THE REALITY OF A FEMALE WAKEBOARDER

IMG_5804When I was fourteen years old my dad bought me my first Wakeboarding Magazine. I had just started wakeboarding and I read that thing cover to cover, completely amazed by the crisp photographs of these athletes going bigger than I though was possible. Those athletes quickly became my heroes and I could not wait to grow up and be just like them. After waiting carefully each month by the one shop in Sweden that sold international magazines and paid the $10 for each new copy of Wakeboarding Mag the first thing I would do was to flip through the pages, searching for the female riders. And there they were! Leslie Kent, Cathy Williams, Will Christien, Amber Wing and my biggest shero, Dallas Friday. My heart would fill up with pride that those girls were out there and in my eyes, their pictures were even better than the guys!

I would rip out my favorite pictures and post them on my wall. Every day I would watch my shero’s and female role models and I promised myself that one day, this is where I was going to be: determined, brave, hard working and respected. Just like those women on my wall.

Now, 10 years later, I know what it is like to be amongst the top Women in wakeboarding. I compete against my sheroes and I’ve worked with several of the photographers taking those beautiful and crips photos. I work with some of the biggest brands in the industry and I compete in world events. Unfortunately the life of a professional female wakeboarder isn’t at all what I imagined it would be.

In my career I’ve been faced with events I was not ready to face. I was so excited to be doing what I love and so sure that if I just changed one way or the other, I would get all the sparkly promises I had dreamt of as a kid. If I could just get a little bit better the magazines would start publishing my photos, the sponsors would sign me with good contracts and the media would start covering my achievements. Any day now! But no, my reality did not turn out that way.

Luckily for me, social media exploded right before my wakeboarding career started and me and my friends could create our own stories. Facebook, youtube and instagram made it possible for us to promote our own personal brands as the magazines would not do it for us. The amount of women getting published kept on dropping and contests like ”Miss Wakeboarding” where girls were portrayed in their bikini’s and voted on by their looks kept claiming the attention of my beloved industry. That is until Wakeboarding Magazine took responsibility and last year decided to make a change! Besides killing their ”Miss wakeboarding” competition they dedicated a WHOLE ISSUE to the women in wake!! The 14 year old me would’ve been dancing down the street!! Finally the largest magazine in Wakeboarding decided to support the female athletes for real and for that, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you Wakeboarding Magazine.

It’s not only the media where female wakeboarders get neglected. I have so many stories that I don’t know where to start. From the time a judge in a world event slapped my butt not only on one but on two occasions while I was nervously standing on the starting dock to the time a company told me ”But Carro, you are already getting paid a lot for a female athlete, why would you think your salary deserves to be equal to the mens?”. But my point isn’t just about smack-talk, it is much more important than that.

Women in sports are raised to tolerate being treated differently than their male colleagues. And we happily accept it because that is all that we know. Here is my message to you: It does NOT have to be this way. The thing is WE have to be the change. We have to create the events, we have to write the stories, we have to take the photos and we have to stand up for ourselves. In these digital days we all have the power to make our voices heard and it is now more important than ever for companies to keep their following happy. Words like ”prosumers” are being frequently used in marketing and shows us just how much power consumers really have.

The change is just within our reach and with the help of good people in companies working for fair sponsor deals and equal media coverage we will get there! And the good people are out there, we just need to help them to CHANGE THE CONVERSATION.

My hopes and dreams are that my niece will get to grow up in a world filled with Sheroes on her wall. Sheroes that do sports, politics, business and science and not only get judged by their looks.

KNEE BRACE OR NOT?

image001So I’ve been getting some questions about why I’m not wearing a knee brace after my ACL reconstruction. This is because, together with my PT and my surgeon, I’ve decided to try and get back on the board without needing one. This means my recovery time will be slightly longer than but in the end I want to be trusting my body 110% before getting back into competing and to me a knee brace is a giant “this is not strong” sign. (Of course this might not be the case for other people, I’m simply talking about me and my own body here). My PT supports my decision and when I asked my doctor I got the reply “a knee brace? What? You don’t need a knee brace, I’ve fixed your knee! It’s stronger than your other one!”. 😂 So now it’s time to spend a few more weeks in the gym in Sweden and finish up with my rehab as well as my university studies. So happy to prepare for the 2017 season!
What did your doctor/PT tell you about knee-braces? How come they are so common in Wakeboarding but not in other extreme sports, like skiing for example?

