Team Nautique athlete Erika Lang is no stranger to firsts and breaking records. Within the past three years she has become the first female skier to land tricks previously performed only by high-level male athletes, and has broken the Women’s Trick Skiing World Record three times behind the Ski Nautique 200. In the past year and a half she has been moonlighting as a wakeboarder, and seeing her take a ride behind the Sport Nautique 200 after a photo shoot, we knew it was only a matter of time before the wakeboarding world got to see her skills first hand.
Making her competitive wakeboarding debut as an amateur at the Nautique WWA Wakeboard National Championships last season, the field of Pro Women competitors took interest in the crossover World Record skier. The other women welcomed her into the pro ranks for 2015 as she competed in her first professional wakeboard heat at the Moomba Masters presented by Nautique this past March in Melbourne, Australia. This was yet again another first for watersports, as Erika became the first-ever female athlete to compete at the Moomba Masters event in both Waterskiing and Wakeboarding.
In April, she took 4th at the Nautique Wake Open in Waco, Texas, qualifying her for the U.S. Masters. This will be the second time this year that she will compete as a professional in both Pro Women’s Trick Skiing and Wakeboarding at the 56th Nautique Masters Water Ski & Wakeboard Tournament presented by GM Marine Engine Technology at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia.
There is no doubt that Erika Lang is something special. Doing what hasn’t been done just seems effortless and routine for the 19 year old that doesn’t see limits, and methodically takes down each goal she sets for herself with confidence.
How did you get started waterskiing?
I started waterskiing when I was two and competed for the first time when I was five. My parents were competitive water-skiers, which helped get me started. Growing up on a ski lake, I was able to train every day after school so skiing has been a part of my life since I can remember.
Was trick skiing something you have always focused on?
I have always focused on all three events but tricks definitely came the easiest to me. I was a level 10 gymnast so I developed the strength, air awareness, and flexibility needed in learning complicated tricks very early. This skill set that I developed from my gymnastics training is what I owe much of my success to.
When did you decide waterskiing was something you were going to pursue professionally?
When I was about 9 or 10 and my tricking was really starting to pick up and improve. I remember setting the goal to someday break the world record and I think that was where it all started.
How many Masters have you been to?
This will be my seventh Masters. I competed in the junior division for the first three years and then moved up to pro once I qualified.
When did you start wakeboarding?
I started wakeboarding about a year and a half ago but started intensely training just last November.
From competing in your first contest last season to being invited to the Masters, how much focus have you put into wakeboarding and do you plan to continue competing in both sports?
I have definitely put a lot more focus into my wakeboarding since my first contest last season. I have spent a lot of time training since then and I feel like it definitely shows. I am hoping to take my riding as far as I possibly can and I also plan on continuing to push my tricking to new limits. My goal is to eventually break the 11,000 points mark.
How does it feel to compete in both wakeboarding and waterskiing at the Masters?
I am so stoked to compete in both waterskiing and wakeboarding at the Masters. It’s the biggest event in watersports and this is something I’ve wanted to do since I started wakeboarding, to be invited my first year riding pro is incredible.
Be sure to check out Erika and the rest of the Team Nautique competitors at the 56th Masters live Memorial Day weekend at www.masterswaterski.com.