Nautique skier Erika Lang is one of those naturally gifted athletes that could be great at anything she chooses. With three World Trick Records broken in the last seven months, we’re lucky she chose waterskiing. Virtually unbeaten since turning pro, Erika is the current World Champion and has taken down both the Moomba Masters, and U.S Masters in 2014. At just 18 years old Erika’s career is just beginning and she has everyone wondering what’s next.
How did you get into waterskiing?
Both of my parents grew up skiing and always lived on a lake so they introduced me to the sport when I was really young. I’ve lived on a lake my entire life so practicing has always been very accessible. The first time I ever skied I was two years old and got up on my first try. I guess I was a natural!
Has tricks always been your favorite discipline?
Tricking has definitely always been my favorite discipline. I was a level 10 gymnast up until a few years ago so flipping and spinning on the water was very easy for me from the beginning. I would always say to myself if I can do a double backflip and a backflip with two and a half spins on the ground then I should have no problem learning some flips on the water. My favorite part of tricking has always been learning new tricks. I love trying new things and the moment when you finally land something new for the first time is the best feeling in the world.
You just had two World Records approved that were broken on the same weekend. Tell us about that tournament.
Breaking two more world records on the same weekend is so exciting for me. I couldn’t have done it without Nautique! No other boat would have provided me the consistent wakes that I needed to break three world records within 7 months! The Ski Nautique 200′s wakes are so solid and reliable, so I always know what to expect when going to a competition! I don’t have the opportunity to go to very many record tournaments that don’t have any pressure to win. Living in Arizona it’s hard to travel to Florida every weekend for tournaments, so this spring at the only West Coast record tournament I decided that it would be a good time to try and break another record! I just really focused on doing my runs super-fast so that I would get two extra 180′s at the end of both of my passes. That was the only difference between my first record and the two recent ones! I really wanted to prove that my first record wasn’t a fluke but that I am a very consistent 10,000 point tricker!
Holding three consecutive World Records in Tricks. How do you plan your runs and train leading up to an event?
Holding three consecutive World Records has taken a lot of hard work and dedication. I have basically been working on it for my entire life and everything that I have ever learned has recently just fallen into place. My main goal in skiing has always been to break the world record but I never really focused too hard on it. I knew that it would happen eventually if I just kept at it and that’s exactly what happened. I really love learning new tricks so upping the record is really fun for me. I am still constantly learning new tricks and I am hoping to break the 11,000 point mark in the future. My main goal now is to try and get women’s trick skiing as close to the men’s level as possible. I hate the huge gap between men’s and women’s skiing. I’m hoping to be the one to change that.
What do you think has most contributed to your success?
I credit all of my success to my mom. There is no way that I would be anywhere without my mom. She has always been there for me through everything from driving me for hours on end to encouraging me in anything that I have ever wanted to achieve. If it wasn’t for her I would literally be nowhere. I also give a lot of credit to my gymnastics background. I truly believe that if I wasn’t a gymnast I would not have had the strength, air awareness, flexibility, perseverance, work ethic, or the ability to know how to flip and spin as easily. Tricking was always so much easier than gymnastics and a lot less scary so it was very easy for me to learn all the tricks. Seven hour gymnastic practices a day were definitely a good warm up for my 15 minute trick set once I got home. Haha!
You just graduated high school this past year. What are your plans for the future?
I recently just graduated high school and I am now planning on moving from Arizona to Orlando, Florida to attend Rollins College in the fall. At the moment I plan on studying business. I want to be very successful in life so I plan on doing whatever it takes to achieve that. I also plan on continuing to ski and break a few more world records while I’m at it and eventually reach the 11,000 point mark. It will be fun living in Florida next year and being able to train with people that love the sport as much as I do since nobody else is into any type of watersports where I am from.