Your Name (and Nickname): Natalie Graham nicknames: “GrahamSlam” / “Insta-Graham”
Your Age: 42
Your Location (where do you ride mostly): I ride at Saguaro Lake – Mesa, AZ
Weapon(s) of choice: Wakeskate: Mr. Ocean Wakeboard: Liquid Force Wing for boat and Liquid Force Jett for cable Wakesurf: Ronix Technora Thruster for Surfstyle and Ronix Koal Skimmer for Skimstyle For Snowboarding I highly recommend a Smith Gage helmet – protect that noggin!
What’s an average day for you like? M-F I have to go to work, so I can support my expensive hobbies. A typical wakeboard day, we try to hit the lake as early as 5:30am to get the best conditions. Everyone gets a clean set and then by the time all the tubers and jet skis are on the water we switch to wakesurfing.
What is the best and worst thing about being female in your sport? The best part is the camaraderie of female riders regardless of age!
What would you like to see change in your sport to make it better for you and other female athletes? More research and development into boards and bindings. Bindings are the most difficult thing to purchase: Most bindings I find are men sizes and then I still have to take them in and get pricey orthotics to make the bindings work for my feet. It would be great to go in and buy ladies bindings off-the-shelf. Furthermore, women sustain more knee injuries than men in wakeboarding and it would be nice to have equipment that was tailored to our bodies to react in ways that would reduce strain on the body.
Besides your ability and style factor as an athlete, how would you describe your personal style? Casual - I prefer active wear!
What are your favorite brands/designers for your sports apparel ? SheShreds is my favorite Sports Apparel designer. Gina Duffy knows what’s cool even before its cool - She has a keen fashion eye.
How dangerous do u really think it is compared to what people do in their regular activities? In any sport there are risks, but who wants to live their life in fear, right?
I bet in your experience you have seen some crazy crashes. Describe one. Faceplants are always the worst!
What is your favorite trick? Raley on Wakeboard; Body Varials on Wakeskate.
Do you own any other toys? Yes…surf boards, waterskis, wakeskis, wake surfboards, dune buggy, climbing gear, motor cycle, snowboard, sandboard, snowskis, and other assorted sporting good type equipment.
What gets you pumped up for the day? Seeing the lake pretty much does it for me!
What are three things you could not live without? The Lake, food, oxygen.
Who have been your biggest supporters in getting you to where you are now? My husband, my son, and my sponsors.
Who’s your favorite rider/shooter (photo/video)? My favorite male rider is Shaun Murray, because he manages to go big on every trick he does and my favorite female rider is Corrie Wilson, because she rides with precision. Corrie is one of the few female riders that competes in both boat and cable. At any given WWA event you will see Corrie and Shaun and they are very upbeat people and are true ambassadors of wakeboarding.
What do you do in your spare time when you’re not riding/shooting/competing? Work, training, studying tricks, and thinking or dreaming of wakeboarding :)
How about in the off season to stay in shape? What’s an “off-season?” When the boat is winterized, I will back fill it with snowboarding, riding my motorcycle, sandboarding, or something else. So, I need to keep my routines even in the off season.
What is your biggest goal to accomplish this/next season? The biggest goal is not to injure myself (I am not getting any younger)! But, I would love to consistently land my inverts on my wakeboard.
What do you do to prep for a competition? I watch a wakeboarding video that has an upbeat song to it. The song stays in my head while I am competing which usually helps me forget that there are judges or a crowd watching.
What competitions and other awards have you won? Include your non sports accomplishments also.
I also earned both the silver award and the gold award in Girl Scouts (…a long time ago)
What’s your favorite “way” to ride( wake sport- specific, cable, boat, winch)(Snowsport specific- park, freeride/backcountry, urban)? This is a hard question to answer!! I love boat for some reasons and cable for other reasons. They work different muscle groups and have differing styles.
Favorite conditions? Glass!
What song(s) do you listen to while riding that puts you in the zone?
Harder, better, faster, stronger by Daft Punk
BlueSkies (Fred Falke extended remix)
64 bytes by Eprom
What turned you on to your sport? In 2008, my husband bought a wakeboard and asked if I wanted to give it a try and I said “Sure!” At first it was one of the many items in the boat for “Natalie’s-Wide-World-of-Water-Sports!” In 2011, I really got into wakeboarding and the other sports slowly started taking a backseat to wakeboarding. 2011 was the year I started competing. In 2014, an injury sidelined me which allowed me to slow down and discover wakeskating.
Any new tricks you’re working on? Working on consistency with my inverts for wakeboard.
What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done in your sport? I worked my way to Nationals in 2012, after being told by the physical therapist that I would probably never wakeboard again due to a 30 degree loss in range of motion in left knee. I was also was told by the Medical Director of my (then) insurance company that I should be “satisfied” with being functional. That just fired me up! Luckily, my orthopedist said not to listen to the negativity and to just keep rehabbing my knee. Sure enough, he got me back on the water. It was a slow return, but I was so happy to keep wakeboarding.
What’s the trick to riding features and not killing yourself ? Start with the smallest features first, then work up to the advanced features.
Favorite drink of choice to refresh yourself after a long day of riding/shooting? Water and Monster Rehab (tea+lemonade) or Rockstar Lemonade - whichever is on sale at the grocery store.
What do you want to be when you grow up? I’d like to keep on riding as long as I live!!
Natalie would like to thank her family, friends, coach, sponsors, and fans for their ongoing support!