26 Jun PROFILE | Elizaveta Pruzhanskaya
The Russian female wakeboarders seem to be the true Unicorns. Not only are they crazy talented AND they are smart, but they are gorgeous as well! Meet Elizaveta Pruzhanskaya, aka Lisa Baloo. She is a 22 year old rider from Saint Petersburg, Russia. She calls Kingwinch Wake Park her home and surprisingly she’s only been riding four years. Don’t be surprised if you start seeing this girl’s name everywhere. She has a big competition schedule in her future from France to the Phillies and Unleashed wishes this hardworking Unicorn the BEST of LUCK !
How did you get started wake boarding?
My friends asked me to try wakeboarding at Kingwinch Wake Park in June 2013. I was so shy that for the first few times I would just watch them ride. I was inspired by the tricks they did and finally decided to try. My first ride was successful! I loved it… and we spent all summer riding and chilling at this beautiful place.
In February, 2014, I started training for competitions. I knew that I wanted to be a professional wakeboarder. I’ve been riding ever since!
What is your biggest strength in wakeboarding?
I guess I’m good at air tricks, but for the last two years I have become more a rail rider. I suppose that every Russian wakeboarder does air tricks better than rails just because we didn’t have a lot of obstacles in the parks and always started with air tricks. But time goes by and everything changes, now we have really good wake parks and features and also good rail riders!
What do you struggle with the most in wakeboarding?
When I first started wakeboarding I seemed to be fearless. But the more I progressed, the harder the tricks became, the falls happened more often and were more painful – and from there the fear formed. I’m always thinking, “Is it worth it?” because I know what might happen. To prove your level of riding you have to do better tricks. Sometimes there is no choice and you must do something that scares you, because to be a professional rider – it is very competitive. I don’t know if it is good or not but it’s always on my mind. But one thing I know for sure – that it is mine, and I’m ready and already struggling with the fear.
If you could choose 6 obstacles for your ideal wakepark what would they be?
It’s a gap pool, quarter pipe, hand rails, pipes, Kaesen obstacle by Unit and custom obstacles like Daniel Grant vs Kingwinch Wake Park … XL kickers.
Have you ever felt discriminated against or underestimated as a woman in wakeboarding? If so…tell us about the situation.
I can say that I never felt it in Russia! It doesn’t matter gender you are – if you are a good rider & person – you are recognized! I have a lot of friends all over Russia and the only thing I feel is – big support! Actually, sometimes girls have more opportunities than boys. Russian men, even in the wakeboarding society, respect us!
I feel discriminated by the government because wake boarding isn’t an Olympic Sport! I don’t have any support by the Federation. I guess only one or two guys have support. It slows the development of wakeboarding in my country! We have so many talented people, but they don’t have any options, that is why they can’t go to the European Championships, Worlds and other competitions. They just don’t have money! In general, the state’s attitude toward wakeboarding is not ambiguous. Only recently, they tried to demolish the one and only water-ski club in Moscow, with the one and only professional training school for children to build parking for yachts! The guys defended it with all their strength. We will wait and see how it turns out! And I affirm that this problem is more constructive!
I’m just so lucky that I have the best sponsor and best wake park to ride in my city – Kingwinch Wake Park!
They support wakeboarding in Russia, by making unique projects like International contests (FIRE, WATER AND PIPES, FORT CONSTANTINE CUP), they bring great riders like Daniel Grant to Russia to show everyone how to wakeboard. They offer free schools to teach people how to jib. They make the best bi-level pool, the best obstacles and they made a winter pool for the off season period. They are ready to support new riders! It helps to raise people’s level of riding.
What other sports/exercises do you do to stay in shape & strong for wakeboarding?
Nothing so special, I’m working out in the gym.
What is your go-to wakeboarding out t?
My favorite ARRIS 138 wakeboard and TEAM boots by Liquid, jeans shorts or Billabong wetsuit, “happy hour comp” vest by LF and LF helmet!
