Congratulations to O’Neill Girls Wake Skate team rider Jen GilanFarr who won the Womens Event at the 2012 Byerly Toe Jam! It all went down on Saturday April 21, where the best wakeskaters in the world threw down everything they had at the Wake and Gap finals of the 9th Annual Rockstar Byerly Toe Jam presented by O’Neill.
O’Neill Girls is beyond proud to have Jen as a part of our team and we’ve enjoyed watching her progress and push the womens side of sport. Last year at Nationals in Reno, Jen was the first girl to land a kickflip in a contest! And did you see the video we have of Jen landing a Varial Flip (first girl to do so)! We were able to catch up with Jen right after the Byerly event and get a quick Q&A in, enjoy:
How long have you been for pushing a girls division at this event?
“Before I even got into the competitive wakeskate scene in 2007, the girls were pushing for a division in the Byerly Toe Jam. We have always wanted to be a part of the core wakeskate event. A few of us would compete against the guys every year, but it ends up being a pretty expensive statement to make when you know your chances of making into the next round is very very small.”
What were the major challenges in making it happen?
“I didn’t even have a chance to beg this year for the division. Silas Thurman called me up and asked if I wanted to have a girls division in The Wakeskate Tour they were working on, and if I wanted to head it up. The answer was an immediate yes, and the next challenge was rounding up 8 girls. Stop #1, The Byerly Toe Jam, was especially difficult to round up girls for because the gap ended up being pretty big. Most of us rarely winch, and a few girls have never even hit a gap. So it took some convincing to get them to enter in the contest and hit a 6 foot drop clearing 6-8 feet of land. We got really lucky and everything came together last second. I’m really proud of all the girls that rallied and charged the gap!”
Who was your biggest supporter through this process?
“Silas Thurman for seeing the need for the women to be part of such a progressive event if we were ever going to get anywhere. I’d also like to thank the rest of The Wakeskate Tour crew, Ben and Ryan, along with Byerly and Dishman for including us in Stop #1: The Byerly Toe Jam. Not only did they include us, but it’s the first time in the states we have seen prize money for the women’s wakeskate division”
What was it like competing against the girls and not the boys?
“It was refreshing, we are all good friends and supportive of each other so it was really fun. It pushed me a lot harder riding with girls around the same skill level. I think we are going to see a lot more progression in the women’s riding this year with the help of The Wakeskate Tour. It’s pushing us in a new direction, all of the girls are really amped and anxious for the next event. Hopefully we will see more girls winching and branching out into other areas of the sport.”
How did it feel to win the first ever girls division?
“Win or loose, it was so cool to see everything come together. I feel like everything I have invested in wakeskating over the last several years is finally paying off, and I couldn’t be happier. I can’t even explain my stoke right now, but so many people to thank from the guys that built and ran the contest to all the girls that rallied. Looking forward to four more stops, it’s going to be an amazing year!!”
About Jen: Jen’s ascent to the top of women’s professional wakeskating was fast, if not especially furious. With a closet full of trophies, she swept the WWA World Championships the last 4 years in a row. She is the first and only woman to land a varial flip and a wake-to-wake shuv, and one of the few with all-around skills behind the boat, on rails, at the cable or exploring terrain with a winch. Her passion for the sport goes beyond water time, throwing Girls Ride Days and Clinics; also helping build and operate Throw It Down, a global site focused on the progression of women’s wake.
Not only does she rip on a wakeskate but her attitude, love, and passion towards the sport makes it all the more exciting. There are few who love being on the water as much as Jen, and it shows. Regardless of the weather, you can find this girl on the lake almost every morning, rain or shine, she lives for it. Talented on and off the water, Jen is also an accomplished graphic artist, and designed the board graphics for her 2009 & 2011 Integrity Signature model wakeskate.
Check out Jen’s blog: jnonymous.com
Follow Jen on Twitter: @Jnonymous
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