BEC Gange is a two time wakeboarding world champion, and now she’s ticked another achievement on her list – having her very own pro wakeboard.
Gange grew up in Sunraysia and learned the craft of wakeboarding on the Murray River at 13.
These days she calls Clermont, Florida her home away from home.
She’s just about to wrap up another wakeboarding season after spending the past year competing and travelling across the United States, competing on the Pro Circuit and judging smaller wakeboarding events.
Gange and her brother Tristan would spend their weekends on the river during summer.
The family didn’t own a boat until Gange was 11, but no matter the weather, she said they would find themselves on the Murray River most weekends.
“We were down there most Saturday and Sunday afternoons and sometimes we would go on Fridays after school, which was very exciting,” she added.
It was a couple of years after the family purchased their boat that Gange encountered a wakeboard and it was another year before she started competing within the sport.
“One day we saw someone on the river with a wakeboard and they did a flip,” she said.
“We were so excited and shocked to see someone go upside down and we had no clue what a wakeboard was.
“The first time we tried was with a friend and their wakeboard.
“I got up first go but I wasn’t a big fan of it.
“I kept to my slalom ski and my brother got into the wakeboarding.
“I would occasionally wakeboard and then over time I slowly learnt new tricks and then really enjoyed it.”
It’s no wonder Gange would return to the challenge and thrill of the sport, describing herself as a child as very competitive.
“I would get upset if I lost a game of Uno to my family,” she recalled.
“I was shy to people, but loved my sports.
“I was always playing outside with my brother; building cubby houses, riding bikes, we were never afraid to get dirty.
“I did a lot of sports − I had a horse, played basketball and netball.
“I also did dancing for 10 years.
“My parents put a pool in the backyard when we were young, so we spent every weekend in that; I’ve always been a water baby.”
Gange puts her success within the sport down to a lot of hard work, injuries and perseverance.
She said there has been a lot of times she has felt the urge to quit because it takes a big toll on your body and mind.
Along the way she has made sure she has wakeboarded with different people to continue learning different things and keep things fun along the way.
A two time world wakeboard champion, winning crowns in 2014 and 2018, Gange’s achievements within the sport are incredible, but she has a couple of accolades she said are her favorite − including claiming the World Titles and taking the win at Moomba in 2020.
Picking a favourite memory is a much harder task for her though, with Gange admitting it is impossible to choose.
“There are so many great memories from wakeboarding, I can’t pin point one moment,” Gange said.
“Just the whole experience and journey is the thing that I try to appreciate and take in.
“All the people I have met along the way and the travel.
“I met my boyfriend from wakeboarding, I got to spend time with my family out on the river and shared so many great times teaching people wakeboarding.”
Her career as a wakeboarder also led Gange and Tristan to a brief stint in reality TV in 2017 – appearing on Instant Hotel where they showcased Sunraysia. She said this was another big highlight for her.
No doubt having her own pro model wakeboard is another career pinacle, considering it has been a goal of Gange’s since it has been a goal of hers since she started competing.
“To finally have one feels like I can add it to one of my biggest accomplishments of my career,” she said.
“This year we had to hurry with the graphics but I’m looking forward to having more input in the future models.”
Despite this, Gange said the graphics are definitely a representation of her and the soft landings and lightness of the board are impressive.
Raised by parents Graeme and Maggie to be kind, hard-working and respectful, Gange said she has always looked up to the pair. As for an athlete or celebrity that motivates her, she prefers to find her own inspiration in her aspirations and goals.
It seems to be doing her wonders, with Gange now living the dream in Florida.
“Most days at my home in Florida, consists of waking up early for a workout, then going for a wakeboard,” she said.
“A lot of computer work and packing for trips.
“I’ll spend time analyzing my tricks or new tricks that I’m working on.
“Also spending time doing photos or videos for sponsors or filming for products.”
While there is plenty of good things about the sport, Gange said there is also a few challenges – two of which are the financial side of wakeboarding and the physical abuse inflicted on her body.
“It’s a small industry so income is minimal and it’s an expensive sport, with fuel, travel, hotels etc so it can be challenging to make money,” she said.
“I love the sport because it makes you stronger and gives you confidence when you do tricks you didn’t think you could do.”
With the world still at her feet, or should I say beneath her wakeboard, Gange is aiming to continue building her career and continue growing.
She said wakeboarding only lets you compete for so long so she is finding new and interesting ways to help grow the sport and other ways she can continue her career that is useful to both her sponsors and encouraging people to wakeboard.
No matter where she goes, or what she does though, Gange said Sunraysia will always be home.
“Mildura will always have a place in my heart, it’s where I was born and raised and made me the person I’ve become today,” she said.
“I usually get back to Mildura every summer but with restrictions it has made it difficult to be able to return.
“I hope to see my family again soon as it’s been almost two years since I’ve seen them and I usually spend all my time with them in Australia.”
– By ZOEY ANDREWS
BELOW: Gange in action on the recently released board.