Twenty-year-old Connor McCracken first tried his hand at water skiing at the age of four but it wasn’t until he was 13, driven by some friendly competition, that he really made a commitment to the sport. In 2008 he competed in his first competition and in 2010 his first nationals.
Living in Cambridge at the edge of the backwater on Lake Karapiro, Connor trains on the water almost every morning, either with his dad or with Duncan Hancock, his coach of four years.
Connor currently competes in three events; trick, slalom and jump. When asked what his favourite aspects of water skiing are, the word that seems to come up the most is fun.
“Doing three events is fun. If one or two aren’t working out, there is always one which is going well. Skiing is fun and you make some really good friends.”
It’s not easy juggling three events but Connor seems to handle this challenge with a laid back focused approach. I asked Duncan what he believes a water skier needs to possess if they’re to “make it.”
“Firstly, you have to want to do it. It’s also helpful to have a good base level, so starting young always helps, and having a certain level of natural talent can take you a long way.”
Duncan believes that Connor is a skier who has got what it takes.
“Connor is a bit of a freak. He has amazing balance, enthusiasm, and a lot of natural talent.”
With all sports, there are tough times which test an athlete. It isn’t easy getting out on the water some days, but Connor is dedicated to the challenge. He knows that when once he’s up on his skis, that drive and passion comes back immediately.
“It’s sometimes hard to get out there sometimes but once you’re up its just good fun.”
Connor has an exciting year ahead. He has set himself some big goals which he is determined to achieve.
He wants to jump over 50m, run the 12m line for slalom and trick 4 grand.
Just recently he competed at the OZ/Kiwi tournament held at Piarere (Feb 9-14) where he jumped 47m, ran 3 ½ on the 12m line, and tricked 3430.
When asked what the most challenging aspect of water skiing is for him personally, the 20-year-old said that achieving his goals is always hard.
“Each year I set myself three goals, one for each event. The most challenging aspect of the sport for me, is to achieve all three.”
So what does the future look like for Connor? He plans to keep skiing as long as he continues to enjoy the sport, and has fun pursuing his goals.
“I want to see how far I can go, “ he says.