Five years ago, Nic Rapa had never stood on a wakeboard. Now he’s the number one Junior Pro Men rider in the world. Nic is the newest Aussie to take the scene by storm, and with his almost perfect record in 2015, he’s going to be a force to be reckoned with in the Pro Men division next year. We got a chance to talk to Nic now that he’s back home in Australia.
WW: At what age did you start riding?
NR: I first stepped on a wakeboard in October, 2011 when I was thirteen years old.
WW: What’s your current setup?
NR: I ride the CWB Reverb with JT boots behind a MasterCraft Xstar.
WW: Was 2015 your first season living and competing in the states?
NR: No, I had my first season in 2014, but I only made one or two finals. Nothing crazy!
WW: Who would you say has helped you the most in your career?
NR: Definitely my family for being there every step of the way! It's a tough sport and to have your favorite people surrounding you is important. Them being there to help me achieve what I want to achieve and be just as committed to making sure that happens is more than any eighteen year old could ask for!
WW: You pretty much won every Jr. Pro Men contest you entered in 2015. Did you ever dream that you would have such a successful year?
NR: I could only ever hope and/or dream! It definitely hit me out of nowhere for sure now that I look back at it! Everything I trained and worked hard for after coming back from the previous season all made it worth it.
WW: Do you have any weird rituals or superstitions before a contest?
NR: Yes, haha. I usually like to be alone, get in the zone a little. I usually will go wet my face maybe even jump in the water if it's hot. I then stretch somewhere away from everyone, but still in a place so I can see who is riding and what's happening.
WW: Who was your biggest competition this year?
NR: I would say probably Cobe France.
WW: Do you enjoy competing or freeriding more?
NR: I really wish I could say freeriding, but truth is I love contests just as much! In saying that, I don't ever want to be just a contest rider. I want to be able to slay a video part then get to a contest and do well in that also. That's the dream.
WW: Do you have any video projects in the works?
NR: Sure do! Can't wait for everyone to see the finished product!
WW: Do you ever get out on the cable or do you prefer to stick to the boat?
NR: I do like to get to the cable to mix things up a bit, but I am definitely a boat rider. I do want to start exploring more of my riding with cable and try to build my confidence riding park though.
WW: What’s the closest cable to you in Australia?
NR: Cables Wake Park in Sydney. I ride there with Courtney Angus all the time!
WW: What else do you like to do at home besides ride?
NR: In Australia my parents own a 24-Hour Fitness center, so usually when I'm not riding I'm there or just hanging out at my house with my mates or family!
WW: Do you cross-train in the gym a lot?
NR: Yeah, I train every day at my parents gym.
WW: What do you do to prevent injuries?
NR: I try to keep good physical fitness, train on the trampoline and work on flexibility.
WW: Any new tricks in the works?
NR: Definitely! Always working on new stuff, whether it be new tricks or just doing the ones I do now differently!
WW: Who are your current sponsors?
NR: MasterCraft Boats, Ronix, Body Glove and GoPro AUS.
WW: Which riders inspire you the most?
NR: Rusty Malinoski probably the most, followed by Deano, Parks, Danny, Massi and a few others. Rusty because he is charging it and showing that just because he has been in the game for a while, doesn't mean he can't still be up there. I respect that.
WW: Who’s part of your riding crew?
NR: I mainly just ride with my mum, dad and sister. But when I have friends come out in the boat it's my pals Jaydo (he is a waterskier/kneeboarder), Jake, Jack or my auntie, uncle and two cute little cousins!
WW: What about when you are in America?
NR: I ride with Parker and Cory a lot. Parker is super motivated to ride early, which I really like.
WW: Where’s your favorite place to ride?
NR: I love riding my river at home, the Hawkesbury River. It goes for miles and no matter what the weatherman is throwing your way it's always a sure thing to find a nice patch of butta' .
WW: What was your most memorable contest experience in 2015?
NR: Probably winning my first world title at the WWA Worlds, or any other contest that I won! The feeling is great.
WW: You’ll be stepping up to Pro Men next year. What are your goals for next season?
NR: Woah! I haven't really heard my name in my head yet as a Pro Men rider! That's crazy! But definitely would like to make top 10 and, hopefully, a few podium finishes! Also, meet new people along the way, land new tricks and just have good times!
WW: Are you going to take a break this winter or stick to the endless summer like the rest of the Aussies?
NR: I don't think I could take a break for a few months! Haha. Since I started, I haven’t taken more than a week off riding unless I was on a family holiday and physically couldn’t.
WW: Any words of advice to up and coming riders?
NR: Train hard. Be committed. It will pay off if you want it to. I have sacrificed a lot to wakeboard instead, like partying and hanging out with friends. I don't miss the partying side and my friends understand. They usually just come out in the boat!
WW: Who would you like to thank?
NR: My family for being my number one supporters. I love you guys so much! And, of course, all my friends, Aussies and Americans. Everyone who at one stage or another, has given me or my family advice, pointed us in the right direction, or just genuinely been helpful! Thanks guys! Yew!
Find Nic Rapa on Instagram and Facebook.