In honour of “International Women’s Day” we’re sharing stories from our cream-of-the-crop female athletes. Each of them has a passion, talent and vision that has reshaped her sport. They stand as heroes, set to inspire future generations of female athletes, choosing to be exceptional and unleash their remarkable.
First up for this rad week is #TeamLifeProof’s wakeboard champion Carro Djupsjo. Not only is Carro a 4x European Wakeboard Champion and the first European female rider to land a double flip, she’s pushing female wakeboarding to new levels to ensure that there is fairness amongst riders. We’ll let Carro tell the rest of the story here in our interview.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A WAKEBOARDER?
When I was young, the Swedish National Champion, Karin Åhlen, took me under her wing. She taught me my first invert and pretty much forced me to compete. I am forever grateful to her, my Dad and many more who believed in me and pushed me back then. Without those strong role models I don’t think I’d be where I am today.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT IN YOUR WAKEBOARDING CAREER?
Winning Wakeboarding Magazine Trick of the Year in 2015 for my double flip was definitely not a bad feeling! Also winning my first Pro Women European Championship 2010 in Sweden while still being a Junior felt incredible, and even better because my whole family was there to cheer me on!
WHO HAS BEEN YOUR MAIN ROLE MODEL?
I have a ton! Other female riders like Dallas Friday, Amber Wing, Melissa Marquardt for example but also strong women who stand up for themselves like handball athlete Linnea Claesson, Serena Williams and Zara Larsson. I have a ton of male role models as well such as free skier Jon Olsson and my brother.
IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT IS THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE FACING WOMEN IN ACTION SPORTS?
To me, the biggest issue is the general acceptance that women in all sports shouldn’t receive the same compensations. They should get less prize money, less time on air and lower salaries. The response I usually get following this is “well, there are a lot more male athletes in action sports” but have you thought of it the other way? Maybe if the opportunities were the same, there would be more female athletes getting involved.
OU’RE NOT ONLY A CHAMPIONSHIP ATHLETE BUT ALSO A SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCER. DID BUILDING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PROFILE HELP IN YOUR WAKEBOARDING CAREER?
Yes it definitely did. This year I started studying Business at University and Social Media is an important part if you want to find brands who support you. By using such a powerful tool as social media, us athletes can now interact with our fans on an every day basis. I love following my favorite athletes (Stephanie Gilmore and Aimee Fuller to mention a few) and I believe they market themselves really well, so I try and do the same.
YOU WERE BADLY INJURED LAST YEAR. TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE UPS AND DOWNS OF THE RECOVERY AND WHAT PUSHED YOU THROUGH THE PAIN TO COME BACK?
Last year, I had a bad fall and ended up needing surgery on my knee. Recovery was definitely the most challenging part in my career so far, and how weird this might sound, I actually wouldn’t change what happened that day. Going through this recovery has only made me more motivated to get back on my board and it has giving me A LOT of time to practice my mental strength. I feel like a completely different person and my mind thinks that if I can conquer something like this, I can conquer anything!
YOU’RE STUDYING AT A HIGH LEVEL ALONGSIDE YOUR WAKEBOARDING CAREER, HOW DO YOU MANAGE TO BALANCE BOTH YOUR TRAINING AND STUDYING?
It’s all about planning. I’ve recently discovered the importance of letting your body rest so for me to work out my mind on those days has been great to keep me from bouncing on the walls. I decided I’d just try my best to keep up with my University studies and so far it has worked out although when the contest season starts, I will probably put my studies on hold for a couple of weeks.
DO YOU THINK THERE IS ENOUGH MEDIA COVERAGE FOR WOMEN IN WAKEBOARDING AND IF NOT WHAT DO YOU THINK SHOULD BE DONE TO FIX THAT?
I believe women have been neglected in the past but the times are turning, the general public are more and more interested in female wakeboarding. We need to make sure the media knows what us consumers want and they will listen. The power is really in the people’s hands and I believe the conversation is changing.
ANY GOALS THAT YOU CAN SHARE WITH US FOR YOUR 2017 COME BACK?
Being injured for a year gives you time to think out a ton of goals! My main one being a project I am working on at the moment but that will have to remain a secret for now. I also want to get back to the contest scene and hopefully get a medal at the World Games, along with attempting a lot of new tricks in my own riding.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A KID LOOKING TO BECOME A PROFESSIONAL WAKEBOARDER?
Do what makes you happy! If you love riding cable, go ride cable every day and don’t worry so much about what other people think. These days I am happy that my parents made me stay in school. Don’t worry about doing the trick ”wrong” or if it looks cool or not, just keep playing and having fun and you’ll eventually find your own style.