We are stoked to welcome Sandra Botas to the team! We know all about her accolades and what makes her a formidable force on the water, but we want the rest of you to get to know her a bit better. Check out our interview with her below.
C: How old are you?
S: I'm 29 years old.
C: Where are you originally from?
S: I grew up in Madrid, Spain.
C: Name three words that describe you
S: Kind, a fighter, and an animal lover
C: If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
S: Spanish croquetas! They are so delicious and a guilty pleasure.
C: What is your guilty pleasure?
S: I love to go away to my family's ski school. It is a big beautiful lake and there's nature and forest all around. I love to disappear there for a bit to really recharge my batteries.
C: Run us through your training schedule and what that looks like.
S: Depends on the time of year, but normally once the season starts I try to go to the gym twice or three times a week and ski twice a day five days a week. Then, I rest for two days. I do this mainly at my family's ski school, Botaski Complex.
C: What keeps you coming back to the water?
S: The awesome thing about waterskiing is that there is always room for improvement and to push yourself a bit further and better. It's addictive!
C: What are your top three accomplishments?
S: Vice champion for the u21 Europeans, achieving the Spanish slalom women's record, and being Spanish Champion.
C: What do you do when you go through a slump or things don't feel quite right on the water?
S: Over the years, I've learned to try and give it only the importance it needs. What I mean by that is that the world is not going to end because I had some bad sets. I really take time to relax my mind and think about what I can change to get out of that patch. To burry myself in negativity only digs me deeper in the hole. I like to go back to the basics and have fun skiing.
C: Why did you decide to join Connelly and what about the brand do you appreciate?
S: I've always heard a lot of good things about the skis and I had the opportunity to try one. I fell in love straight away. It makes everything much easier on the water. My performance is sold and improving!
C: What are your goals for the 2020 season?
S: I would love to break my own record and get on the podium at the Open Europeans and find some time off work to be able to start going to pro events.
In the modern age of slalom skiing, not once has a single brand stood at the top of the podium in both the men’s and women’s slalom division at a prestigious pro event.
Not once…until now.
At the 2019 World Championships in Malaysia, Manon Costard and Joel Howley dominated their fields. After both throwing down in a run-off for the gold, Manon and Joel clinched the title, a first for each, at the World Championships.
We are overwhelmingly proud of these two, and we know that their accolades won’t stop here. A hearty congrats is in order!
It’s not everyday that a brand rep participates in a tournament, much less a PanAm games, and dominates the entire competition. Andrew Adkison, 5 year Connelly rep and 17 year professional athlete, just came home with the gold from the 2019 PanAms in Lima, Peru!
We caught up with Andrew to see how he’s feeling about his victory.
1. Congrats on your gold in Lima, Andrew! As a Connelly rep, what does a win like this mean to you? I'm fortunate that my passion hasn't changed since I first picked up a board at 14 years old and that I've had such a long, continuing career with a company built around passion for towed water sports.
2. How long have you been with the Connelly brand as an athlete and rep? I'm coming up on 17 years as an athlete and wrapping up my 5th year as the SE sales manager.
3. Describe what you felt the minute you knew you won. The moment I tocked out of my last trick (see triumphant fist pump) I knew I'd put together the best competition run of my career. It was the most exhilarating moment of my competitive career.
4. What board and boot combo were you riding? Dowdy 136 with MD's, which I sell if you're interested.
5. How many gold medals is this for you in your wakeboarding career? Around 30 pro wins total. Four gold medals at events that fall under the Olympic umbrella, two PanAm Games and two World Games golds. At this PanAm games my student Mary Morgan took silver, which was a bonus! So this was my first medal on the coaching side of things.
6. What is the trick you were most proud of throwing down in Lima? Linking both runs together with all my hardest tricks. I knew if I hesitated or bobbled anything the other riders would leave me in the dust.
When it comes to summer time on the lake and bringing your crew to your favorite spot on the water, you’ll need some awesome equipment to break out behind the boat. Wondering what you need to make your day epic and unforgettable? Our full-scale line of gear offers something fun for everyone. Peep our favorite products to pack alongside the swim suits and sunscreen.
If you have a few adrenaline junkies, take them out on our 2019 Hot Rod Soft Top Tube. Built for two people and equipped with an ultra-plush concave deck, this is a favorite among family members whether you’re taking it easy with small children or throwing the big kids around.
While we do have an industry-leading line up of surfers, the mid-line Voodoo always gets the most waves on a big lake day. Its wider tip and tail is great for supporting new riders, so beginners won’t feel intimidated or defeated. This surfer can happily hang back on a wave, or if you want to show off some of your own skills, pounce forward on command.
For friends who would rather take a sideways stance out on the lake, our Pure Package covers all the bases. With our user-friendly Pure board, great for first time learners and experienced riders alike, and our Venza boots, designed to fit a wide variety of sizes, the Pure Package perfectly prepares you for a prime lake day.
