I started 2013 really strong with a 2nd place finish at the first stop of the WWA Wake Park World Series at BSR cable park. This 2nd place finish gave me tons of confidence and put me in a great position to push myself even further for the rest of the year. To start the year in 3rd pace on the WWA rankings was a huge advantage for me going into the second stop of the WWA Wake Park World Series.
The second stop of the tour was held at Wake Nation cable park in Ohio, Cincinnati. I have to say it was such a fun cable to ride and I met so many awesome people the whole week I was there. It was awesome to see my team manager Keith Lidberg out there judging that weekend, so I had to really prove myself. Placing 2nd at BSR cable park really gave me the confidence to go into the second stop with a bang. I was riding really well all week and was feeling great going into the contest. From what I remember I had near perfect runs all weekend. I had so much determination and fire that I ended up with another 2nd place finish.
Prior to these events I had been competing on the tour for 3 years and I had never started the year with two 2nd place finishes ever. Apart from starting the year with two 2nd places I had never even placed top 3 in a Pro contest outside of Australia which was a huge achievement in my career this far. Starting the year so well gave me so much excitement leading up to the World Championships in Abu Dhabi. When I first started riding at 14 years of age it had always been a dream of mine to become a world champion. When I left school at the age of 17 to pursue wake boarding I knew I had to work my ass off if I ever wanted to get close to becoming a world champion. It was only up to me to make this dream a reality.
The year I left school in 2012 I had to make a huge sacrifice and move down to west Sydney with my girlfriend Angelika Schriber, to really go 100% at making a career in wakeboarding. We both started working at Cables Wake Park Penrith for the summer to save money and to work with a personal trainer. We really wanted to focus on our health and riding to the best of our ability to achieve the best outcome possible. We were so lucky that the owners Chris Angus and Clayton Dunn had given us the keys to open the cable up for ourselves every morning to train. We worked so hard with our personal trainer Elka Cruz and rode pretty much every morning and afternoon, riding our push bikes to and from the park. After the 6 months we had spent in Penrith we learn’t that it was just as important to train off the water as it was on the water.
Going into the WWA Wake Park World Championships I felt strong, healthy and super confident after having a great start to the year with two 2nd places. When I arrived into Abu Dhabi I straight away had set a goal to do well. The week leading up to the contest I was riding very well, staying super positive and training as much as possible. When the weekend arrived my body and mind felt really prepared and I was ready to do work. I tried to maintain consistency throughout the weekend and before I knew it I had made it to the finals of the WWA Wake Park World Championships. Making the final meant the world to me and all that hard work was starting to come to light.
Before the finals had started I had this crazy feeling that I was going to do well and I was going to give it all I had. In the final it was Daniel Grant, James Windsor, Dominik Guhrs and myself. Daniel and Dominik had completed there first runs very cleanly. I went out and had a great first run as well and soon after Windsor had completed his too. When it came to my second and final run I said to myself “just go for it, be aggressive and to remember how hard i had worked to get to this point”. My second run was seriously in the top 2 runs I had ever done in competition.
Once I completed my final run I let go at the back corner and I remember I was yelling so loud with excitement. I was so proud of myself. I felt like I had done the best I could and felt it was enough to possibly win. I knew deep down I had done everything in my run to possibly win the title. When I was walking back to the dock Stuart Marston the owner of Liquid Leisure said to me “I reckon you have won it Matty” I was like you really think it was enough. At that moment I knew that it was going to be my day.
Everyone was so happy for me even before the podium spots were called up. In third place was Dominik Guhrs, second place was James Windsor and as soon as they called his name I knew I had won the WWA Wake Park World Championships – Holy shit it was seriously the best day of my life. I was so emotional when I received the trophy, I could barely talk without crying. I was just so proud and honoured to achieve such a high goal for myself at such a young age. To be in 1st place on that stage in Abu Dhabi was a dream come true. To have my mum there was so special and as she says “a highlight in her life also”. It is still to this day the biggest achievement in my life and something I will never forget and will never take for granted.
Dreams can be achieved and made possible with hard work, determination and never giving up.