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Eve & Kieran World Wakeboard Champs Interview
Cab9 Team riders Eve Smith-Lang and Kieran Owens recently returned from the Cable Wakeboard World Championships in Argentina. We fired some questions at them to find out what they got up to!
Hey guys, congratulations on your successful trip to the World Champs in Argentina with Team GB! Can you tell us a bit about this event and how important it is?
K: So at Pampa CablePark they were hosting the IWWF Cable Wakeboard World Championships, this is a really important competition for me because you are competing against all the top riders around the world. All the industry are watching the event which only happens once every 2 years so it’s a pretty deal.
How did it go for each of you?
E: It was a really tough competition. For me there were two heats and I qualified in the top two of my qualifying heat going straight in to the finals. The finals had an insane vibe, the quality of the girls' riding was so good. In the end I came away with 4th so I was disappointed to miss out on the podium but I was still really happy with my run.
K: I had a shocker to be honest! Was riding really good in training, got some tough heats which got the better of me which was a shame. But hey you win some and you lose some, luckily as I’m competing in under 19’s I’ve got 3 more years in this category to make up for it.
What was the vibe like in Argentina? I mean, we know it was a serious comp but you must have had a whole load of fun, right?
K: The vibe was so good, we had a Team house which was super nice and even though it’s a serious comp it was so good to chill by the pool, have fun when we weren’t at the cable. All the teams get on really well so it’s always a blast when you meet up with your friends from all over the world, even though you are competing against each other.
E: Yes its always fun being away at these events, being with the team, loads of stuff happened that nearly stopped us from getting to training but we made it. Quite a bit of it was filmed by Ryan Peacock and can be seen on the Peacock Brothers Vlog on You Tube. We also were all in one house as a team and so at nights we had a laugh together too.
Coming back to the event, the competition must have been pretty strong, did you feel the pressure and if so how did you deal with it?
K: Yeah the competition is really strong and after such a strong result in the Europeans in my first year in the category I felt loads of pressure to come and try repeat that result at the Worlds. I relied on the team captain Ryan to help me go through my runs which really calmed me down as he’d take me through it step by step. Also I like to chill with some music to distract myself in the run up to actually competing.
E: The competition was insane but you try and not let the pressure get to you it's hard not to think about the time and money and training and everything that went in to getting you to that moment but as soon as you leave the dock to start your run it's fine. Well I say that but I literally left the dock, hit the kicker and lost the handle on my first run so had to do it all in my second run.
You travelled to the event as members of Team GB, tell us a bit about how Team GB supports you and what it’s like to be representing your country?
K: It’s the ultimate in any sport to represent your country, and although I was first picked age 11 I think I only really appreciate now just what a big deal it is. The BWSW are the national governing body who support the team, help with some of the funding and generally making sure we can all go to these events.
E: I only joined the team last year and I actually burst in to tears when I got the letter telling me I had been selected, knowing that you are good enough to represent Great Britain in a sport is unreal. Getting my team kit was a huge deal for me, we travel in it and also go to training in it and you get a real sense of pride wearing it. There is a really fun vibe in the GB team at competitions. We have team captains who are really supportive and offer great advice. They compete as well so know what the judges are looking for and help you to up your game. But we also just talk through our runs with each other, film each other riding and cheer each other on. We were definitely one of the loudest teams cheering on Finals day!
Looking at the Brits and other nations’ teams, how do we compare?
E: We have a really strong team in all categories. We only just missed out on a team medal but we weren't represented in all categories so to come as close to a medal as we did was amazing, but we took home 2 Gold medals, a Silver and a Bronze which was amazing! To be honest there are amazing riders from all of the Nations and everyone is there because they want to win so it literally can be anyone's on the day.
K: We are a small team but super strong compared with the other nations, they definitely know not to underestimate the Brits when we turn up!
What was your personal highlight of the trip for each of you?
K: For me the highlights were watching my team mates doing so well, we had two world champions crowned from the team, Eve getting 4th was a massive result too for her second Team GB trip. Off the water I learnt to do a standing back somersault, silly I know but a great highlight for me!
E: There were so many I have come away with, loads of memories from the trip, but I think getting to team training when everything was against us was so funny. The first day it was like a monsoon and the second day we needed a boat to get to the cable as the flooding was so bad. Kieran made it through in a rental car (just) with some of the team and the rest of us came through in the back of a pick-up truck!
Eve, from what we understand you’re now ranked no.1 in the world for your age group, is that right? Tell us how you feel about this.
E: Yes, so despite coming 4th in the competition I got enough world ranking points to start my 2019 Season ranked 1st in the world. It wasn't something I even thought about before the comp. I am pretty pleased, it puts you in a good position at competitions as you get to go out last and see what other people are doing.
What else is in the pipeline for you both as we go into the European season?
K: This season for me is about breaking the pro scene more, I had a great result at Plastic Playground in Bali and am now seeded in pro men as a result for the next Plastic Playground event which is one of the highlights of the wakeboard calendar. I’m headed to Lithuania with the hope of qualifying for RedBull Wake2El. Then of course there is the aim to defend my National Champion Title and Europeans for GB in the summer.
E: I've got a few things in the Pipeline this year, I am competing in Slovenia, Slovakia, Italy, as well as Plastic Playground and the Nationals that are already confirmed. The squad hasn't been selected for Europeans in Germany yet but I'm hopeful I will make selection based on my performance with the team so far. Hope to do a bit of travelling to other parks as well, not just to compete but to get more experience at other parks.
Cool, we'll be following your progress, good luck for the rest of the year!