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Making Waves: Bec Gange

Making Waves is a series dedicated to sharing the stories of trailblazers, adventurers, innovators, pioneers and people who are doing good things in boating, fishing and recreational water sports.

Professional wakeboarder Bec Gange has two world titles up her sleeve and was the first female to ever land the Whirlybird 540. But the Mildura local still has more to achieve.

How did you first get into wakeboarding?

My dad and I wanted to get a boat when I was about 11 and we finally convinced my mum to buy one. I really enjoyed single skiing and didn’t like wakeboarding when I first tried it, but my brother loved it. We ended up getting a bigger boat (for its time) and I learnt more tricks behind that. I fell in love and the rest was history.

When did you realise this was something you could pursue professionally?

Once I learnt some inverts (going upside down in the air) and started winning Australian national titles, I really thought I could make a profession out of it. At 18 I went to Orlando, Florida for three years, doing the endless summer. After that, I started to doubt that I had the skills to be a professional and I didn’t think I was good enough, so I stayed in Australia for another two years.

When I turned 23, I had a few more difficult tricks up my sleeve and really wanted to give it one more try. It paid off because in 2013 I turned professional and won my first world title a year later in 2014.

When you’re preparing for a tournament, what does an average week look like for you training-wise?

It depends where I am. In Australia I work full-time, so I’ve got to find time to train in the gym and on the water. Usually, I don’t train too much in the week leading into a contest as I have all my tricks and I don’t want to be worn out for the contest.

You’re in the USA right now, which tournaments are you competing in?

Unfortunately, I broke my leg at the end of June and had surgery, so I am only coming back from that. I’m working through a rehab program and I just started wakeboarding again.

As a woman, have you ever found the pro scene to be intimidating?

For sure, wakeboarding is still a very male-dominated sport. Having said that, I have never been intimated riding with the boys as I like to learn from them and get better.

You were the first woman to complete a Whirlybird 540. For all the non-wakeboarders out there, can you explain what this is?

It’s a Tantrum with an overhead 540. So basically, I am doing a backflip while spinning a 540-degree rotation while the handle goes over my head and then landing with the handle behind my back.

How long did you train for a trick like this?

I had been doing Whirlybirds for a few years before this, so I had them very consistent. I actually landed the Whirlybird 540 on the fourth attempt which was so cool. I can remember how it felt and how excited I was to have landed it and to be the first and still only women to have landed it.

Tricks in wakeboarding are famous for their crazy names. Who comes up with them?

They are crazy! Whoever lands a trick first gets to name it, and a lot of tricks were landed by 14-year-old boys. The funniest name for a trick I’ve heard is Dum Dum (front flip with a backside 360-degree rotation while swapping the grip behind your back).

Who would you count as your role models?

It might sound a little bit weird, but my parents have always been my role models. They are hardworking, down to earth people that I aspire to be like. My role models in the wakeboarding industry are Ben Greenwood and Keith Lyman.

What are you most proud of?

Winning two World Championships. One in 2014 and then the second after my ACL surgery in 2018.

I would still like to get a pro model board, continue to compete and hopefully inspire people and help grow the sport.

Where’s your favourite river or lake in Victoria to go wakeboarding?

It would have to be the Murray River, either in Mildura or Bundalong.

What’s your favourite boat to go wakeboarding with and why?

Axis T22 or in USA the A24. The boat comes with an automatic wedge system that allows you to adjust the wake with a simple press of a button on the dash. The boat has a great wake with perfect transition.

What tips would you give to someone who is keen to get into wakeboarding in Victoria?

Find a good group of people to wakeboard with so you can push each other and learn. Also, get involved in your local wakeboarding scene. Wakeboard Victoria is a great way to meet new people.

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