Bec Gange has this way of slipping under the radar. The girl from Mildura who enjoys having a chat over a cold beer and riding boat with her family and friends, she’s the ultimate girl next door. Except she can probably wakeboard better than you.
Starting off skiing at the age of 11, Bec swapped to wakeboarding at 14 and hasn’t looked back. Progressing quickly behind boat and then getting into cable a few years back, she likes both, but boat is definitely her favourite.
“(Boat) it’s what I grew up with. To me there is nothing better than getting the boat ready with my family and heading down the river for the afternoon and relaxing and riding. Then to get that last ride in before dark when all the boats and wind are gone and it’s just you and the flat water with the stereo cranking.” With all the hours riding and support from family and friends it’s no wonder Bec kills it in the Australian scene. She has won Nationals the past six years in a row, on top of placing 5th in the IWSF world’s, winning the Mark Kenney Award and 3rd in the Australasian Games. She has also taken a few podium positions in the Liquid Force Rail Jam series in the past few years. It was a few years ago that Liquid Force hosted a ride day at (the newly renamed) GoWake Cable Park on the sunshine coast, where Melissa Marquardt was one of the visiting pro riders and Bec got into cable riding. “Cable is fun too because it’s just a different feel. You don’t need three people and it’s just you and the rails. You try to add your own style and do the things you want to do. You don’t have to impress any body but yourself.” But, she will always return to boat. “I like having that company in the boat while you ride. People pushing you and learning new tricks… and you don’t have to walk back to the dock ”
On her rise up through the ranks, there have been a few low moments, such as hurting her ankle last year or when she learnt her first invert. “It took me so long to land one and it almost made me give up. Thanks to Josh Sanders I learnt the proper way to edge and learnt a backroll… after about 200 attempts!”
But it brings us back to the importance of family and friends and the role they’ve played in her riding. She admits with full honesty that her mum and dad would be her favourite people to ride with. “They have been there for me from the start and have had the most influence in my life. If they got a dollar for every time they had to turn around and pick me up they would be some rich mother f#$kers!” She also names Oliver Rennie and Mick Neville amongst her other favourites to wakeboard with. “(Rennie) He learns so quickly and it frustrates me so I try harder to beat him.” She says laughing at the rivalry she shares with her wakeboarding boyfriend. “And I’ve always looked up to Ben Greenwood and Chris O’Shea’s riding too.”
The quiet natured women’s wakeboarding wonder is developing a following all of her own… and rightly so. With her level of skill and talent on the board, it was only a matter of time before that transcended to off the water and helping others. Bec has regularly been asked to help coach women’s boat and cable wakeboard clinics in Australia. She brings with her the patience and reassurance that other females learning, appreciate and respect. And it’s noticeable the impact she is having on the sport. “Ladies can’t give up because it’s too hard or too embarrassing. It’s only embarrassing if you tell yourself that. Don’t care what any one else thinks, wakeboarding is an individual sport and you ride how you want. As long as you are out there having fun, that’s all that matters. I think the more ladies see how the pro women are riding, it makes them realise that it’s possible to do that.”
The response so far to her coaching has been phenomenal, with ladies at both the Wake Chick’s Summer Series (Cable Ski Logan) and the Ladies Wakeboard Camp (Cables Wake Park Penrith) learning everything from the basics of getting up out of the water to wake-to-wake tricks and inverts off the kickers. It’s only just the beginning, as there are still a few more Cable/Boat clinics to go, at Cable Ski Logan this summer that Bec will be coaching.
So where to from here? Well, there is the rest of the Liquid Force Rail Jam Series, Nationals in Perth and she is planning more women’s coaching clinics in conjunction with Jetpilot. But her plans otherwise are a little open-ended, mostly focusing on as much time on the water as possible. “My favourite moments in wakeboarding are any time I am smiling and having fun, landing any new trick or sticking one you haven’t done for a while. Or just grabbing a trick you have never done before. Yeah sure winning a contest is awesome but nothing beats the feeling of landing that one trick you have been trying and dreaming of for months or even years, after all the heartache and crashes… that feeling you get when some how it all just came together and you ride away from it.” It’s an outlook that shows just how much she loves the sport and why so many female and even male wakeboarder’s look up to her. It’s this attitude, along with Bec’s impressive talent on a wakeboard that have helped her to secure sponsorship from Jetpilot, Liquid Force, Oakley, Geronimo Jerky and Sideways, which support her to keep progressing and shredding on the board. She knows how fortunate a journey she has had through her wakeboarding life and how important everyone along that journey has been to her success. “Wakeboarding is a hard sport to make a career out of but girls can’t back down.” Nor will she, the quiet determination and passion for the sport, still visible as she cracks a beer at the end of another great day of wakeboarding.