Adam Muller of AEM Management catches up with pro women's Flowboarder; Austyn Victoria after her road to recovery from a nagging knee injury last year. Check out this great interview:
Q: How long have you been flowboarding and how did you get started?
A: My first time flowboarding was in 2011. My wakeboarding friend Brad Spencer brought me out to Fantasy Surf to try it and honestly it didn’t go so well. It was a lot more difficult than I thought and I took one too many hard slams to the wall. A few months later I decided to try it again and from there started to improve. In 2012, I was in California with the UCF Surf team at the same time as the tour stops at Wavehouse and The Cove Aquatic Center so I decided to compete. I wasn’t planning on doing the whole tour but after those contests I was hooked!
Q: How’s the knee? Tell us about the surgery and recovery process…
A: The knee feels solid! I’m still not completely out of the woods but I have a much better understanding now of what I need to do to prevent future injury. I had a wakeboarding accident right after I started flowboarding in 2011 and partially tore my ACL. It was my first major injury and I was sent to physical therapy, but it wasn’t aggressive enough for the types of activities I was performing. In 2012, right before the world championships, I was practicing switch and I tweaked my bad knee. I didn't want to stop training so I pushed through and finally confirmed 6 months later that it was completely torn. I had to wait a few more months to get the surgery because I was in the middle of my busiest semester yet, preparing for my exit art show. My ACL was reconstructed using the middle third patellar tendon from the same knee. The first two weeks were rough. I had a lot of pain where they removed the tendon for a good few months after the surgery, which made it hard for me to gain strength, but I just kept pushing through, following my physical therapy routine to a tee. I was off the wave for over 9 months. Towards the end it was killing me to not be able to get on the wave and just carve, especially because I knew my body was capable, but I understand my doctor’s caution and I'm thankful to be back riding full force without any problems.
Q: Stoked to be back riding the wave/competing?
A: Yes! I’m so happy to be riding again. Flowboarding is the only thing that can take my mind off all my other projects and to-do lists and not being able to ride for so long made balancing school, work and everything else a lot more stressful. I’m so excited to travel and see everyone on tour, not to mention ride great waves and see some sights!
Q: What are your plans and goals for the 2014 Season?
A: I plan to compete at all the stops this tour. My main goal is to improve on style, but I’ve also got a list of tricks I’d love to learn. I want to create videos that fully capture my experiences traveling and competing. I also want to find companies to represent and introduce to the sport in hopes of attracting more interest in flowboarding.
Q: Which event/wave you’re most looking forward to riding and competing at?
A: I'm most looking forward to riding at Maeva surf. It looks like an awesome venue and the local riders are all very cool people. I’m always looking to adventure to new places, and aside from the first stop in San Antonio, Maeva is the only prime venue on this tour that I haven’t visited yet.
Q: What board(s) are you riding?
A: I just started riding a wood 40" ash thanks to Mike Pappy and I'm loving it! The shape is perfect for me and I felt immediate improvement. Now I just need to customize it…
Q: Tell us your favorite trick(s) on a flowboard..
A: I’ve been reworking style on big spins lately so those seem to be a favorite right now. I’ve got kickflips in the works too and whenever those connect it feels awesome!
Q: We see a lot of your awesome videos and photography.. Really becoming and ambassador for female athletes and the sport of flowboarding.. Where do you see the sport headed in the next 5 years?
A: I hope the sport will continue to grow, especially the women's division! There are so many talented women competing across all the different action sports being recognized for their accomplishments and I hope the up and coming in flowboarding will soon receive that same recognition.
Seeing as flowboarding is a mixture of many different board skills I think as long as the riders keep progressing and creating awesome media it will take its place among the other extremes sports. The mobile Flowriders improve accessibility for competitions and flowboarding could easily fit into the X-Games format.
Q: What are some of your other hobbies? Working? School?
A: In addition to working at Fantasy Surf, I teach kickboxing fitness and through my photography business I teach photo lessons to children, shoot weddings and try to take advantage of any creative freelancing opportunities possible! I have a passion for traveling, and I plan to make several international trips in the next few years…dream destinations: Aussie land, Peru, Singapore, and Spain to mention a few! But I can’t forget the US, I’ve got to cross off all 50 states eventually. About half of my life is spent in the water; flowboarding, surfing, wake surfing. I graduated last December from the University of Central Florida with my Bachelor of Fine Arts and a business minor. Most recently I’ve been making wearable sculptures and using photography to create identities wearing them. I’m showing my art locally and entering national contests, and eventually I hope to show on an international level. My goal is to perform at least one creative act each day, whether it is taking a photo, making art, cooking a delicious meal or landing a new trick. Creating is what keeps me going!