night and Paul Buttle and Emma Long for their photography.

Hove will host their Ladies Day on 18th May showcasing a number of watersports, including wakeboarding with guest coaches Sarah Kingdom and Steph Caller. Come and join in and see what else Hove lagoon has on offer. Book your place go to their website www.lagoon.co.uk



Friday 10 May 2013 Posted by Jacqui in News Chicks Sessions | Permalink

Catching up with Lottie Harbottle


Hi Lottie! So, we last caught up with you in November just after you’d returned from the Worlds… what have you been up to since then?

Hi WAW! When I got back from the Philippines I went straight back to what at the time was my new school. I definately began to look forward to other events and started to plan out what I needed to do to be competitive within them. This year the season started quite late because of the freezing temperatures, so I didn’t get much practise in before the first competition but the weather is super nice at the moment so I have been training everyday for as long as I can. I have had a successful season so far getting some strong podiums in Spring into Season, BEP Rail Jam and first in the Nationals.

Wow, congrats on the Nationals! Did you train a lot for them this year? Were you nervous? What was the set up like?

Thanks! Nationals was a big milestone for me because it helped me gauge where I am in terms of my training and gave me something to aim for. I always get nervous at competitions, I don’t really know anyone that doesn’t! The set up down at Liquid Lesuire was good, they have loads of rails to play on and plenty of space for spectators.


And also you’re off with the GB Team to Sweden for the Europeans… What have you been doing in preparation?

I can’t wait to go to Sweden! I have been focused on the Euros since the worlds really and have been training alot with my coach, Lex. My main aim this year was to become a more rounded rider so that I can excell in all areas instead of just one or two and I think that so far its going well.


Any new tricks?

I have been working hard on my rail riding recently because this was definitely a weakness for me, so I am more solid on rails now. I got left backrolls revs solid recently so I was stoked about that!

We hear you’ve picked up a couple of casual sponsors… tell us more!

Monster Energy UK took me on board at the very start of 2013, in the next couple of months I was picked up Jobe Watersports and most recently Two Seasons! I am so stoked to be supported by such awesome sponsors and can’t thank them enough for helping me out!

Massive well done on picking up some amazing sponsors and being crowned the Girls National Champion!! Any last words?

Thanks to all my sponsors, the BWSF, my coach Lex and my Mum and Dad! Its been a sik year so far, long may it continue!

Wednesday 01 May 2013 Posted by Jacqui in News | Permalink

Megzy Barker is selected to join Breathe Boardwear for 2013

The ‘marvelously mental’ Megzy Barker joins the exceptional line-up of Breathe Boardwear’s International team of female wakeboarders. Her impressive riding and ‘in your face’ riding personality, has seen her join the upper echelons of female wakeboarding with team mates now including wakeboard ‘A-listers’ including Raimi Merrit, Ange Schrieber, Haley Smith and Anna Hajek! The British rider who’s taken the UK boat riding scene by storm, heads off to Indonesia this week to represent at the invitational IWWF World Cup. Alongside fellow Brit Charlotte Bryant, we have huge hopes for this little ripper, as do Breathe Boardwear. Here’s what they had to say about Megzy joining heir team.

“We are really excited to have up and coming UK rider Megan ‘Megzy’ Barker as part of the Breathe Boardwear team for 2013.

Megzy first came to our attention at Wakestock last year, where she placed 4th, narrowly missing out on a podium place. It was during Wakestock that she met our founder, Cianne and she certainly left a lasting impression – when we started talking about sponsoring a UK based rider she was top of the list so we’re stoked to have her on board.

Megzy has a great energy and embodies a lot of what Breathe Boardwear are about with her positive attitude, dedication and determination to go big – both on and off the water. She is an excellent example of what can be achieved if you are willing to work hard for something and is definitely someone that younger riders or girls just starting out in wakeboarding can look to for inspiration.

We reckon 2013 is going to be a big year for Megzy and can’t wait to see her repping in Breathe Boardwear gear.”

Check out the full range at www.breatheboardwear.com
Breathe is also available at www.tantrumwake.com

The IWWF will be live streaming the event, so stay tuned to www.iwwf.tvover the weekend to catch the girls in action.


