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Our Ambassador of the Month, Cate Siniscalchi shares her point of view on empowering women and how it relates to the male-dominated sport and business of Wakeboarding. Do you have similar experiences in wakeboarding to share? Drop them in the comments below.
I have been in the wakeboarding industry for 7 years; as a rider, salesperson, fan and most recently designer. My wakeboarding career all started when I was 14 years old; that was the first time I ever got up, it was the moment that I fell in love. Through the years there has been a lot of ups and downs, progression, failures, frustration, joy and a lot of lessons.The lessons that I have learned from wakeboarding have impacted the way that I live my life everyday, these lessons taught me the most important thing, that I belong.
After being hired on as a cashier at a pro shop, I quickly realized that I did not want to scan the products, I wanted to sell them. A month into being a cashier, I was officially made the first woman on the sales team this pro shop had ever had. Being a woman selling primarily to men can build and destroy your confidence. Some men get so insanely stoked that you leave the sale feeling like a superhero. These are the men that have sisters or daughters and want every girl to know her true power. These are the men that help women change the world.
Others, don’t believe your information, question your credibility and double check with the boys to make sure if what you said was factual. I had one experience where I found out that a person I respected had been telling people that I didn’t belong there, there was not a place for a girl; girls can’t sell as much as boys can. I realized in this moment I had a choice, I could let them be right or I could prove them wrong. So, I began selling the most that I could and ended the month being the only girl and #2 salesperson only selling part time where the boys were selling full. It was in this moment that I realized something, I could have accepted what they said and used me being a girl as an excuse; that would have been a lot easier than working as hard as I did. But, you and me both know; being a girl, is the furthest thing from an excuse so we need to stop using it as one.
When I first became a sponsored rider, I was told that the only reason companies wanted me to ride for them was because I was attractive; not because I was passionate, friendly, driven or my insane love for riding... but because of how I looked. Imagine that, you finally get sponsored and then get told by a handful of different people that the only reason you got it was because of your looks. Little did these people know that I had written emails for three years; proving my loyalty to companies asking them what else I needed to do to get sponsored. These people didn’t know that I had walked right up to the owner of Ronix and handed him my business card when I was 16 years old and told him that I want to ride for Ronix and Ronix only. These people didn’t see all of the hours I was putting in training, riding, hucking myself. I want you to know that I see you, I notice your hard work and efforts, I know that you are doing everything possible to prove that you are good enough, and you are more than enough, you belong here.
Being a woman in wakeboarding has taught me a lot. It has taught me to be bold, loud and ballsy. It has taught me to be tough and always try again; no matter how many times you fail. It has taught me that I can do anything I set my mind to; no matter what any girl, boy, or doctor says to me. Most importantly, being a woman in wakeboarding has taught me that no matter how many boys are on the boat, no matter what my skill level is compared to anyone else, no matter what anyone else believes about me, I belong here just as much as anyone else.
If you take nothing else from reading this I want you to know that, no matter who you are, what you love to do, what your skill level; you belong here. You belong on the team just as much as the boys do, you can become just as good as riders as them, you can sell just as much as the boys, you can be pretty and know that that is the last reason why you got your sponsorships. Truth is ladies, we can do anything we put our minds too, we just have to believe that we belong there just as much as everyone else does. The wakeboarding industry is extremely male dominated and I think Nicola Butler said it best, “Have you ever considered that maybe women don't “sell as much” or have “as big as an impact” (both not true) because a lot of companies run by men have not exactly made this the most safe or welcoming community for female fans and riders?” While there have been changes in the wakeboarding world, and there are some riders and companies that are extremely welcoming to women; I think it still needs to be said, We have a place here, We belong here.
Special thanks to my sponsors:
Ronix Wakeboards https://www.ronixwake.com/
Marine Products https://marine-products.com/