Pictures courtesy of EPIC WakeBoats
WakeGirls: How old are you, and where are you from?
Shawna: I am seventeen years old, I’ve grown up in Chico, CA.
WG: How did you get into wakeboarding?
Shawna: Our neighbor took us out on his boat and showed us some raleys and inverts, and then sold a board to my dad. I got up on my first try at 7 yrs old and was hooked right away! When I was about 12, Raequel and I heard on the radio about a Liquid Force wakeboarding clinic out at Villa Lagos. From there, we were both so inspired, watching Pros and outlaw riders such as Steven Mckinley, Jacob Locken, and Kaesen Syderhoud that we wanted to wakeboard everyday! We also met Kyle Utterback who sponsored us with his clothing company, “Homegrown”. He would take us out wakeboarding with his friends and teach us how to ride. He taught me how to do a tantrum at age 12. Now, he is the product manager for Nixon watches, and I thank him so much for everything! Around the same time that Kyle helped us, Raequel and I sent a wakeboarding video to CWB and Justin Nix hooked us up with an Absolute with Krux bindings. Soon after, Raequel was landing flip after flip and I started going huge with my grabs and tantrums. We have been riding for CWB ever since. Thank you so much Justin and Kyle! If it weren’t for you guys, we would not be where we are today.
WG: Who do you usually ride with, and where do you do most of your riding?
Shawna: I usually ride with my sister on Lake Oroville, or Danni Petraitis up at Shasta Lake.
WG: What are your plans for this year?
Shawna: My biggest goal is to have consistency in contests. I would love to place in the top five or even podium!
WG: Are there any specific tricks that you’re working on?
Shawna: Blind 180’s, roll to blinds, and I really want to get a bat wing!
WG: What is your favorite and least favorite trick to do and why?
Shawna: My favorite trick to do is a toe five, and my least favorite is a back roll because for some reason, I always take the worst falls.
WG: What do you like to do when you are not wakeboarding?
Shawna: I like to snowboard in the winter as a cross-over sport.I ride my dirtbike with my family doing a lot of singletrack up in the mountains. I enjoy riding my horse.
WG: What board and set up are you currently riding? What do you like about it?
Shawna: I ride the CWB Sapphire 134 with Tiffany bindings. I love the Sapphire! It has a center spine on the base of the board which allows me to have soft landings, and it has a continuous rocker for extreme pop. The molded fins hold a good edge and allow you to have stable control with a faster cut than the Lotus board. Tiffany bindings are close toed and are very comfortable with a padded toe, which feels like a pillow on my toes! They have hinge tech to easily get in and out. You can tighten the hinge cable from the base of the boot. Those of you who haven’t ridden this board with these bindings should definitely try it, I’m sure you will be satisfied!
WG: Which rider inspires you the most and why?
Shawna: I’d say either my sister or Shelby Kantar and Melissa Marquardt. I’ve always looked up to Melissa whenever I watched her section in Relentless, and I thought it was so cool that she was the only girl on the team and she has so much style! Shelby works really hard in school, while she continues to be a professional wakeboarder and win the pro tour! My sister is also working really hard in school to be an English teacher, and she has a part time job, and she works her butt off at wakeboarding and she can land any trick she wants without giving up!
WG: Do you see yourself as the Serena (Williams) to your sister’s Venus?
Shawna: Raequel and I now compete on the Pro Tour together and we help eachother out at contests, telling eachother how the wake is and what rope length you need. Apparently, many people think that we’re twins or that we look a lot alike and I agree that we’re both similar to Serena and Venus.
WG: What is it like to be the sibling of such a well-respected shredder such as Raequel?
Shawna: Sometimes I feel guilty because certain people will walk up to me and congratulate me on my run when they think I’m Raequel, and I don’t correct them. That’s very rare, I usually always correct them and direct them to her. Raequel is such and awesome rider, and she has worked so hard to land big tricks such as 7’s and crowmobes, moby dicks, and whirlys! Last year, she suffered a season from a knee injury, and now she’s all healed up and hopefully, she will be able to shine through this season! I am so proud of her, and I know this season will be much better!
WG: What is playing on your iPod right now?
Shawna: “Jump in the Line” by Harry Belafonte or “Kids” MGMT.
WG: What is your favorite show on TV?
WG: What is the last book you read that you really liked?
Shawna: The Twilight series.
WG: Tell us about the worst job you ever had.
Shawna: I had to sort though underwear and clothes at the thrift store.
WG: Describe your perfect day.
Shawna: Camping on Lake Oroville, waking up early with some warm hot chocolate. Then take an early morning set on the glassy water. Come back to the campsite, and eat some breakfast burritos, then take the dirt bikes for a ride through the coniferous forests. Get back to the campsite, and winch some logs floating in the lake. Take another evening set and eat dinner and tell stories around the campfire with friends and family.
WG: What do you do to keep in shape for wakeboarding?
Shawna: I work out on the trampoline, trying different tricks with a rope and handle tied to a tree. I lift a little weight on my arms and use hand grips. I run as often as I can and sometimes run with the Track team at my school.
WG: What is your favorite thing about riding for EPIC Boats?
Shawna: The staff is awesome and they listen to their riders’ input on the boats. I get to ride an epic wake every day and experience so much pop and hangtime than any other boat I’ve ridden behind!
WG: What are you thoughts on the EPIC 23e?
Shawna: I think that it will help save our economy as far as the wakeboarding industry goes. There’s no need to worry about having to stock up on all your gas for the summer if you get the 23e! Where most boats use lake water to cool the motor, Epic uses a sealed system just like a car would, using radiator fluid.
WG: Who are your other sponsors?
Shawna: CWB, Arnette eye wear, Flojos shoes, Proline, Bern Helmets, my parents.
WG: What would you like to see change in the sport?
Shawna: I would also like to see many of the up and coming riders get some recognition for coming out to contests and trying to come onto the scene.
WG: Where do you think the women’s side of the sport is heading?
Shawna: I thought it was progressing when we were able to travel all five stops last year. More girls are stepping it up. I see more girls on my lake who wakeboard than guys. I hope that wakeboarding will become as big as surfing in the next few years.
WG: Do you have any suggestions on how to get more women involved in the sport?
Shawna: Go to wakeboard clinics. Check out www.wakegirls.com, watch some wakeboarding videos, even educational DVD’s on how to wakeboard.
WG: Who would you like to thank?
Shawna: Wakegirls.com! God, my parents, my sister, Kyle Utterback, Justin Nix, and all my sponsors.
Pictures courtesy of EPIC WakeBoats