Living for work and the wake

Tauranga’s Darren Bishop is the open men’s national Wakeboarding champion.

For a national Wakeboarding champion,  Darren Bishop lives a far different life to  what most people would expect.

The 31-year-old from Tauranga says work takes priority for him these days, and he gets out on the water a few times a week, or whenever he has spare time.

“Last week I won the open men’s national title, and I guess it’s the biggest thing you can win in New Zealand.

“To be honest, this year I wasn’t able to prepare very much and I was surprised I won actually.

“I had done bugger all training because of work and life getting in the way. I probably trained once a week for two months before that, but I planned to do more training.”

As well as work taking priority over training, Darren was struck by an injury in the first competition of the season.

“I had a back injury that put me out for about two months.”

Although Darren’s competition preparation didn’t go to plan, he used his experience and knowledge to take the title.

“I started wakeboarding when I was quite young. My family used to go away waterskiing and I found a wake board and I started doing it more and more.

“Since I was about 16 or 17, that’s when I first started doing competitions, and I’ve been in and out of it since then.”

Darren says he became very competitive in the sport when he began travelling to the United States during their summer for a few months.

“I would be training, working at a Wakeboarding camp and coaching Wakeboarding.

“I first went over when I was 20, and I did seven seasons between then and now.”

Going into the competition, Darren says he wasn’t expecting to take out the title, but he says his experience came into play.

“I had a game plan of what I wanted to do in my head, and I knew what I could achieve, so I just tried to concentrate on that, and it worked out.

“Experience and being a bit older helped, it can be nerve wracking when you get into those situations, I’ve been doing it a while.”

Darren says the competitors are judged on intensity, composition and execution, and a maximum of ten points can be awarded for each of those categories by the judges.

In the final, Darren says he knew he had a good chance of taking out a top two finish as he had come out on top during the heats.

“When I came back in from my final run I was quietly confident, but I knew it would be close.

“There were a handful of tricks in my final run that I knew I needed to get, and I did, but just like anything there’s always things you can do better.”

With conditions playing a big part in how competitors perform, Darren says the weather could not have been better for the open men’s competition.

“The water flattened up at the end of the day for the open men, it was quite nice for a change.

“The water glassed off for us, and when the water’s choppy it affects the wake.”

After the final, Darren says he was relieved and enjoyed celebrating.

Darren says he will continue wakeboarding but his main focus now is work.

“I’m in the situation where work comes first these days and I can’t do a lot about that, but I’m keen to hang on to the title for another year.

“I won’t be able to do anymore trips to America, but I’m definitely going to train hard next summer before these young kids get too good.”


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