Julia Rick has set her mark in the Wake Park World with a nearly impossible high bar to reach. The native from Cologne, Germany has 11 World Titles under her belt and continues to push the sport forward. Here is a Q&A by the founder of Women’s Wakeboarding Community Liepa Girskaite.
1. How did you get into wakeboarding? How old were you?
I started wakeboarding when I was 16 years old. I heard about a cable park close to my home – Wasserski Bleibtreusee in Brühl – and so I decided to try it out and completely fell in love!
2. First impressions – Did you love it from the first time? Did you struggle to stand up? Did you feel scared or awkward that you might not succeed in this?
I completely fell in love with wakeboarding right from the beginning! It worked out quite well after a couple of tries and I knew that I had discovered a new passion for me! As most of the people already know I’ve played soccer on a professional level. In the beginning, I couldn’t be on the water so often until I stopped playing soccer. In 2013 I started competing professionally in wakeboarding.
3. First competition? When did you decide that you want to be a professional wakeboarder?
I stopped playing soccer professionally in 2012 and decided to just focus on Wakeboarding as a sport and joining my first competitions. In 2012 I won the german nationals and became IWWF World Champion in the Junior Ladies division in the Philippines.
4. What was the first competition where you got an equal prize as men do?
My first competition where I got equal prize money was at the IWWF World Cup in Aqaba, Jordan in 2018.
5. What are your thoughts on equal prize money? Should it be the same in all competitions? What do you think stops all competitions to have equal pay?
Unfortunately, the prize money on most of the competitions is not equally distributed between men and women. In my opinion, there should be no difference in the amount of prize money. Women have the same amount of training and effort they put into their sport as men do. Furthermore, they have the same travel expenses, costs, etc. for the competitions they attend. If you keep the prize money low, you inhibit the development of the sport. Less and less women will join competitions and will stop competing professionally.
And what about sponsorship? Is it equal? Should it be equal?
Sponsorship is definitely not equal. If women cannot afford doing their sport professionally, they will have to do another job and will eventually stop it completely. If there are less women on a professional level, less women will be motivated to start the sport and this affects the development of the sport wakeboarding in general. This is a big struggle with many effects and side effects which you can observe in many other sports. Professional surfing (WSL) made history with the decision about equal prize money for female and male riders! I think you can definitely call it a milestone in the history of sports and it is a big step in the right direction!
6. Which cable parks are your favorite right now?
There are so many awesome cable parks worldwide!! One of the best are Sunset Wake Park in Brazil, ESC Wake Park in Bangkok, Thailand and Twin Cable Beckum in Germany.
7. Do you see many inspiring young female riders? Who do you think are most perspective?
For sure!! There are many young talented girls coming up at the moment! It’s too hard to name just a few, but the future of women’s wakeboarding is looking good!
8. Are you working on a specific trick right now? Which tricks are your favorite?
Of course, I’m always trying to improve my riding and to bring it to the next level, always pushing myself not just to learn new tricks, but also to improve my style by adding new grabs etc.
I love to boost big air tricks with long grabs, for example, my latest new air trick, the Front Blind Mobe with a Tail Grab. On the kickers I really like Rewinds!!
9. How do you feel being one of the best riders not just between girls, but overall? Do you like being the best at the cable?
As I said, I’m always trying to push my riding and to bring it to the next level! In general I want to push Women’s Wakeboarding and to help the development of the sport!
10. Are you afraid of something?
Yes, I’m definitely afraid of getting injured because this would mean I had to stop wakeboarding or doing sports in general! That’s why I’m working out off the water regularly to prevent injuries. In general, I try to keep my body in the best possible shape which also includes having a healthy diet, doing mobility work/stretching and listening to my body!
11. How long were you training for 1080? How did you feel being the first woman ever to land it?
I practiced the 1080 for several weeks until I finally landed it clean. Landing it clean for the first time was definitely one of the best feelings ever because I worked so hard for it and all the work finally got paid off!!
12. Who are your sponsors and coaches who should be mentioned in the article?
Panasonic, Ronix Wake, Mystic Wake, Bundeswehr, Sporthilfe, Ironmaxx Nutrition, Thanyapura, Garmin, Twin Cable Beckum