Thursday, February 28, 2013

Tarah Mikacich Interview From Wake World

Tarah Mikacich

Although she's gone from one famous watersports name (Benzel) to another (Mikacich), Tarah Mikacich has been quietly making a name for herself. Once you've been introduced to her bubbly personality and experienced her drive to progress in all she does, it's no surpise that she's successful in just about any undertaking. Even in the off-season we had to catch the busy Tarah between projects so you could find out more about her.

WW: Would it be impolite to start out by asking your age?
TM: Hahaha, I just turned 29, but the good news is that I still have to show my ID to sit in the exit row of an airplane!
WW: Did you marry Cobe Mikacich so that you will be forever young, relatively speaking?
TM: Wow, going right after the age gap! Well, Cobe is definitely a big kid. He always has fun ideas! And since I’ll never catch up with him birthday-wise, I just try to keep up with his fast pace and learn from some of his experiences.
WW: You currently reside in Orlando, Florida, but is that where you’re from originally?
Tarah MikacichTM: Basically. I grew up in Groveland (which is about 40 minutes from Orlando), but no one really knows where that is.
WW: How did you end up in wakeboarding?
TM: I had been water skiing at a high level for most of my life, but I got to a point where I needed to change things up. I just felt that it didn’t suit me anymore. I asked Cobe to take me wakeboarding because I’d never done it before and I thought it would be a fun change of pace. It was! Fortunately, I got great industry support from the beginning.
WW: How long have you been wakeboarding professionally?
TM: Well, I did my first pro contests in 2007. I blew out my knee at the end of that summer and had a very hard time coming back for a few years. I think I finally rode a full season in 2010 or 2011.
WW: You seem like you’re a super busy person. What occupies all your time?
TM: Cobe! Hahaha, but for real, Cobe has A LOT of projects!
Tarah MikacichWW: I hear that your wakeboard school is going to be expanding and moving to a new location. Can you tell me about that?
TM: Yes! We are opening Freedom Wake Park in the heart of Orlando! If you’re familiar with Orlando, our new location is about a mile from Performance Ski & Surf. It’s very exciting to have a private lake (with boat & rails) and be close to everything else that people want to do in Orlando!
WW: What’s your favorite part of teaching people how to wakeboard?
TM: It’s really fun for me when I can explain to someone the way that I understand a trick to work, and then all of a sudden they “get it” – they make a really good change and I can tell they’re feeling exactly what I described.
WW: How important is wakeboarding on the Pro Tour to you?
TM: It’s a great part of the sport for sure. But for me, it’s not where I feel I make the biggest impact. It’s a good way to be in the scene though.
WW: What’s the most important part about being a pro wakeboarder?
TM: I think that loving what you do has got to be the most important thing. Sometimes people get too caught up with little things and they forget to be grateful that they get to wakeboard and spend their days on the water.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Malibu Boats & The WWA Debut Innovative 'Rider Experience' For 2013

Have you ever picked up an autograph from a pro? Maybe you’ve ridden in a contest yourself? Perhaps. But, have you watched Phil Soven ride from the towboat, learned a new trick from Chad Sharpe, or heard an inside tip from Amber Wing on a competition weekend? Probably not, but here’s your chance.

How does an amateur like you get a chance to hang with the pros on a comp weekend? By entering the Malibu WWA Rider Experience, the most free-flowing ‘contest’ format ever created. The WWA has designed a custom wake experience that puts the competitor in front of the competition with a 3-day wakeboard, wakeskate and wakesurf experience that’s focused on making you a better rider – on the water and in your community.

After three years of development, the WWA has finalized the Rider Experience, a blend of the WWA’s founding mission of the advancement and progression of wake sports worldwide. The WWA Rider Experience encompasses a regional ranking system for amateurs, judge’s experience, rider development, regional championships, and SURF GATE® experience all-in-one event. In order to grow the sport in the right direction, the WWA has partnered with Malibu Boats, the world leader in watersports towboats, to bring you the most comprehensive event ever.

“Contests have always been a big part of the sport’s growth, but wakeboarding is so much more than a 20-second trick pass,” says Shannon Starling, president of the WWA. “The Malibu WWA Rider Experience is all about taking the focus off the competition itself and putting it on the rider. We want to give them all the tools to be a better athlete – from training to promotion to understanding how they’re judged. It’s about creating a new breed of informed, educated and enthused riders.”

Jack Springer, CEO of Malibu Boats, is thrilled with the partnership, “Malibu has always pushed innovation with new boats, new events and ways for you to enjoy your experience on the water,” Springer said. “Partnering with the WWA on the Malibu Rider Experience integrates into that philosophy seamlessly. We will make a great impact on the future careers of developing riders and also are excited to give top pros a way to be legitimized with the Malibu Pro Card. These regional events will also be a great way for people to experience the Malibu vibe and try out Malibu’s latest innovation, SURF GATE. We are very excited for the future of competitive wakeboarding.”

Offering more than just a few sessions behind the boat, the Malibu WWA Rider Experience packs just as much fun off the water as on. Along with a competition bracket where you can strut your stuff, WWA amateur members get the inside track on what it takes to live everything wake – straight from the top – from the pro riders, sponsors, photographers, and judges that shape the sport.

Freeride Friday where the amateurs and pros take center stage during the first morning session. Next, top WWA officials and judges provide tips on becoming a better rider in the Judges Experience, a seminar to help riders, parents and coaches better prepare for competitions and improve their tournament experience. The Rider Development portion of the weekend teaches riders how to build their personal brand in wake, using social media, community influence and networking from the guys who’ve made it to the top. On Saturday, the WWA Wakeboard Regional Championships gives riders the opportunity to get on the water and show their skills in a competition setting. Get regionally ranked and ready for the WWA Wakeboard National Championships, where seeding will be based off of WWA Wakeboard Regional Championships’ results. On Sunday, things ramp up again with the Wakesurf Experience, another jam session with the pros featuring SURF GATE® by Malibu, a revolutionary system that creates a big, glassy wave on either side of an evenly weighted boat.

The Malibu WWA Rider Experience features one of the most elite pro teams on the planet. Here’s your chance to become a better wakeboarder by riding and hanging with Phil Soven, Amber Wing, Brian Grubb, Chad Sharpe, Dallas Friday, Oli Derome, Raph Derome, Cobe Mikacich or Tarah Mikacich*.

*Not all athletes will be appearing at each event.

Check out for more information and to book your experience.

Click here for more info regarding the Malibu Boats Pro Card

All events will be towed by the Malibu WAKESETTER 22 MXZ.

About the WWA
The World Wakeboard Association is the global leader in wake sport sanctioning. The WWA owns and operates the WWA Wakeboard World Series, WWA Wakeboard National Championships, WWA Wakeboard World Championships, WWA Wake Park National Championships, WWA Wake Park Triple Crown, WWA Wake Park World Series, WWA Wake Park World Championships, WWA Rider Experience and WWA Pro Card. With 27 affiliate countries worldwide, the WWA is the global leader in the sport of wake. The WWA is a rider-formed organization dedicated to promoting and growing wake sports worldwide. It is the leading source for riders, event organizers and competitive standards. For more information on the WWA and its events, check out

About Malibu Boats

Founded in 1982, Malibu Boats, LLC produces and sells 2,800 boats per year across North America, South America, Europe, Australia and Asia through a network of independent dealers, making it the world’s largest provider of watersports-focused boats. Malibu’s line of boats consists of The Response® series, The Wakesetter® series and The Ride series. Malibu also includes the Axis Wake Research® brand. A privately held company, Malibu has approximately 475 employees with manufacturing facilities in California, Tennessee and Australia.