Built for stability and easy maneuverability, our voyage combos are acclaimed for making smiles. Stick a couple family members on these bad babies and cheer as they get out of the water for the first time and learn how to cross the wakes. It’ll put an epic stamp on the ultimate lake day.
We are in the heat of the tournament season and our Connelly pro teams have been making names all across the continent, and during these past few months there’s been no lack of bring home the hardware.
At the 2019 Swiss ProAm in May, two Connelly athletes earned bronzed medals, Sacha Descuns in pro men and Manon Costard in pro women. Although Joel Howely did not grace the podium in the finals, he did throw down an incredible performance in the preliminaries - a new Australian record of 5 buoys at 41 off! A few weeks later, Manon continued the Connelly streak by placing third at the prestigious Nautique Masters in Callaway Gardens.
Following the ski team’s lead Connelly riders Tony Iacconi and Erika Lang also popped up on multiple podiums this year. At the first PWT in Katy, TX, Tony kick-started his season with an impressive second place and then continued his podium appearances in Mantua, Utah at the second PWT stop with a bronze medal. Tony now currently sits in 3rd in the tour standings. YEW!
On the women’s side, our fearless women’s pro rider, Erika Lang, finished third behind the world’s best, Dallas Friday and Meagan Ethell, at the 2019 Nautique Masters over memorial day weekend. Did we mention she also won professional women’s trick skiing at the same event?
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
On the Ski Side:
One of our favorites, Joel Howely, is hanging out in Korea for a few months, spreading his love and knowledge of water skiing and sneaking in some training on the side for worlds.
On the Wake Side:
When it comes to pushing boundaries, Steel Lafferty and Mike Dowdy are industry icons. Recently at the Good Vibes Tour at Velocity Island Park, CA., Steel jumped a boat load of people (literally). Check it out here.
As for Mike…well…we suggest you just watch this video
THINGS TO LOOK FORWARD TO:
Although July will be a quiet month for our ski team, behind the scenes Sacha Descuns, Joel Howely, Siani Oliver, and Manon Costard will be tirelessly training for water skiing’s biggest event, the 2019 World Championships, which will take place in August in Malaysia.
For our wake team, keep an eye out for Mike and Tony at the next PWT stop #3 July 13 in Ypsilanti, MI and PWT stop #4 August 3 in Boise ID.
Fined-tuned finesse, snappy spins and bad-ass, boss babe vibes. We are extremely stoked to be adding our very first wakesurf pro to the Connelly team. Say hello to Ashley Kidd! As a 4x World Champion, Ashley is carving a path to becoming one of the most successful wakesurfing women to ever touch the sport and we are honored to be part of her journey.
Check out our Q&A with Ashley Kidd to learn more about our newest family member:
Where did you grow up and how were you first introduced to wake surfing?
I grew up in Corpus Christi, Texas. My family had a house at Lake Medina and we used to drive up every weekend. Originally, I was just a wakeboarder, but after my brother begged me to try wakesurfing, I became obsessed. One year later, I decided to go to the 2010 World WakeSurfing Championships, entering the amateur female division. Immediately, I was recognized for my aggressive style and airs. I received my first sponsorship at that event and was moved up to the pro division. The rest is history.
Name three words that describe you.
Motivated. Happy. Honest.
What are your top 3 accomplishments?
What keeps you coming back to the water?
My passion and love for the sport. It always puts me in a good mood. It is where I have gone whenever I need to clear my mind.
How do you handle going through a slump or when things don’t feel quite right on the water?
I always tell myself that I should be thankful that my body can even do what it does everyday. I can’t get mad at myself when things are off. I just have to take a step back and reset. Yoga and visiting my family helps too.
Run us through your training schedule and what that looks like.
For the most part, I spend 1 hour working out in the gym doing either a spin class, yoga or pilates and then at least 1 hour wake surfing. Whenever I get sore I will just do 30 minutes of cardio and stretching. I always make sure to take at least one day off a week to rest and rejuvenate. Also, I am a very healthy eater. I cook almost every meal, which includes a lot of oatmeal, fruits, veggies and chicken. I believe eating healthy makes me feel good so my nutrition is extremely important to me.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Chocolate and shopping!
What is something most people don’t know about you?
I love baking and used to want to be a pastry chef before I learned how to wakesurf.
Why did you decide join Connelly and what about the brand do you appreciate?
Connelly is a huge, reputable brand well-known all over the world. Signing with Connelly is a huge step forward in my career and I’m so happy to work with such a fun company. I love that they are about getting people out on the water no matter what they are doing!
What are your goals for the 2019 season?
I would love to win another world title this year and just continue teaching people how to wakesurf. I love helping people learn new tricks. It’s one of the most rewarding feelings!