THAILAND

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This life is where I’m the happiest! I feel like I’ve been in a dream for the past 7 months with my university life and being back in Stockholm full time. Now being back in the “Wakeboarding World” I think I’m seeing it with a whole new perspective. I am so grateful to be back doing what I love, even though I am nowhere near the level I’d like to be yet. Seeing all the friends I haven’t been around for a whole year again and feeling like no time at all has passed is both amazing and a bit surreal and meeting new traveling souls, with such similar values to myself, make me feel like home. I still have a few more weeks of rehab and university before I will be back in the Pro Wakeboarder life but  by getting this little taste of it again, I am more hungry for it than ever!

 

THAILAND – BACK WAKEBOARDING!

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After A LONG rehab period I am now finally back wakeboarding again! In the end of January I left Stockholm on a plane straight to Thailand and now after being here for a little over a week I never want to leave! Taking off the dock that first time in about 7 months was like drinking that first sip of water after being on a hot thai bus with no AC for 3 hours. I don’t think I even fully understood how much I’ve missed it and even though I have a few more weeks of rehab left until I will be fully ready to charge again, just being back with that neoprene smell and the feel of warm glassy water under my board brought back so many great feelings. I am also thrilled to be seeing JB again and being back in my daily work uniforms (bikinis). It’s so familiar that it feels like I never left this part of my life. My knee feels better than ever being back in warm weather and I have to pace myself to obey my PT’s orders of “taking it easy”. My knee feels ready for kickers and getting back into contest mode but I am going to play it smart and listen to my Physio, and sipping on coconuts on the beach isn’t too bad that either 😉

 

 

#BENSQUAD PINS BY SHHH DESIGN

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One of the most inspiring women in wake – Sophie Hogben, has started her own company over in Australia creating cute fashion pins amongst other things. These one’s are extra special as they are designed based on the cool cat Ben Leclair, a great wakeboarder who injured his spinal chord a few weeks back.  All proceeds goes to helping him in his recovery so head to www.pinicool.com now to get yours and make a statement. So impressed by you Soph, both as a rider and as a human being, I wish more people were like you!

IDROTTSGALAN

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Had a magical night meeting tons of inspiring people, getting dressed up to the teeth and eating desserts at the Swedish Sports Gala. I was one of the athletes getting awarded a scholarship for pursuing dual careers. The Swedish sports confederation supports athletes combining successful sport careers with studies and as I’ve now passed my first semester at the Stockholm Business School I got elected for this scholarship and got to go on stage and accept it. All I kept thinking as I walked up in front of those 2500 people was “don’t trip” as I was wearing some stiletto heels for the first time since knee surgery but thankfully everything worked out great 🙂 So honored and thankful for this money and can’t wait to spend it all on gas for the boat 😉

 

NEW YEARS RESOLU… GUIDELINES

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I never make New Years Resolutions because I don’t believe in setting “do’s” and “don’ts” for myself. However I do like the concept of starting fresh and I try to invite change into my life. Today I started thinking about what I want to change in 2017 and here are some of my new year guidelines.

  • Read more books – The last few months, or lets be honest the entire of 2016, Netflix and series took over my book reading and I want to get back to it! Especially autobiography’s and books based on true stories.
  • Stop stressing about things I cannot control.
  • Spend more time with friends – If I don’t have time, make time.
  • Increase the revenue in my new company, Wakecarro AB keep learning new things – in 2017 I want to work towards creating one of my new dream projects, I’ll keep you posted!
  • Make more time for yoga.
  • Laugh more, love more, take more chances, play more yeah just live more I suppose.

