What were the highlights of your season this year?
Winning worlds was definitely the top highlight of my season! It was a goal I had for the past couple years.... and this feeling of accomplishment is absolutely awesome! This year was my 5th time competing at the WWSC... I ranked 3rd in 2011 and 2012; then 2nd place in 2013 and 2014; and I finally walked on the very top of that podium this year, coming home with the World Title!
Another highlight was to receive the very prestigious "Wake Surfing Person of the Year" award for all my accomplishments and for my involvement with the sport! It sure feels great to get recognized! And I want to thanks the whole wake surfing community for this!
Travels will always be in the top moments of my season! Out of all my travels, Russia and Lake Powell were probably my favorites this year! I also surfed the wave at Oasis near Montreal which was an incredible experience!
An other memorable experience of my season was right after the Koocanusa WakeSurfing Challenge (KWC), we all went out on the boat just to ride for fun! We also double wake surfed behind two Centurion Enzos and I'll remember that day as one of the most fun I had with my wake surf buddies!!! Can't wait for next year already!
Finally a World Champ, how does it feel and what's next?
I'm not sure I quite realize it yet... haha.... it sure feels awesome and extremely rewarding! I worked very hard for the past 8 years to be where I am today. Seeing all the younger girls killing it this year made me believe that maybe it was a little too late for me to reach the top. You all know that in Canada we have very short summers... so being able to get the World title with training only few months a year is even more rewarding.
I am still going to train, compete and coach just like before getting the title! I'm definitely not going to quit doing what I love! I know that it won't get easier, the competition is fierce, but I am looking forward to just be out there having fun and hopefully getting a few new tricks for next year!
Describe your life as a pioneer, an athlete and a coach. What is most fulfilling?
I feel very lucky to be part of the group of people who shaped the sports as it is today... and its just a start! I have been influenced by awesome riders like Dominic Lagace, Sean Cummings, Chase Hazen and Keenan Flegel (just to name a few) and it always feels great to hear people saying they have been influenced by my riding, style, sportsmanship and professionalism and that they look up to me. I love sharing my passion for the sport, and organizing the "Koocanusa Wakesurfing Challenge" is definitely a part of it! I love giving the chance to all skills level and all ages athletes the chance to get introduced to competitive wake surfing. As an example, at our Koocanusa event, we had 6 juniors competing this year! Which is, as far as I know, the biggest Junior division we've seen in all the wake surfing events!
As an athlete, I honestly just try to keep up with the girls in my division! The sport is progressing very fast and the girls are absolutely killing it!!!! So I'm just happy that, at 32 years old, I'm still in the game! I think my variety of tricks is probably my strongest suit and I love when people come to me saying it's fun to watch! I personally really like trying to make up new variations of tricks and I sure enjoy my ride!
What are the H2o School highlight moments in 2015?
We organized a Kids Camp back in July.... OMG, that was so much fun! It was a 5 day camp with kids aged between 6 and 9 years old. We did lots of riding time behind my Enzo, went on a canoe excursion, did some gold panning, fishing off the houseboats, swimming activities, played on the Goof Boards, learned about boating safety and more! When little Ruby, 6 years old, finally dropped the rope for the first time, she had the biggest smile on her face, her eyes lit up and she surfed all across the lake! That will stay in my memory forever! As for the other kids, by the end of the week they learned tricks like "knee down", "sitting duck", "carving", "floater" and even "riding switch"... all without the rope!!!! That was the most rewarding experience I had with H2o School this year!
The past couple years, I have been very excited to see my students improving and doing good in competition. At Worlds, I was almost more nervous when my students were riding than for myself! When I think that 3 of my H2o School's Team Riders (Brittney Nyrose, Emily Agate and Zoey Shields) are now competing in the Pro division.... that makes me real proud! This year, we were 12 riders from H2O School who qualified and competed at Worlds. I am extremely proud of each and single one of them!
I think the most fulfilling for me is to see all my H2o School's team riders and students having such a good sportsmanship in competition! Being a talented athlete is one thing.... but being friendly with other competitors and acting professionally means even more to me!
Talk about the new wake surfing World Ranking System (WRS), your role in the foundation and what this means for athletes in 2016.
The WRS gives a great indication of a competitor's overall season, and their progression against themselves and against other riders during the season, not just a snapshot of his or her performance in a single event.
I think it’s important to be able to evaluate riders on their overall season. We see in other sports for example the world record holder may not always be the Olympic gold-medalist in a particular event in a particular year. The WRS gives us an opportunity to recognize the abilities of various riders from a larger picture point of view. It’s also going to be a great tool for event organizers in seeding heats and divisions at their events.
The model that the CWSA used was based on the FIS Snowboard rules, adapted to the realities of wake surfing events. My involvement arose out of discussions that I had with Marie-France Noel last year over a possible ranking system, and discussions about how FIS snowboarding used that ranking system for Olympic qualification etc. So that idea and those discussions were taken and turned into a draft and then modified for use by the CWSA.
For 2016, I think that the WRS will help event organizers, and help many riders to progress. Any event organizer, whether a World Series of Wakesurfing event or not, can use the CWSA system and have the results of the event included in the WRS. I would expect that the WRS will become the primary selection tool for invitation to the World Wake Surfing Championship for 2016... but I can't say for sure that it will or not!
I also want to mention that the WRS 2015 was a bit different than what it will be in 2016 and after. In 2015, nobody had "base-points" so we had to modify the system in order to implement it. We used the number of riders in each division to establish which "points-scale" to use. In 2016, the average of the "base-point" scores of the best 3 riders in each division will determine the "points-scale" to be used. We are currently updating the rules for the 2016 WRS and I am looking forward to announce it to the public soon!
You had an awesome year, is there anybody you would like to give a shout out to?
Absolutely! First I'd like to thanks Ben Stokie, my better half, for countless hours driving the boat for me, and to my parents who always supported me in all my crazy adventures! Also huge thanks to all my sponsors for their incredible support! I wouldn't be where I am today without them! CENTURION BOATS and ABSOLUT WATERSPORTS with the best wake on the market; INLAND SURFER who makes my "Caro4skim" pro model board; BODY GLOVE for gearing me with the warmest wetsuits and the cutest bikinis; SUNSHINE HOUSEBOATS for our pristine location; WAKESHREDDER and BOARDSTIFF for additional gear and clothing; and H2o SCHOOL for making my dream come true!
Congrats Caro! You are officially the 2015 Boarders Mag Female Athlete of the Year! Keep up the good work!
Check out Caro and her 4Skim Pro Model wake surfboard by Inland Surfer:
Interview by Tyler Marshall