Photo © Kay Ransom

Posted by Jacqui in News | Permalink

Just Wake Launch their Ladies’ Mornings


Boasting a stunning Tattershall castle backdrop, Just Wake opened their doors to the ladies for twice weekly sessions last weekend. The twin System 2.0 cable park in Lincolnshire is welcoming the girls with gusto, offering Friday morning AND Tuesday evening ‘ladies only’ time, so everyone can fit it in around work. Just Wake invited GB rider Sarah Kingdom and Wide-A-Wake to help get things off the ground last Friday.

Set in the grounds of Tattershall holiday park, it’s hard to not feel like you’re on holiday at this beautiful facility that opened last year, especially with the castle peering over and military jets giving loop the loop displays! Certainly not the average wakeboard experience!

Before the session started, the girls literally had a taste of one of the Goodie Bag supporters, Angry Squirrel Coffee as part of their pre-ride preparation. We followed with warm up and then assessed everyone’s ‘trick list’ to help get some points of focus for the two hour session ahead.

The girls, as is always the case at chicks sessions, had a blast! The one to one coaching of the System 2.0 allowed each girl to get undivided attention and those on the dock to observe, pick up a few more tips, practice handle passes and see every amusing bottom slide on the water in its full glory! Nobody missed a thing. The fun on the dock was effervescent, so much so that until after the session, we were completely unaware that these ladies didn’t know one another until 2 hours before!

Girls’ sessions really are where the female wakeboarding community show its value in the grand scheme of things. There was so much laughter, new tricks, new passions and new riding buddies made!

Every rider attending received a WAW party bag with samples from Natural Hero to help with the inevitable ‘day after’ feeling, Breathe Boardwear, the brand of female wakeboarders by female wakeboarders and LDN Muscle with recipe ideas and tips for improved fitness. The LDN Muscle buttercups and flapjacks were demolished by Goodie Bag winner Emily Cook!!

Elle Brewer “The good thing about the morning was that girls don’t judge like boys do!! Really enjoyed having a laugh with the girls and meeting other female boarders. Having a female coach who knows how we all feel was amazing and the advise sarah gave to us was from another female perspective so that was nice! Elle xx”

Alexandria Phillips “I loved getting to wakeboard with women of all different abilities, gives you way more confidence than when you’re with guys. And was awesome to have a pro coach. I loved the goodie bags, made it great fun and already at a gym to supplement the wakeboarding cause you really should!! The recipes made me feel like I was eating something healthy, Thanks for a sick day!!! Lexy x”

Stephanie Epton “Loved the angry squirrel coffee and loved trying a new sport. Met some great ladies and can’t wait for my next go. Steph X”

The WAW Goodie Bag was awarded to Emily Cook and the two Angry Squirrel awards were given to Sarah Partridge and Steph Epton. Well done ladies.

Huge thanks to Suzi and Andrew of Just Wake for their amazing hospitality. We look forward to seeing what the Just Wake girls get up to over the season.






Monday 29 April 2013 Posted by Jacqui in News Chicks Sessions | Permalink

AOD Stop 1 2013 – The Sun came out for the girls!

The weekend felt as though Summer may not be a distant dream! With temperatures rising and freckles bursting out of hibernation, the crowds gathered for the first of the AOD (All Other Division) tour stops for 2013. The wakeboard boat competition hosted by LDBWakeschool at JBSki had three girls divisions;  Girls, Junior Women and Masters Women and British rider Jules Haley made up part of the judging team. In association with the newly established UK Rider League ranking scheme all riders were able to collect points to give them UK ranking positions throughout the season. So there’s even more reason to get involved with the competition scene.

Well done to all that attended, supported and got involved. Special props to Hayley Ashley landing her front roll for the first time in competition, and Heather Owens who surprised even herself landing two new tricks for the first time ever! Toe 360 and a scarecrow from KTB in Junior girls sent her to the top of the podium.

It’s a great event with great support for women’s wakeboarding. The next AOD tour stop is at Quays 15th June 2013.

Results
Girls
1 Melissa Lock
2 Demi Pearson
3 Ellie Par

Junior Women
1 Katie Batchelor
2 Laura Christian
3 Charlotte Millward

Masters Women
1 Hayley Ashley
2 Emma-Jame Pickard
3 Heather Owens



Tuesday 23 April 2013 Posted by Jacqui in News | Permalink