sport

Ozzie riding back to the future

By Jared Loughnan

Wakeboarding professional coach and Yarrawonga P-12 teacher Travis ‘Ozzie’ Osborne will turn back the clock 12 years next week when he competes at the IWWF World Wakeboard Championships in Abu Dhabi, United Emirates.

Travis won the open world title at the same event in 2007 at Doha, Qatar but this time has been selected in the Australian Wakeboard Team to compete in the veteran’s division. 

“The last time I competed internationally was 10 years ago where I rode in the open division for Australia in Korea, finishing fourth,” Travis said.

“There are eight riders from Australia competing in a range of age categories this time.

“Two weeks ago, I entered and won the first round of the Victorian Wakeboard Series, riding in the advanced division. It was my first event in around eight years. It was a bit like riding a bike, it all came back to me,” he said.

“I’ve spent the last three to four months training really hard, both on and off the water. Physically, it’s a really demanding sport, especially for older guys like me,” Travis joked. 

“The standard in the veterans’ division is pretty remarkable, with many riders still performing tricks that are seen in the open category.”

Travis said he had missed competing professionally.

“It provided lots of opportunities to travel and hang out with friends around the country and the world. 

“I also really miss the competitive side of wakeboarding and the mental and physical challenges that go with it.”

Since getting back into competition Travis has noticed some changes to the sport.  

“Probably the biggest thing is adjusting to the size of the wakes these days and actual amount of riding behind the boat that you need to do to be consistent and competitive at that level.

“It’s a fine line because you don’t want to injure yourself, but you need to spend the time on the water to be fully prepared.”

Travis, who receives sponsorship support from fellow skiing professional Pete O’Neill at Skin Ski & Surf will join fellow riders from all over the world who will compete at the IWWF World titles in Abu Dhabi which will be held from November 19-23.

The event will feature ten age-group categories for both men and women and will offer a $50,000 US cash purse to riders competing in the open men’s and women’s categories.