Ksenia Naumova is the 2017 World Wakesurfing Champion in the Outlaw Women Skim category and is also the Russian and European champion. In this interview, the sportswoman reveals some wakesurfing secrets and shares useful advice for beginners.
How did wakesurfing come into your life? And how important is it for you now?
In fact, I did not have the choice of having sport in my life or not, it just was; the only real question was what kind of sport I would choose. I tried different sports: basketball and synchronised swimming. Once my dad was filming a TV programme about water skiing and the coach (who later became my first coach) met my dad and offered me the chance to try water skiing. 'Ksyusha, there's an offer, let's try it.' 'Yes, of course! I agreed. With pleasure!' I really enjoyed it. I was 12 years old then and these were the first steps taken in water sports.
Wakesurfing appeared 7 years ago. I think I was one of the first people to try this sport in Moscow. I liked it, and continued with it. It's my life now! Wakesurfing accounts for 90% of my time, both leisure and work, because when I have free time, I go out for a ride with friends, and the rest of the time I train others or practice. It's my hobby, my job—wakesurfing is everything to me!
Do you remember your first board?
I don't remember what my first board was like, but I remember what I felt and how I got up on the wakesurf board. It was late autumn. But I got up onto the board because it was cold, and I just had to get out of the water. That's the feeling I remember very well. My first board was a birthday present. It was a Pro-model of a famous rider, who signed it with the following message: 'Ksenia, you will have everything, and everything will work out!' Later. I gifted it to a friend of mine whose name is also Ksenia. So I can say that the board has remained with me: I can still see it, I remember it very well and I am glad that it is still with me.
Are you planning on taking part in competitions again?
I will definitely compete again. Now I'm a two-time champion of Russia. I would like to become a three-time champion of Russia and once again appear on the podiums of world championships, especially the most important one, the World Championship. I'd like to climb onto that podium, and ideally, win first place. That's what I am seeking and preparing for, and I hope you'll see me there.
Is wakesurfing a romantic or an extreme sport?
Wakesurfing is a moderately extreme sport; it is almost impossible to get seriously injured, you would have to 'try very hard' for that to happen. But at the same time, it is a totally romantic and beautiful sport! For example, you can reserve a boat for two with your partner, and only the two of you ride together and support each other.
When do you prefer to ride: early in the morning or in the evening?
I prefer to train in the afternoon, because in the morning my body and head don't perform very well and I have to put a lot of effort into it. But after breakfast and a little rest, around noon or 1 pm, I get out on the pier with my board and really enjoy it.
But of course, evening and sunset are best suited for photos or video shooting. It looks great in photos or video. Just fantastic!
Please describe your perfect ride
In fact, there are two kinds of rides: when you ride with friends for fun and pleasure, and when you train and improve your skills. In both cases, it is more pleasant to ride when the weather is good, because, unfortunately, it is harder to jump into the water when the weather is grey and gloomy. Although I should say that when it comes to training, you have no choice—you must go and train in spite of everything. Of course, I prefer sunshine and daytime.
When training, I am alone or with my coach, but he is located in Europe, so we do not meet often.
But I also like riding alone when I can focus on performing what I've been learning for a long time. Riding alone helps you to concentrate and not get distracted: you have got only yourself, the boat, the board and the driver who's helping.
Therefore, there is probably no definite answer to this question; the main thing is to ride, and always ride while in a good mood.
What is the difference between ocean surfing and trailing behind a boat?
The question already contains the answer: ocean surfing involves riding in the ocean, the sea or on a wave created by nature. Wakesurfing refers to an artificial wave created by a boat. I would say that these are completely different types of riding, and they are not similar in style; perhaps only some small part is similar. Everyone who says they have surfed and then try wakesurfing for the first time is sure that it is almost the same, and that there will be no problem in mastering wakesurfing. I say, 'Yes, guys, that's great! It'll help you, but these are two very different things.' Obviously, ocean surfing skills help you catch the balance faster. If you can, try both and decide for yourself.
What would you recommend for beginners?
For beginners, I would recommend, above all, not to be afraid to try. At first glance, it seems difficult, but in fact, with a good instructor/coach and the right explanation, it is very easy. You don't have to be afraid to try and ride again and again. You will love it! No one has said yet, 'Ugh, I don't want to do this anymore.'
In your opinion, has wakesurfing reached its top popularity in Russia?
Now, wakesurfing in Russia is at the peak of its popularity, because there are so many new boats, people are not afraid to open new clubs not only in Moscow, but also in country regions. Wakesurfing popularisation means a lot for me as a professional and 'oldcomer' of this sport. It's nice to observe the development. Unfortunately, I can't predict what will happen: maybe its popularity will still increase, although it's already quite difficult to book something in any club at the weekend; the schedule is very tight. This situation shows that people like wakesurfing, that they need it. And that's awesome! If its popularity continues to grow, I'll be thrilled! And if after riding, people will want to buy their own boats, it will be fantastic, I will have a lot of work to do!
Getting curious? It's time to choose the place where you'll get up on the board for the first time. Catch the wave in time.
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