2016

p1560283-copyThe minutes before the new year 2016 I found myself standing on top of a chair next to ten other people on top of chairs. We were holding 12 grapes each in our hands because my spanish fiend Esther had told us in her charming accent that “on New Year’s Eve you stand on top of chairs and then you eat 12 grapes in 12 seconds.”

I was looking around me and saw my friends from all over the world as in slow motion getting ready, we were outside in the warm humid Phillippino air and the sky was lit up with a million stars. I remember thinking how lucky I was and how sure I was of my future and the 2016 season. Everything was going to be perfect, I had a great set of sponsors, a perfect plan to move to Texas with my perfect boyfriend, I was riding better than ever and my head was overflowing with ideas for the next season. The countdown started and I started to chug down my Spanish grapes (I have absolutely no idea why but when Esther tells you to do something you do it). The fireworks started and I got a big New Years kiss from JB, I had no idea that my 2016 would turn out nothing like I had expected.

Two weeks later I got dropped by two of my biggest sponsors even though being promised contracts for 2016. This made me quickly reconsider my financial situation but after some thought I actually started appreciating this opportunity as it meant new doors opened for me. I started working towards my new goals and on the new equipment I recieved I started riding better than ever making me want to ride and progress every day.

A couple of months later I woke up in the morning and decided today was going to be a rest day. After driving up to the cable and seeing the glassy water with absolutely no line I decided to go for some laps anyways. With my mind on other things and muscles that were completely exhausted I felt myself charge into a kicker and go big, weirdly enough a bit bigger than usual and I wasn’t ready for the landing. I felt board touched the water and the nauseating feeling of my knee going backwards and hyperextending. I could hear myself screaming, tasting the warm water in my mouth and feeling the immense feeling of “something is not right, my knee is not supposed to feel this way”. I looked over my shoulder and saw that the cable had stopped and about 15 people were swimming towards me in the water. I instantly got embarressed and stopped screaming but my eyes kept running from the pain. I got helped ashore by my friends and for some reason kept telling people I was okay. Except for when I saw JB, I remember telling him over and over again “something is not right”. After resting with compression and ice for a few hours I tried to walk and to my great relief I could! I had some pain sure but I could put weight on and walk around if I walked slowly. I remember telling people “phew close call, if I had tore my ACL I don’t know what I would’ve done”. A few days after that I started wakeboarding again, even though my knee felt really sore I pushed through the pain as my physiotherapist friend had told me “it’s probably just a sprain”.

A while later after getting an MRI I got the results in my hands and I tore the envelope open. I could feel how the walls were closing in around me, that familiar knot was forming in my throat and my eyes started burning with tears as I read the words “Complete Rupture of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament”. I sat down in the waiting room in the hospital. In one moment all of my plans had demolished and gone out the window. I would not be moving to Texas, I would not be fulfilling any of the dreams or projects I had in mind for 2016, maybe the rest of my sponsors would drop me too?

Luckily this is not what happened, I went home to Sweden and got accepted to my first hand choice of university, my sponsors stand by me and try to support me as much as they can and I had surgery to fix my knee and started working with Swedens best physiotherapists. Usually around the new year I look back into the old one and write a post about where I’ve been, what contests I’ve traveled to and what I’ve learned. This year the travel list is fairly short (I even lost my rewards card with my airline) and the contest list is nonexistent. However, the list of what I’ve learned is, I think, the longest it has ever been.

“When you look closely you discover that what happens is the best thing that can happen”
Byron Katie

MY 3D FUNCTION TRAINING

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The past 3 months I’ve been working on strengthening not just my knee but the rest of my body as well. After getting in touch with Hans Hellberg (@hansofhell) I started training 3D Function (or proceedos) and here are my thoughts of it:

Ever since I started the wakeboarding highschool (Riksidrottsgymnasiet i Fagersta) I’ve been taught the proper technique of working out. Angles of the spine, muscles that should work in certain movements and muscles that should not. It’s been benchpresses, squats, deadlifts and lunges and these type of classical weight training is something that I still work a lot with and believe in today. It has therefore been a big change to step into the world of 3D.

