Nakita Schaab has proven she can ride with the best of them.
Schaab, a 15-year-old wakeboarder from Lacombe, recently competed in the Wake Canada National Championship and returned home with a gold medal.
Schaab has competed at nationals before. In fact she has competed the last four years running.
This is her first time placing first in any division. Each previous year, she returned home with a silver medal but was never quite able to make it to the top of the podium.
“I’ve worked really hard this year I think, so it was a big achievement to me,” said Schaab.
Earlier this year, Schaab spent six weeks in Orlando, Florida where she participated in a wakeboard training camp as part of the Canadian development team and also competed in her first ever international competition, where she placed third in the Junior Women 14-18 division.
Schaab said that extra time spent in the water and on her board made the difference in the Canadian national competition this summer.
“I’ve pretty much been wakeboarding since March this year, as opposed to starting in June.”
This year, Schaab also competed in a higher division (Junior Women) than previous years at nationals.
On the younger side of this division, Schaab said this makes her first place finish even more significant to her as she proved she can compete against riders that are older and more experienced than her.
After her qualifier run, Schaab was ranked highest in her division, leaving her feeling confident going into the finals. It also meant Schaab would be the last to do her final run.
She added the advantage in going last is that competitors can see what all their opponents’ runs are like prior to making their own, but Schaab said she prefers to use the time to focus herself.
“I don’t like to watch, I like to concentrate on my own run.”
While Schaab won her division, she said the competition was very close. She added she knows her opponents will continue getting better, so it is important for her to continue improving too.
“As I advance, they’ll advance,” said Schaab.
She out-rode seven other competitors to take first in the division and advance to the Open Women’s division.
She was also eliminated in the heats before making it to the Open Women’s final, but she was still more than happy with her performance as she was competing against some professional wakeboarders in the open division and had already realized her goal of winning the Junior Women division.
More recently, Schaab competed in the provincial wakeboarding tournament at Alix Lake where she took second in her division.
Schaab also has an opportunity to go compete in the worlds, but said she will likely not attend that competition this year as she has had a fairly full summer of wakeboarding.
Schaab added she will face very stiff competition at worlds and so wants to expand her trick repertoire before heading to that competition.
“I need a few more tricks to be able to do well,” said Schaab. She added that, while she is done the majority of her big competitions for the season, she doesn’t plan to get out of the water just yet.
“I am going to continue training until the lakes freeze,” said Schaab with a laugh.