Sasha Christian, 22, may be South East Asia’s top female wakeboarder today, but when she had first tried out the sport, she was left in tears. Said Christian, a full-time wakeboarder, “I started wakeboarding when I was five years old. I remember crying at the time, because I had thought the boat was going too fast then. It wasn’t, though.”
Her mother had introduced her to the sport
Christian’s involvement in wakeboarding initially began when her mother, an avid waterskier, used to bring her and her brother, Max along, to watch mother waterski.
Said Christian, “Then both of us eventually got started in waterskiing ourselves, as a sort of family activity.” This had been when Christian was three years old. However, when she was five, she decided that she had wanted a taste of wakeboarding – and she has never looked back since.
She added, “Max eventually started competing overseas after a few years and encouraged me to work hard so I could compete too. So I started learning some tricks and the more I learnt, the more I was hooked. I wanted to keep on improving and progressing, and I wouldn’t feel satisfied till I knew I’ve given it my all.”
Will be competing in the 2015 SEA Games
Christian has definitely come a long way since those early days. And this June, she will be competing in the 2015 SEA Games. This will be her second SEA Games. Said Christian, “The 2011 SEA Games had been the first time that wakeboarding was part of the SEA Games so it was very exciting for me. I had a perfect run then and was placed first. At this year’s Games, I’m aiming for another perfect run – that means no falls.”
Added Christian, “My training has been positive, leading up to the Games. I’ve been careful not to overtrain so I don’t get burned out before the competition. Right now, I’ve toned down all the gym work and training and have been focusing on perfecting my routine on water. For the last month, I’ve been wakeboarding and waterskiing (slalom) four times a week now. It’s been just the right mix of training and recovery.”
Home ground advantage will help
With the SEA Games being at home in Singapore this time round, Christian feels that the home ground advantage will help to some extent. She
explained, “It’s nice to be able to compete where we train (at Bedok Reservoir). It helps that we are used to the surroundings and we know the water conditions. All these will help, but we can’t forget that anything can still happen, come Games day.”
Her most memorable achievement
So far, her most memorable wakeboarding achievement though, was when she took part in her first overseas competition, at the age of 11.
Said Christian, “When I was selected to represent Singapore at the Asian Championships, I wasn’t nervous at all – I was just happy to be there and simply wanted to wakeboard. I like that memory because it reminds me of how important purity is.”
Grateful for the opportunities that wakeboarding has given her
Christian is indeed grateful for the opportunities in wakeboarding that she has been given today. She said, “There are ups and downs with everything, and in wakeboarding, the downs came in the form of injuries, poor results and being stagnant for too long.”
“But with that, I learnt how to stand up for myself and kept moving forward even when it was tough. Wake boarding has been a real blessing in my life. It has made me more confident and determined as a person,” added Christian.
What would she be today, if she weren’t a national wakeboarder? Explained Christian, “Without wakeboarding, I don’t think I’ll be the same person I am today. So it’s hard to say. But I’d like to think I’ll still be doing something sporty, maybe rock climbing.”
Wakeboarding is growing in Singapore
Today, wakeboarding in Singapore is still pretty much seen as an extreme sport, compared to more “mainstream” ones such as running and cycling. But amongst teenagers and young adults, wakeboarding has grown as a recreational past-time as well as a healthy way to spend time with friends.
The wakeboarder added, “The way that the sport is growing recreationally in Singapore has been encouraging. I hope that with our inclusion at the SEA Games, we’ll be able to give more exposure to the sport.”
Advice for those who may be hesitant to try out wakeboarding
And what advice does Christian have for those who are still hesitant to give wakeboarding a go? She said, “Wakeboarding is a ton of fun and it’s addictive. We wear a life jacket and the wakeboard floats, so as long as you are water confident, there’s no problem. I promise you’ll have a blast!”
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