The Paddler ezine: http://joom.ag/RNNX/p70
Freestyle European Champion
Teva Mountain Games Steep Creek Champion
Extreme WW kayaker
Take a glimpse of the very colourful world of pro boater: Martina Wegman
So much more than a pretty face, this lady can easy mix it with the ‘big boys’ of the world of extreme white water kayaking. The outstanding talent that is Martina Wegman – the 23 year-old Dutch Queen of kayaking, has a string of championships from the world of freestyle and river running. This gives Martina an enviable skill set and at just 24, she is improving year on year.
Where and what was your first paddle?
I started paddling on a whitewater course in Sault Brenaz, France. I was real scared at the beginning and would only paddle down the last bit of the course and without a spray deck on. Often the kayak became full of water and I had to jump out and swim to shore, leaving the full kayak for my dad and brother to take care of.
And your first competition?
This was a freestyle competition in Plattling, Germany. I was 14-years old and there was a very old point system where it was ‘spin to win.’
I’m a paddler and going on vacation, where would you recommend?
There are so many sweet places in the world to visit! I would definitely recommend Mexico as I recently went on a trip to the Agua Azur – this is an amazing place! But there are tons of great destinations; discovering new places and rivers are the best part of our sport.
WW kayaking tends to be a male dominated area of paddling – how do you cope?
I don’t mind at all that male paddlers dominate the sport. We can learn heaps from the guys. Usually there are a couple chicks around anyway and I guess we often gather together.
When I started running harder whitewater and waterfalls my dad once ‘joked’ he regrets getting me into the sport. I enjoy travelling and being on the water, I have no regrets at all!
How does kayaking give you satisfaction?
I love the travel part of kayaking, being on the road, travelling to new places and seeing so many stunning places on our beautiful big planet!
What is the biggest accomplishment in you career?
I’m very down to earth and don’t really have accomplishments in kayaking. I never have trained for kayaking so I guess I can’t expect too much out of it, I just want to make sure I am enjoying. I guess the closest to an accomplishment would be that I never expected to run high waterfalls and lately I have been on trips running 50-foot drops.
What are your goals for the next 12 months?
I don’t have any goals set. I do want to get a bit more into slalom paddling as I think it will help to improve my paddling whitewater.
What would be your ultimate achievement?
I don’t have an ultimate achievement in kayaking. I do want to achieve something besides kayaking and hopefully get a marketing job in a sick company some day.
Any advice for women starting out in ww kayaking?
I always have start slowly and build up my confidence on the water during the years. Freestyle kayaking has helped me in getting a very solid roll and being fairly relaxed when I get trashed in a nasty hole on the river. I also think it is important for women starting out to learn to read water and know your own ability.
Which women paddlers out there are currently pushing the ww boundaries?
It seems like the sport is evolving a lot! I’m sure there are heaps of chicks I don’t even know of ripping! Currently Katrina van Wijk and Nicole Mansfield are taking the lead, running some amazing whitewater!
In river running competition – who is your closest competitor?
Nouria Newman! She is a very solid all-round whitewater paddler! She is training hard for her slalom career, which has made her a very strong paddler!
What’s next for you?
I’m currently sitting in the airport waiting to board a flight to Iceland, where I team up with Mariann Saether, Katrina van Wijk and Shannon Carroll. I’m very excited about this trip but a bit intimidated as I’m the weaker link of the crew, having the least experience in running waterfalls!
Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
Ha ha – hopefully settled down, owning a very sick house, kids and a proper job 🙂 plus still kayaking.
OK Martina let’s finish with something short and snappy…
If you could paddle with anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be?
Mike Dawson 😉
Pick two celebrities to be your parents…
I’d honestly never want to switch my parents for any other person to have as my parents, especially not a celebrity.
What’s on your Tivo?
I don’t know what that is.
Favourite iPod track?
It changes all the time but at the moment I like to listen to Icona Pop – I Love It.
What would you do with $100,000?
Buy a sick house and travel lots.
Cats or dogs
Facebook or Twitter
I don’t have a Twitter account, so I guess Facebook.
An ideal night out for you is?
Late evening paddle, cooking dinner with friends, playing games, watching a movie, hot springs, going out…
What one luxury item would you take with you on a desert island?
Probably a camera to capture all the action.
What do you get really angry about?
If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?
BBQ or home made pizza.
Any broken bones?
Nah, I have been super lucky never to get into much trouble.
If you could be a superhero for one day, what superpower would you choose and why?
Either flying, as you can easily get to different places or walking over water, so I can just run up some stout whitewater and run it over and over.
What three words would you use to describe you?
Shy, down to earth, adventurous.
Thanks for your time Martina