Local wakeboarder Nakita Schaab, 16, has been selected as an Alberta Sport Development Centre (ASDC) featured athlete for her dedication and skill in her sport.
Schaab has been competing for a number of years and took an extra step this year in honing her skills as part of the Athlete Enhancement Program offered by ASDC. Last year, Schaab was awarded the title of Canadian Champion in Junior Women, and was also presented with the 2014 Junior Wakeboarder of the Year recognition from Wake Canada.
“Basically, with this sport it’s hard to train in the winter so I knew that this program could really benefit me. I knew that there would be a place I could start working out, and that they’d make a specific program for me and I knew that this program would make me better in my sport. I knew it’d be a commitment for me to keep growing in wakeboarding, even in the winter when I’m not riding,” Schaab said.
She sent in a resume, was interviewed and eventually accepted into the program. In January, she began to train with workout regimes and specific routines designed through collaboration between her regular coach and those with ASDC.
“There are lots of different routines that my coach has told me to focus on. She’s been contacting the program as well, so they’ve been collaborating to make it that much better. I started training with them in January and it goes throughout winter and spring, and then in summer they are starting new schedules. If I want, I can apply again for the fall,” she explained.
“I started training each day and just started to get more benefit from it. They’re really good with making your performance better and you can talk to the coaches about what you want to work on. They’re really good at being compatible with what you want and the benefits you want.”
The physical training is only one aspect of the program. Schaab also takes part in seminars at Red Deer College through the ‘Winning Edge’ portion of the program. This deals with mental health, nutrition, public speaking skills and other topics that are beneficial to the athletes’ well being.
As a regional and national competitor, Schaab is looking for any edge that she can grasp that will help her further her wakeboarding career. She has been a part of the sport for a number of years, and is excited to see the regional recognition and growth.
However, she said she still feels that there could be more representation of females in the sport, and encourages women to get active in wakeboarding.
“We definitely want more girls – I’m one of the few girls in Alberta and I have to compete with the men’s division. We have advanced, intermediate, beginner – we have a lot of categories. Anyone can come to the Alberta stops, you don’t need to apply or anything, just come by,” she said.
Schaab wakeboards with Water Ski and Wakeboard Alberta (WSWA), which offers a variety of levels that people can participate in for water skiing and wakeboarding.
“We always want wakeboarding to grow as a sport. As of right now, wakeboarding is growing but it could be growing even faster. We’d love to get more people to our Alberta stops for WSWA – it’d be great if more people were involved.”
Schaab will be taking part in Alberta wakeboarding competitions, with tour stops in Sylvan Lake, Pine Lake, Blackfish Lake and Chestermere. She hopes to advance provincially and enter into national competition again later this year.