I am lucky to be working together with Hans as his passion for what he does and his burning interest for exercising, health and the human body has made me trust him. If I didn’t trust the person telling me to do all these movements the complete opposite way of what I’ve spent my entire life learning I don’t think I would’ve stuck with it. The key to 3D training is to use all your body and to train your muscles in the angles where you are the weakest (of course with light weights and care as you otherwise will put stress on your joints). Now after working with hans for almost 3 months I am completely hooked on this type of training and it makes so much sense to me!

While being on my board I am not always in control and I wont be able to keep my body in those perfect squat angles. Most of the time accutally I’d say wakeboarding puts your knees, back and shoulders in challenging positions and I believe that by preparing my body for every scenario it will make me get back on my board even stronger than before my knee injury.

By working closely together with the physiotherapists at the Swedish National Sports Complex combined with my sessions with Hans, I believe I’m getting the best of two worlds. I’m so happy to have all these passionate, knowledgable professionals around me while getting through these last couple of months before getting back to what I love!

SUNDAY CHILLS

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Today us Swedes celebrate “2a advent” (which basically is an excuse to eat a ton of christmas treats called “lussebullar”). After breakfast in bed and an episode of the Gilmore Girls, I started my day by heading to the gym for an hour bike intervals. I am not the biggest fan of cardio but I’ve discovered that biking makes my knee feel amazing so I’ve started to add both biking and swimming to my training routing as often as possible. Once I was done I headed home to hit the books and drink copious amounts of coffee as I just started another course in Uni. My life right now is quite different to what I thought it would be like but chilling on the couch reading books that make you look super smart when it’s snowing outside does have it’s charm. I think there is a positive angle in every situation and I’m focusing on doing the things now that I never get to do while traveling and competing. Of course I am stalking the wakeboarding world through social media and I really can’t wait to get back to that part on my life!

I was devastated to read the news about Ben Leclair’s accident and I keep sending thoughts his way and hope that he knows the whole world is rooting for him!

2017 SLINGSHOT VALLEY

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Most of you have probably not missed out on the news of Slingshot’s new women’s cable board!!! The Valley is based off the shape of the popular cable board the terrain and if you like something that presses out to the max on rails, this is the board for you! Honestly I can’t decide which board I like better between the Valley and the Reflex as the Reflex is a bit stiffer which gives me some softer landings off kickers but the Valley let’s me press out way more on the rails!

Anyways, just thought I’d show you some pictures of it and I suppose the best way to find out more is to demo one of these babies, I might just end up getting one of each for next season 😉

 

 

 

REHAB PROGRESS

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Hey everyone.
It’s been a while since I last blogged and I think it’s because I’ve been staying busy with University and my rehab. The other day I wrote my first ever exam at Stockholm Business School and the day before that I was cleared to do skipping ropes by my PT Britta!

My life took an unexpected turn about four months ago when I realized I had damaged my knee and would require surgery. I decided to take up one of those things that I had always been imagining doing but never got around too: education. Since I now have a few more months before my knee will be strong enough for wakeboarding I’ll spend my time with my nose in the school books (drinking way too much coffee) and actually enjoying it! At first it was a bit of a shock but now I’m loving being at hone in Sweden for the beautiful fall and the crisp cool air (and all the friends I have missed so much!!)

When it comes to my rehab, the last few weeks have been incredible! After dealing with a long period of time where my leg would “lock up” out of nowhere and a lot of pain in my kneecap things are moving forward with light speed! Three weeks ago I started training “3D Function Training” with my new trainer who calls himself  @HansofHell. Along with this I’ve got my 3 times/week physical therapy sessions and yoga, biking and swimming. I can honestly say I have never worked out this hard before and I am looking forwards to see what this will do for my riding once I am back on the water (by March 2017)!

GET MACKIE BACK ON A BOARD

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In May 2016 Mackie Rosen took a life changing fall in a wakeboard competition, dislocating his knee, tearing all ligaments and causing severe artery damage. The limited supply of blow flow to his foot caused a life threatening situation and Mackie had to have his left leg amputated.

