She may be only 19 but Jenna McAvoy has been at the top of the UK women’s wakeboarding scene for six years. Brought up as a water baby by her wakeboarding parents, Jenna now spends her summers on the lakes of Orlando organising Whirly-Birds girls-only wakeboarding clinics. She returns to the UK for comps, coaching and to hang with her crew, the Northern Monkeys. Welcome to the world of the beautiful, talented Miss Jenna McAvoy.
How did you get into wakeboarding?
When I was 11, we lived next to Lake Windermere [in the Lake District, Cumbria] where my mum ran a wakeboard / surf shop. She employed pro wakeboarder Tim Woodhead who inspired us to try wakeboarding. My parents are so cool, they do everything I do, they wakeskate, wakeboard, and if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have got into it.
What has been your scariest wakeboarding experience?
We went to Skegness for a wakeboarding pool gap demo [a pool of water set on 14ft-high scaffolding with sets of rails going down into another pool]. I’d just come back from Orlando and the boys didn’t think I’d do it, they thought I was all talk. The first time I hit it I fell off the side and flipped into the pool, but I was determined to do it so I went straight back to the top to try again. The second time I caught a front edge on the rail, and let’s just say it was lucky my arm came round to cover my face, otherwise it would have been smashed to pieces.
What’s your biggest achievement to date?
Getting over my fear of the pool gap at Wakestock. I was watching the boys hit it and really wanted to give it a go but my fear from the slam at Skegness was stopping me. So I grabbed my board and just stood there for 10 minutes while my friends were shouting at me to get on with it. I’m so glad I did because it made me realise I was making a big fuss over nothing.
You’ve travelled loads, where’s your favourite place?
So far, Orlando. I really like it over there. Growing up I used to watch wakeboard videos on repeat wanting to be Leslie Kent so it was amazing to get to ride with her and hang out.
What do you take with you when you travel?
Well, it’s got to be the hair straighteners.
How do you stay in shape?
Eat rubbish and ride. I find it boring going to the gym and working out. My friend Louise Moore [a wakeboard world champion] took me to bikram yoga but I couldn’t stand the
heat. Never again.
How do you stay beautiful despite being in the water all day?
Beautiful? Hmmm. I have a personal make-up artist and hair stylist by my side 24/7. No, I usually look like the swamp monster. I can give you one tip: don’t wear mascara for
What do you do out of the water?
I surf, snowboard, skate and organise Whirlybirds girls-only wakeboard clinics (www.whirlybirds.com). Our mission is to try to get more women involved in the sport and to raise money and awareness for breast cancer care and breast cancer research.