To help Spring kick start back to live, we chat up Protest team rider and former World Wakeboard Champ Maxine Sapulette, who’s not only a proper machine under the cable, but also loves flying high above the water
Interview by Sam Haddad
When did you first give wakeboarding a go?
Actually I started waterskiing in 2000 because my Mom had met a guy who worked at the cable in my hometown of Enschede, Holland. After learning how to ski I kept seeing all the guys around me jumping on their wakeboards so in 2003 I thought I wanted to do the same, so I learned how to ride a wakeboard and fell in love [with it] from the start.
Were you good at it right away?
I think I had the talent for it, I came 2nd at the Nationals Cable in 2003, my first comp after riding for just a couple months. So yeah I guess I was good haha.
Did you start on cable or behind a boat?
Cable but I did boat in the year 2004 and 2005.
What’s the main difference between riding cable and boat?
With cable riding you can ride with your friends together, watching each other and copying tricks. And of course it’s cheaper haha. But behind the boat, you’re all by your self riding and people can watch but then when you fall you have to wait for the boat to pick you up and so on. And of course cable riders dont have a wake.
When did you start competing?
Right from the start in 2003.
You won your first world title at 16? How many have you won since then?
Yes I did, I still can’t believe it. When I won the IWWF official world title in 2006 I was competing in the Girls category. Since then I’ve won the Open Ladies IWWF world title in 2008 and then I won the WWA World Championships Open Ladies 09/10 and 2011.
You’re now 21. Do you get more or less nervous when you compete as you get older?
I think more, because the older you get and the more titles you get people have expectations and that’s just more pressure. People assume you’re going to win, and that makes me more nervous. And of course since I’ve had two injuries now, when I get back on the water it’s just that people were practising and I wasn’t that you know, you have to land all the best tricks to keep up with all the other girls.
Are you well known back home in Holland?
Well, I’m not sure. I’ve had loads of media in Holland, so I guess in the wakeboarding scene I am well known but for people outside of it probably it not so much. Wakeboarding isn’t the most popular sport here but then nowadays compared to five years ago people finally know what wakeboarding is.
Who has the best cable park in the world and why?
I have been to a lot of cable parks all around the world. I guess for now, until I have seen the rest of the world I have to say Baris Ozoral/Metin Levi have the best cable park (hip-notics) so far. Just because they have all the things a pro rider needs, good kickers, big rails, difficult rails and a rixen little bro to practice the airtricks, and they are just awesome all the people who work at hip-notics, they make sure you have everything.
Talk us through the process of learning a new trick, does it always start behind a cable or sometimes on land?
I think most tricks should be done on a cable or boat from the start. But I have some tricks I learned on a little bro or 2.0 system (2 pylon cable) and even some tricks I did first on a trampoline and then on the water. So yeh it depends what tricks.. Trampoling and 2 pylon systems is just a practice thing, but eventually you have to do it on the cable or behind the boat.
What are your favourite tricks to pull and why?
My absolute favourite is the Whirly bird off the kicker, it’s just a crazy trick where you backflip and rotate your body 360 degrees, I mean who wouldn’t like to land that haha. It just makes you feel awesome when you land a big trick like that.
What’s the worst slam you’ve ever had?
I have to say that it was my double s bend attempt (a double screw rotation) at Europeans in 2006.
Do you do any other board sports?
Sometimes in winter I do skateboarding but I prefer inline stunt skating, just because you can fly and skateboard isn’t stuck to your feet.
What do you love most about wakeboarding?
I have to say it’s the travelling, and seeing other countrys and meeting new people, and of course just being on the water with your friends, watching each other, learning from each other, wakeboarding makes me happy.
Maxine is sponsored by Protest, Jobe, Rixen and Fresh Athletes