At what events can we look for you this year?
- Lake Anna, VA in June
- Lake Washington, WA in July
- Japan end of July
- Waco, TX in August
- World Championships in Sept.
Strong-willed, persevering, relentless. If anyone can breach the pro realm and hold her own, its Siani Oliver. Although a new face among the elite, Siani is a fierce opponent, and her exponentially growing buoy count speaks for itself. Within two years, Siani excelled from a few at 35 off to running mid 39 1/2 off, breaking records and placing at pro tournaments left and right. But don't let her aggressive style fool you, Siani is one of the most warm and welcoming skiers around and her vibrant, fresh personality meshes perfectly with our Connelly family.
We recently caught up with Siani to take a peak into her ski career - how it began, where she’s at currently and what her dreams and aspirations are for the future.
How did you get involved in skiing and where did you ski most of your life?
My family and family friends all skied on rivers growing up. It was a social thing. Without a doubt, those were the highlights of my skiing memories. But it wasn’t until my teens that I discovered a slalom course and started properly competing. I fell head over heels in love with the sport and began to train at a site in my home city in Gold Coast, AUS. I also worked on and off at Stoney Park in Port Macquarie.
When did you first come over to the States and why?
After I graduated from high school in 2012, I came over to the States to ski at Trophy Lakes in Charleston, SC. I skied there for a month before I ventured back to Europe to back pack, meet people and make memories. I fell in love with exploring but I also realized I really loved skiing. Every year since, I’ve jumped back and forth between Europe and the States, and have been lucky enough to continue traveling as a part of my skiing career. Most recently, these past few years have been spent in the States, especially since attending college in Monroe, LA.
What’s a typical day like for you when you are training hard?
Currently, I’m training at Jodi’s Ski Skool in Orlando and preparing for Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). Normally, I try to give myself 4 weeks of solid training before a tournament. To be at my best, I start my mornings with some stretching, movement, and mobility for half an hour, have some breakfast, then aim to get on the water before lunch. I also use the gym in the early evenings for some off-water training. Along with physical activity, nutrition is also extremely important to me. I try to keep my food choices as fresh and clean as possible. My diet is quite simple - eggs, proteins, fruit, veggies, nuts and lots of tea! I also love to bake, so once a week I’ll get in the kitchen and bake something yummy, and when I make it myself I know exactly what is in it, so throughout the week I can treat myself.
What’s a goal you’ve set to accomplish this ski season?
I want to run 39 1/2 off (10.75 m) in tournament. That definitely has been a big personal goal for me. Also, this year is my first Worlds! I cannot wait. Skiing at a World Championship has been a goal of mine since I started competing.
Talk about Connelly’s role in your ski career.
I learned the course on the Connelly Prophecy. It took me from upping the speed through to shortening the line. When I was skiing in the States after high school, I tried a few other skis from other brands, but once the 2017 GT was released, I never turned back! The ski is awesome, and every year since, Connelly has released one great ski after another.
A formidable force with an impressive winning streak, Manon Costard has asserted her dominance among the greats. During the month of July, Manon swept multiple gold medals across the globe.
Her first win was claimed at Italy’s San Gervasio ProAm, where she breezed her way through 38 off in all three rounds and clinched the title with 4@ 39 ½ off. Shortly after, Manon took gold at France’s Fungliss ProAm with a massive score of 5@ 39 ½ off. To cap off an impressive month, our Connelly sweetheart ventured into Canadian territory and once again did not disappoint, claiming the top of the podium with 3@ 39 ½ off. There is no doubt Manon will be a favorite at her next appearance in the Malibu Open August 17-18. Keep your eyes peeled!
Determination, strength, perseverance and focus, topped with an occasional smile...that's what girls are made of.
We caught Stokesperson and Connelly skier, Ellie Horton training with fellow athletes, Natascha Roettcher, Manon Costard and Siani Oliver.
Hide yo buoys - These girls slay.
This past weekend at Callaway Gardens’ Robin Lake, Connelly Skis newest elite athlete Manon Costard competed for the women’s slalom title at the 59th Nautique Masters Water Ski & Wakeboard tournament. In the preliminaries, Costard put up an impressive score of 3 at 39.5 off to seize the third spot into the finals. Despite battling stiff winds and tricky rollers in the championship round, Costard showed extreme confidence, relying on the predicability and stability of her GT.
“All weekend, the ski helped me create angle and stay early in the course, which gave me some room to deal with the challenging conditions without having to panic or rush at any point,” Costard said.
Initially tying for first, Costard dueled it out for gold with world record holder Regina Jaquess and clinched the win with a score of 3 buoys at 38 feet off for her first ever Masters triumph.
“This first win at Masters, in addition to the amazing emotions it comes with, brings me even deeper certainty in my decision of skiing on the GT.”