What are your feelings regarding people who ride without a helmet or a life jacket?
I have a vital attitude about security measures. For example, I will never understand those who do not fasten their seat belt in the cars. If it can help us to avoid more serious consequences – why wouldn’t we use it. The same for wakeboarding equipment! To be honest, I tried to ride without a helmet and vest to make photos and videos more exciting, but I was sure about the tricks I’m doing! Nowadays, we have stunner vests and helmets by a lot of companies. People, please, use it!
You can pick one song to play on your iPod while you wakeboard…what is it?
ICE CUBE – Check ya self.
If money & time weren’t an issue and you had six months to travel, all bills paid, where would you go & why? Could be more than one place.
I always single out places I never been to. I like to explore, so I would like to go to South Africa, Argentina, Mexica, west coast of USA and my dream since I was eight years old – Australia!
Favorite male rider & why?
Yonel Cohen – he is a good guy and so stylish and creative.
Favorite female rider & why?
Courtney Angus – I was inspired by her riding!
Most memorable wakeboarding moment?
Since I started wake boarding almost every moment has been remarkable! But the most memorable, I think, was when I got the invitation to Plastic Playground 2016 as a Pro Female rider – I was shocked! And also my first and only Russian Nationals when I won 3rd place! I had a fall in qualifications in two runs and got to the finals by LCQ. Then l didn’t ride very well in the first run and in the second run I did everything I wanted but just barely. When I finished the run all my friends were running to congratulate me! It was an indescribable feeling to see the scoreboard and your position is in the forefront!!!
What trick are you really stoked to learn?
I’m pumped to become the first female in the world who has landed a Heart Attack. Furthermore, 313BS and 90210 as I was working on them a lot!
I love to dance everywhere even a wakeboard.
Strongly worried about failing.
How would your friends describe you?
I just asked my friends and they said that I am: open-minded, soul of company, sincere, kind, honest.
Are you in school? If so what are you studying? Do you have a job?
I finished Saint-Petersburg State University, Philosophy Faculty last year. Also I’m working as a coach and I have remote work on one IT project.
What irritates you the most when you’re at the cablepark?
Big lines, waves and bad weather.
Do you have any wakeboarding plans for the remainder of 2017?
I have many plans:
FISE (Montpelier, France)
Saint – Petersburg Championship
Fort Constantine Cup (Kingwinch wake park)
Plastic Playground (London, UK)
The best contest ever FIRE, WATER and PIPES in Kingwinch wake park (WE ARE WAITING EVERYBODY, YOU WILL LOVE IT FOR SURE)
And other contests…
Which is your favorite & why? Kickers or Airtricks or Rails?
I do love rails the most, because I feel freedom and have so much fun!
Ideal companion/boyfriend would be like…
It’s a person who supports me everywhere, who is tolerant of my emotions and someone who can have fun with me on the same wavelength. It is a person who loves travelling, who is never bored, and always finds adventures even in the place where it is not possible!
Any shoutouts or thanks you need to mention?
I am thankful for the best crew and park in addition my biggest sponsor – Kingwinch Wake Park. Thank you for your believing in me.
Thanks to Liquid Force Russia and Billabong for the support and the best equipment.Thanks to Traektoria Boardshop!
Thanks to people who have been coaching me – Ivan Kochukov, Faruk Ishmurzin.
Thanks to JB Oneill who always tells me that I CAN do things and forces me to do crazy tricks! Thanks to all my friends, especially Victoria Ruzheva, and my family – love you all so much!
In 2017-2018 what should we expect from you?
Emm…I will rock the show!
One more…tell us three things people would be surprised to know about you.
I have a big family, three brothers and a sister and I’m the oldest one.
I have done a lot of sports during my life such as fencing, martial arts, dancing for 12 years, figure skating, swimming, tennis and I was even playing the bass guitar. In the past I was a soccer fan and watching all games!
More about Elizaveta Pruzhanskaya on #unleashedwakemag