There are no words to explain Mackies courage and strength, but the videos of him doing his physio exercises merly days after this injury and his ability to try and stay positive when his life has just been turned upside down might say it all.

Our goal with this page is to help Mackie finance a prosthetic leg that can get him back on his wakeboard! We have found a suitable leg (that will have to be able to handle the impact of wakeboarding and function to a higher standard) for 14 000 USD which is where all the money raised for this donation will go.

I know Mackie will do everything in his power to get out on the water again, now it’s time we do our part!

 

Find the donation page here: LINK

SURF EXPO

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For one week I flew back into Orlando to meet up with all my friends who travel to Florida for the Surf Expo. It’s always fun to see the new product and all the people I’ve barely seen all season so without hesitation I decided to skip one week of university (I just started one semester at the Stockholm Business school). Keep your eyes peeled on the Slingshot Wake website  the coming days for the release of the 2017 line! Here’s a sneak peak of the women’s boards the new Valley and the Pearl!

Wake the Line

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Almost a decade ago I came across the images from the first Wake the Line event. It almost made me choke my coffee as I saw the huge arena with rails and kickers some creative soul had put  in the local swimming pools! I remember being amazed and watching the event for a lot of inspiration before I arranged my very first own competition, the “O’Neill Wake Up Stockholm”. Now the event is probably the most established rail event in the world. To quote David Vervenne from Unit Parktech and the setup designer ”Riders drop whatever they are doing to come to this event. It doesn’t matter if they had other plans, an invite to WTL clears their schedule”. A statement proven by the fact that this year WTL was being held the same weekend as the WWA boat World Championship in Toronto with no rider turning down the opportunity to compete against the worlds best rail riders in Cologne.

I flew into Germany on friday morning and after realizing that the three hoodies and rain jacket i packed for the event would be staying in my bag completely untouched due to the 34c in the air I got picked up by David from the airport. During the next few days he showed me around the wakeboarding scene in Germany including the cable Langenfeld and of course the practice sessions at WTL. Once there I was thrilled so see so many of my friends, especially the first ever female rider invited to compete in the event: german World Champion Julia Rick. The course looked as good as always  and talking to David I could tell how much effort and planning had been put into arranging the event. Every single detail had been thought of and all the riders I could see practicing were having huge grins on their faces and were ready for Sundays competition. When I asked around for who people thought were gonna take the top spot I received different answers every time and the most common reply was ”The setup is so unique that really it is anyones game”.

On the day of the competition a massive crowd started filling up the bleachers. Estimated tickets sold for the event were 3000 and due to the amazing sunny weather the arena was packed. I was thrilled to meet some on my german friends and fans and I hope, like they said, that I can come back to Wake the Line next year and try this setup once my knee is healed! Sundays comp showed us some insane riding and in the end the final consisted of four riders: Raph Derome (CAN), Daniel Grant (THA), Nico Von Lerchtenfeldt (GER) and Dominik Hernler (AUT). The level of riding was insane and in the end (even though he accidentally cut open his head) Daniel Grant dominated both the Wakeboarding event and the Wakeskating one! Closely followed by Raph Derome in the wakeboard finals  and Austin Pastura (USA) in wakeskate.

I had an amazing time taking over the Lifeproof Snapchat and Insta stories and hopefully I can take you back there next year as well!
Thanks for following!

REHAB

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These past few weeks I have been focusing 100% on my rehab. Normally I wake up at 6am to head to the gym and then I go back at 5pm for a bike session or water therapy. Every day is different, some days I feel really good and my rehab sessions are great and the next day I’ll wake up with a swollen knee and a strong urge to throw something in the wall because I know I over strained my knee the previous day. Today was one of those good days as I took my bike for a 30 minute ride OUTSIDE in the Swedish cool summer air. After that I went to work on my rehab program and for the first time since surgery I got to put some weights on my lounges! I am super excited to be moving forward and to see how my knee is getting stronger each day! I feel like time is flying by and I’ll be back on the water before I know it!