BEC GANGE ON PUSHING THROUGH THE UPS & DOWNS
Bec Gange is a professional wakeboarder, 2x World Wakeboard Champion, and reality TV star who has faced a number of obstacles in her career, from geography changes to personal struggles to a variety of different injuries including multiple knee surgeries. She has powered through the ups and downs in her career to continue to pursue her passion every day.
Bec grew up in Mildura, Australia, an area known for its abundance of water sports. As a kid, she didn’t enjoy wakeboarding initially, but she always found herself in the water whether she was swimming, skiing, tubing, kneeboarding, you name it. Eventually, her brother began to grow an interest in wakeboarding and her family bought a bigger boat. As soon as she got the hang of wakeboarding and learned a few tricks with their new boarding conditions, Bec says she immediately fell in love with the sport and the rest is history.
At a young age, Bec began competing in local Australian wakeboarding competitions. She never had a formal coach to guide her journey, so these competitions gave Bec the opportunity to study the technique and tricks of the more experienced riders. As Bec’s skill level improved, she found that Orlando, FL was the place to be in order to pursue a professional wakeboarding career. At 18, she decided would work extremely hard to save up enough money to be able to travel to America to practice and learn to wakeboard with the best.
“IF YOU WANT IT, YOU JUST GOTTA KEEP DOING IT NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS.” – BEC GANGE
Bec arrived in Florida and saw the level of talent that was present, after wakeboarding in Florida for 3 years, she began to doubt herself and her passion to pursue a professional wakeboarding career. After her first tenure in Florida, she felt defeated and as if she would never be good enough. She went back to Australia feeling a deep lack of confidence in herself and her abilities. After her 2 year break, Bec decided to get back on the board and dive headfirst into learning and mastering some of the most difficult tricks and continue practicing until she felt like she was good enough to go back to Orlando to make her dreams come true. This was a turning point in Bec’s life journey when she decided to pick herself up again and transform adversity into motivation after being away from the sport for 2 years. This is a lesson that we should all take to heart when we feel down. Bec reminds us that, “If you want it, you just gotta keep doing it no matter what happens.”
After taking a two-year break, Bec decided to take this newfound investment in herself and dedicate a whole season in Orlando to tirelessly competing in every single competition. She gave all she had every day to improving to her craft and chasing her dream of becoming a professional wakeboarder. The following year Bec would go on to win her first World Champion title.
Bec’s dedication, belief in herself, and love for the sport truly carried her to success in her journey to becoming a 2x world champion. Sadly in 2014 after she won her first title, she injured her ACL, which meant surgery. This was the first of many injuries for Bec, including another knee injury, a broken hand, chronic ankle issues, and more, over the years. She explains that every time she got injured, it truly shifted her perspective on life and her career. These injuries were scary for Bec because she never knew if she would be able to come back in the same capacity with the same talent and skill level. Luckily, every time, her time and effort invested in healing and rehabilitating her body has paid off, so she could continue to pursue her passion. These challenges have shown Bec a different outlook on life and how a person must be flexible and adapt to whatever life throws at them. She also explains that she has learned, “I have to just trust the process, trust myself, and trust my body.”
“I THINK WHAT KEEPS ME GOING WITH WAKEBOARDING IS THAT I GIVE MYSELF BREAKS… I’VE TRIED ENOUGH OTHER THINGS IN MY LIFE TO REALLY KNOW THAT I LOVE WAKEBOARDING… AND THAT I REALLY LOVE DOING EVERYTHING THAT’S INVOLVED IN WAKEBOARDING FROM THE TRAVELING TO THE PEOPLE AND JUST EVERYTHING.” – BEC GANGE
While it is important to devote yourself to your work to achieve greatness, it is also important to be able to take a step back when needed. This is something that Bec emphasizes. She says, “I think what keeps me going with wakeboarding is that I give myself breaks… I’ve tried enough other things in my life to really know that I love wakeboarding… and that I really love doing everything that’s involved in wakeboarding from the traveling to the people and just everything.” It is clear that taking some time away from the grind can be helpful in recentering your motivations and nourishing your mental health to maintain balance.
In addition, Bec also gives credit to her parents for all they have done for her, she says “the endless hours on the water driving and observing and picking up my spirits in the face of defeat were a huge thing in my career, they were always by my side.”
“[IT’S] JUST THE FACT THAT YOU CAN PUSH PAST YOUR LIMIT OF FEAR. LIKE WHEN YOU LEARN SOMETHING NEW, IT’S SO SCARY WHEN YOU FIRST TRY IT BUT WHEN YOU LAND IT YOU FEEL LIKE A BETTER PERSON.” – BEC GANGE
Wakeboarding for Bec is more than just a sport for a few reasons. It is something that really fuels her fire every day and teaches her lessons about life on a daily basis. When explaining her draw to wakeboarding Bec says, “[It’s] just the fact that you can push past your limit of fear. Like when you learn something new, it’s so scary when you first try it but when you land it you feel like a better person.” She also explains how being a professional athlete, especially in a sport like wakeboarding, really pushes you to juggle many different aspects of the professional world. She says, “You’re an athlete. You’re a manager for yourself. You’ve gotta be a social media person. There is a bunch of criteria just to be a successful athlete.” Outsiders looking in on someone’s life often only see the glamorous side of things, especially for those who chose a different path focused on chasing their dreams. People often miss all the time, effort, and loneliness that goes into such dedication to a craft.
“YOU’RE AN ATHLETE. YOU’RE A MANAGER FOR YOURSELF. YOU’VE GOTTA BE A SOCIAL MEDIA PERSON. THERE IS A BUNCH OF CRITERIA JUST TO BE A SUCCESSFUL ATHLETE.” – BEC GANGE
Bec’s story is a reminder to all of us that if you want to pursue a goal wholeheartedly, you must focus on your drive while pushing yourself to be the best that you can be and always remember your motivations and where you came from, regardless of the twists and turns that life may throw at you. Thank you, Bec, for taking the time to share your story! If you would like to follow along with Bec’s journey, check out her Instagram or Website linked below.
Written by: Anna Rice
Interview by: Jason Crowe