Traveling the globe for waterski tournaments, keeping a rigorous training schedule, working, and starting her new project THESKICREW.com, Nautique skier Clementine Lucine is hard to keep up with. A look at her storied competitive career shows the results of this high pace and dedication to waterskiing with multiple world records and world titles along with being an active and high profile French athlete promoting waterskiing everywhere she goes.
How did you first get into waterskiing?
Both my parents were figure skating coaches and made me try lots of sports as a kid. I was very active. During the summer people were waterskiing for fun on the lake at home and I asked my parents to try too. At the club, they had skis for very young kids, and I tried. I was 3. I loved it right away and never stopped since then!
When did you know you wanted to become a professional?
I started competing at the age of 10. I went to my first ever National Championship and won. I tasted competition, wining, and loved it; so then I knew I was going to keep going for a while A few years later, when I started wining Europeans and Worlds as a junior, I made up my mind to do everything I could to one day become the World Champion in Open. That’s around that time that I really wanted to become a Pro in the future.
Splitting your time between France and the U.S. along with traveling all over the world to waterski tournaments, what does a typical year look like for you both in and out of ski season?
I would say that I don’t have much time to get bored in one place…haha. Lets have a look at my schedule last year: I spent January and half of February at home, working for Nerim (I work as the marketing and communications manager for the French Internet and Telecom Company), going to the gym and snow skiing, then I left to Australia for a month. I trained with Emma Sheers before Moomba, and then left to Mandurah for the World Cup. After that I went back home for a month, working 4 days a week and skiing 3. End of April, I left for the World Cup in Indonesia, and then flew to Florida to get ready for Masters with Pierre Ballon and Drew Ross. In June, I was back home working half of the week and training half of the week in Recetto, Italy. In July and August, I mostly trained in Recetto, and skied in lots of tournaments in Europe including Nationals, etc. In September I competed in the Europeans and then worked again half the week and trained half. Then in October I left to Florida to get ready for Worlds with Drew in Slalom, Pierre and my coach Marian in Tricks, and with Jason Seels and Zack Worden in Jump. End of November I left to Chile for Worlds and got back home in December where I worked again and organized a big party for the association I created earlier this year. I guess, I’ve been quite busy, but I enjoy it a lot .
You are currently doing a lot for waterskiing in France and have been working on various projects including a video you recently released. Tell us about some of the things you’ve been doing and what you have in store for 2014.
Seeing how waterskiing is such an awesome sport, how many people don’t really know it, and how many kids are good but could be even better, I decided to act and do something different. With my boyfriend Pierre Ballon, we created the association: « The Ski Crew » that has 2 missions: 1. Help promote and develop waterskiing in France; and 2. Help a young athlete every year financially, technically, materially and morally to one day become pro as well. We also filmed a movie that shows the full scope of waterskiing all around the world. In December, we introduced the movie to a crowd of 300 people in my hometown, and it was a great success. During the party we had a big raffle with amazing prizes to thank all the people that helped us, and introduced them to the kid we’re helping in 2014, young Leo Anguenot. We are now selling our dvd’s to profit the association, and we’re giving it away to as many surf shops, restaurants, ski clubs, Land Rover dealerships, etc. so as many people as possible can see it and discover how wonderful our sport is. This year should be very exciting!
From World Championships to World Records, what has been your most memorable moment on the water?
I know I should choose one, but honestly, I have two very different ones that are as memorable as the other.
1. When you dream and train as a kid to one day become a World Champion in your sport, I promise you that when you achieve that goal, and become World Champion for the first time and stand in front of everyone listening to your national anthem, it’s just the most fantastic feeling ever. And I cried .
2. In waterskiing like in most sports, there can be a new World Champion every time. However, breaking certain World Records can only be achieved once. I wanted to find a way to be remembered in my sport in another way than just by wining tournaments. I broke many world records in Tricks or Overall since 2004, but there was one I really wanted to do; be the first women to trick over 9000 pts. I trained really hard, scored 8800 pts. so many times… and finally I hit 9000 pts., but I did it a month too late. Nattie did it first. I was sad, but then I started dreaming that women could trick 10,000 pts. I trained like never before, learned new tricks, re-learned how to do toes to get faster, and started really believing that I could do it one day. At the end of the following year, I tried that run at the latest tournament at Cory Pickos, behind the brand new Ski Nautique 200 at the time and on the last round, I did it all! I was super excited, and didn’t know if everything was in time. And it was. I became the first women to ever break the 10,000 pts. barrier! I know now that I left a trace in my sport that no one could ever take it away from me. In the future, many more will do it, but I’m very happy that I was the first. I feel that our competition between Nattie and I, pushing our limits is what helped women tricks get to another level. Therefore, I’m proud of it.
What does your training regimen consist of?
Most of the time, I slalom first in the morning, 8 passes max, and then jump once or twice before lunch, and the afternoon is all about tricking. I usually like doing one very long trick set with both toes and hand runs a few times and then sequences, to finish with a new trick or two I’m learning. When I’m traveling or getting ready for a tournament, I usually have to make it much quicker, and work on runs and sequences mainly.
How many years have you been with Nautique and how do you think the 200 has impacted the sport?
We’re getting very close to the 10 year mark now and Nautique has been such an amazing supporter for me all these years. They have helped me in so many ways and it has truly made all the difference to me. There is no doubt I will always be thankful. The company isn’t only building boats; it’s building champions, giving back to the community and to the sport. They also created the best and only real 3-event boat. I feel very lucky to be part of the only company that really cares about the future of all 3-events, and that is building the best overall boat. We’re lucky to have such a company in our sport! Plus I love my black and white Ski Nautique 200. So pretty
In your professional career what major changes have you seen in the sport and where do you think it is going in the future?
Our sport is evolving like snow skiing is, and many new possibilities are being offered to us which is great. Boats are getting bigger and better, we are now able to wake surf behind boats, and cable parks are expanding all over allowing new people to get into our sport. Everywhere in the world, a form of waterskiing, no matter what kind is happening and growing, and it’s great news for us. Snow skiing keeps evolving with all the new events working along the classic events, and all of them are awesome, introduced at the Olympics and watched. All that is happening to us now is very positive news for all of us, skiers, wakeboarders, surfers, wakeskaters, cable skiers, etc. This means that if we keep working all together to promote our sport as a whole, there’s no reason we shouldn’t be able to accomplish what snow skiers have. And who knows, we might end up at the Olympics one of these days.