Whitley Stewart is one of the fastest progressing riders in the female wakesurf world. She solidified her place in the women's pro skim division with a 2nd place at the 2020 World Wakesurf Championships, her first year pro. She will be a rider you will be hearing about for years to come.
P5: Hey Whitley, 2020 was your first season riding in the pro’s, How was it?
WS: It was great! I was happy with the outcomes of the season. I was excited about riding in the pro womens division. The level of competition definitely pushed my riding and I was able to get more consistent with my tricks.
P5: With Covid-19 a hot topic topic, 2020 competition season looked a lot different. Tell us how it was navigating this season with virtual events and some live events?
WS: I was upset at first because I wasn’t sure if we would have a season. I was really thankful we were able to have a few live competitions at the end of the season though. The competition coordinators did an amazing job trying to navigate through Covid and keeping all the riders safe. I was very happy we were able to have online comps this summer as well because it gave us riders something to look forward to and push our riding.
Photo by: Jeff Mathis - IG @jeffshotthat
P5: What did you think about the virtual events? It kind of lets you try and try to get your perfect run down.
WS: They were definitely challenging…to say I am a perfectionist is an understatement, so it took a lot of time and effort both mentally and physically to get the perfect run. I enjoyed being pushed by the online competitions because they are the reason I progressed so much this season. Having to continually do trick after trick as fast as you can without falling definitely helps your riding.
P5: What does a day in the life of Whitley look like right now?
WS: I am a junior in high school, and I have classes until 1:00 and then take a couple of online classes, so I am able to get out early to train. Since it is too cold to surf now, after school, I head to the gym to do crossfit/weight lifting type workouts. I feel like they help my riding and keep my legs strong. When I was able to ride, I would usually workout and then go surf after.
P5: What are the big plans for the winter?
WS: During the off season, I train in Orlando with fellow team mates, Sean Silveira, Ashley Inloes and Nick Parros. I enjoy riding with them and all of them push me to be a better rider. The big trick I am working on this winter is going to be a five shuv. I really want to land it.
P5: With you being one of the top pro women wakesurfers, what do you think about the level of riding the girls are showing? How are you preparing for the 2021 season?
WS: The girls are really throwing down now and we have been witnessing some of the best riding out of the females that we have ever seen. All of the girls are pushing each other and it is evident in our riding. We have all improved and I hope that we continue to push each other and become better riders.
Photo by: Jeff Mathis - IG @jeffshotthat
P5: What are your thoughts on competition riding vs free riding? What are your contest plans for 2021?
WS: I treat my training like a competition. When I go out to train, I come up with difficult runs and try to perfect them, so that when it comes time for competitions, I am ready to show my consistency and speed of my riding. I like to treat any time I go out on the water like I am being judged so that I try and ride my best and get better each set.
P5: What board and size are you riding?
WS: I ride the 46" Key and I absolutely LOVE it!
P5: Someone ask for 3 of your favorite details about your board, what is your answer?
WS: The first thing is that I love the pop that I get with it. It definitely gives more amplitude to riding. The second would be how well it reacts. It responds quick and efficient. Since I am a smaller rider, the third reason would be the size of the board. Since the nose and tail are chopped off, it makes the board much easier to control because it is not as long.
P5: If you could add one skill to your wakesurfing talent what would it be?
WS: It would definitely be a five shuv. I didn’t get to focus on landing it as much as I wanted to this season, so my off season will be focused on getting that as well as continuing to get my other new tricks consistent and comp ready.