Wakeboarding may be an individual sport, but for successful Kiwi athlete Paul Maguire it is very much a team effort.
Ranked in the top three in New Zealand for both boat and cable disciplines, Paul is the first to admit his success wouldn’t be possible without the tight knit group of people around him; from his partner Lysney Graham (who doubles as his physio and boat driver) to his coach Duncan Hancock. And that’s just a few of the people who have helped him achieve his goals.
Of course, a significant chunk of his success is down to his own tenaciousness and desire to constantly improve. Paul is known in the sport as a thinker as well as a doer, and gets just as much of an adrenaline buzz from watching someone he’s helped land a new trick, as he does from achieving it himself.
He’s also a Sir Edmund Hillary Programme scholar through the University of Waikato, and part of the Regional Talent Programme aligned with Pathway to Podium led by Sport Waikato.
Quick to give back to the sport, Paul is heavily involved with coaching and inspiring other up-and-coming wakeboarders and thrives on sharing his passion for being on the water.
With summer events rapidly approaching, he’s gearing up for his season highlight; representing New Zealand at the Oceania Championships in January, before turning his attention to some international competition.
Fitness Journal finds out more…
Name: Paul Maguire
Career path: Design & Computer Programming
Other sports you are involved in? Golf, Surfing, Snowboarding, Mountain Biking
How did you get involved in wakeboarding?
Growing up in Ohope, I naturally spent a lot of time in the ocean and learning to surf. We always ‘skurfed’ behind any boat we could nab in the adjacent Ohiwa estuary, when Mother Nature wasn’t producing anything on the wave front.
Over the years high school friends introduced me to snowboarding. The possibility of tricks and the stylistic aspects of riding seemed greatly relatable and filled the winter board sports void.
Wakeboarding came about through a cousin who brought a wakeboard along tucked under his wing one summer afternoon.
The wakeboard and I never hit it off straight away, but it did quickly replace the surfboard. The more we played, the more it become apparent that it was a perfect blend of two favourite interests of mine and it all flowed from there.
Outline the upcoming 12 months?
Being summer, the wheels are beginning to turn as far as the competitive side of things here in New Zealand.
I like to get behind all the local events, no matter how big or small; getting behind the industry, supporting the cause and helping in any way possible. The Oceania Championships take place in late January, bringing the world’s best riders to our shores for the biggest wakeboard event New Zealand will have seen in years.
I set out with the goal to qualify for the event, so I am over the moon to be part of the team representing New Zealand and chomping at the bit to get out on the water and give it a nudge.
Following our summer and the completion of my studies I’m looking forward to getting overseas and competing internationally at the Wakeboard World Championships.
What is your greatest successes to date?
To be honest, no one success stands out but rather a collective of achievements throughout my riding years. I’ve been fortunate enough to win several events over the years in New Zealand as well as respectable results overseas.
Off the water I’ve managed to get my name on some of the more meaningful in-industry accolades as well as a couple of external ones, and to represent New Zealand over the years, so it’s safe to say there have been some good memories.
What motivates you to keep competing?
Wakeboarding is one of my passions and still has the same fun aspect as day one. If this continues I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon.
For me, that time on the water provides a sense of freedom and an escape from the pressures that come with day-to-day life. If the fun subsides and it all gets a little too serious, I’ll stick to dry land, but I don’t see that happening for a while.
What is the greatest challenge for you in the sport?
Obviously when you begin to progress and things get a little more serious, a magnitude of challenges come in all shapes and sizes.
There is the ongoing financial burden which comes with the sport, but when it’s what you love to do, then you find a way to make it happen and quit counting dollars. You can’t put a price on fun and anyway, to be honest, I would spend it elsewhere.
What gives you the most pleasure?
On a personal level, and at the risk of sounding like a broken record, it’s that pressure release from the daily grind. It’s unbeatable for allowing the stress of the day, no matter what, to slide from the mind.
Also, hugely pleasurable is inspiring others to get out there and do it; whether it be a first-timer getting up on their feet to helping push some of New Zealand’s best riders to take their riding up a gear is a great feeling.
Your long-term goals and what is required to reach them?
My outlook is keep pushing myself on and off the water, focusing on being the best all-round and most diverse rider I can be across the multiple disciplines.
Whether we are talking competition, specific tricks or even a general footprint on the sport; if I am locked in on progressing my riding to the highest level, the rest will take care of itself.
Was there a time when you thought of giving up and why?
Everyone has those moments throughout their years in all aspects of life.
Whatever the reason you need to realise life goes on and wakeboarding is a passion founded on enjoyment and fun, so even though sometimes when things get a little too heated you just need to smile and remember why you do what you do.
Like a bad day on the water riding with your best friends, having a laugh is a pretty tough gig. Right?
Tell us something about your sport people would be surprised to know?
I think it is hugely relevant here in New Zealand, and important to try and break this common misconception that you require big, flash expensive boats to get out there and ride, which is just laughable.
I learned to wakeboard behind a typical Kiwi boat and managed to ride competitively to a high level here in New Zealand.
With just a little grit and determination, you can achieve this. Don’t stress about the materialistic shortfall; get out have fun and the rest will follow.