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Bucket Kickers

Issue #2 Sept. 2014 Highlighting Becca Ballantyne

Girl with a Splash! Written & photographed by: Karill Diaz Becca Ballantyne

Over the summer, we embarked on a mission to find and tell the stories of “Bucket Kickers”: inspirational people who push past their limits to achieve their goals and live their dreams. Becca Ballantyne is a great example of such a person. Competing in snowboarding and wake sports, she’s a bright, skilled and talented young athlete with Olympic aspirations. Back in July, I set out with my sisters, Rittel



got her poncho ready. Knowing the rain

After she succeeded in two categories

would clear away by noon, Duany suggested

(2nd place in wakeboard/ 1st in wakeskate),

and Duany, in search

we stick around to have breakfast at a café

Becca Ballantyne and her family returned to

of a female athlete to

near her neighbourhood in Toronto.

their home in Orillia to rest after a good

photograph and write about for our blog. An

A girl has to eat, so I thought it was a

morning of competition. I suppose we

splendid idea though we would miss out on

weren’t meant to cross paths just yet.

seeing the junior athletes compete. I wasn’t

Unaware that the athlete we would later

when The Roots Wake Series made a stop at

too concerned, because there would still be a

come to write about had already driven away,

the Rail Yard Wake Park in Mount Albert. How

lot of action to capture for the remainder of

we focused our attention on the action-

it all came together makes for a great story!

the event. Ironically, our story was to be

packed entertainment before us. The skies

found among one of the athletes that

cleared up in time for us to photograph other

competed while we calmly ate our breakfast.

athletes compete under the intense, hot sun.

opportunity presented itself

The weather forecast called for rain the day of the competition. Surely enough, Rittel

The Roots Wake Series This series is a not-for-profit initiative by long-time competitive riders, whose mission is to invite a new generation of riders to excel in competitive wake sport events. Among these are the wakeboard and wakeskate boat series and the cable series with various tour stops in Ontario, Canada. Visit to learn more. Photo from the 2nd stop of The Roots Wake Series at the Rail Yard Wake Park


The Power of Social Media Used wisely, social media can be an incredible networking tool to connect with your supporters. For old school souls like ourselves, the benefits truly come from building relationships with awesome people like Jancey-Lu and her family.

@Jancey-Lu: “LOL, thanks. It’s my daughter who is the action sports enthusiast. I’m just her taxi driver and bank machine.” After posting the photos we took at The Roots Wake Series on our

Any parent who actively participates in their child’s life and

Facebook page, the Rail Yard Wake Park shared a link of our photo album

encourages them to follow their dreams rocks in my books! At this point I

on their page. As a result, we got a few new ‘likes’ on our page, including

knew I wanted to meet Jancey-Lu and her daughter in person. I told her

one by the name of Jancey-Lu, who also followed me on Twitter and

that I was looking for a female athlete to photograph and write about and

Instagram. Curious about our new supporter, I visited her pages to find

asked if they would be interested in participating. Jancey liked the idea

out what our connection was. While browsing her Instagram I saw several

and mentioned Becca would be competing in the next Roots Wake Series

photos that she had posted of a young woman wakeboarding and

event. She wanted to know if I would be attending. Not having planned for

snowboarding. It made me wonder if she had attended The Roots Wake

that trip, I gave her my regrets. But after discussing it with Rittel, we

Series event we had photographed the previous weekend. Then I visited

decided that it was an opportunity we didn’t want to pass up. So we

her Twitter page and saw that she had tweeted a photo of the event, yet I

made last minute arrangements to drive up to Bush’s Water Sports Park in

didn’t remember seeing her there.

Bala, Ontario, to meet our new Twitter friend in person.

Based on her profiles, Jancey-Lu seemed like a nice and fun person

Having only a day to plan for our trip, Rittel and I were in a frenzy

to get to know. So I followed her back and sent her a private tweet,

calling around places for accommodations. We were fortunate to have

thanking her for following me and that it was nice to have the support of

found a Bed & Breakfast to stay at for one night, but it was a full weekend

someone who is an action sport enthusiast. In her humorous reply she

event and we needed to stay an extra night. Everything had already been

tweeted, “LOL, thanks. It’s my daughter who is the action sports

booked solid. Thankfully, Jancey-Lu graciously offered to host us at her

enthusiast. I’m just her taxi driver and bank machine.”

family cottage. God bless her kind heart!


FOLLOW / LIKE With billions of pages online, we find that the best way to build relationships with individuals on social media is to be very selective about the pages we follow.

CONNECT To make connections, we don’t focus energy on gaining a large following. Instead, we focus on things we share in common with our current supporters.




In the digital age, where social media is known for its great marketing potential, we prefer to see our ‘followers’ as friends who support our work.

We find it beneficial to be genuine and to get to know our supporters on a personal level. Offering to be of service and supportive in return is very rewarding.

360Âş Comeback

Feeling disappointed with her previous performance in wakeboarding, Becca Ballantyne found her focus and made an awesome comeback! She demonstrated that she’s a strong competitor and earned 1st place in wakeskate, during the 3rd stop of The Roots Wake Series. -3-

What makes Becca Ballantyne a Bucket Kicker? Based on the photos we came across on

Second, she knows what she wants to achieve and is going for it. A competitive snowboarder since 2008 and competitive in wake sports since 2012, Becca aspires to

her mom’s Instagram, we had no doubt in our

become an Olympian. Rittel and I observed

minds that Becca Ballantyne was a competitive

her work ethic first hand. I would love to cheer

snowboarder, wakeboarder and wakeskater.

her on when she becomes a pro athlete and

However, it wasn’t until we met her in person

have bragging rights that I photographed

that we could truly appreciate her athletic

Becca Ballantyne when she was starting out

nature. After having observed her compete in a

her career.

few wake events over the summer, we have

Her third impressive quality is her ability

identified special qualities that make her a

to focus and perform well under pressure.

Bucket Kicker.

When Rittel and I arrived at Bush’s Water

For one, Becca isn’t afraid to explore and

Sports Park for the 3rd stop of The Roots

uncover her talents. We got a great example of

Wake Series, Becca was preparing to start her

this when Jancey-Lu proudly showed us a video

wakeboard run. Having just met her and

of Becca learning how to barefoot in the water.

noticing she was a bit camera shy at first, we

She was able to balance on her feet on the very

gave her the space she needed to focus

first try – a difficult feat by any standard. Having

before competing. Unfortunately, she fell twice

tried waterskiing myself long ago, I remember

during her run before she could even pull off

painfully wiping out many times before being

any tricks. Despite her clear disappointment,

able to stand for just a few seconds, only to

Becca managed to remain cool, calm and

wipe out again. As if that weren’t enough to

collected. She refocused just in time for her

prove how talented Becca is, Jancey-Lu posted

subsequent wakeskate run. Whichever

another video on her Facebook a week later, of

‘pattern thinking’ method she used to find her

Becca learning to wakesurf. She balanced on

focus in that moment – it worked! She made a

her board for quite a while and tried a few tricks

remarkable comeback, winning 1st place for

on her first try. The following weekend, she

that wakeskate performance.

competed in the wakesurf competition at

On the Podium

The fourth quality we noted is her

Wakestock Canada and came in 2nd place.

charisma. She’s a laid-back girl with a positive

Let’s give her a round of applause!

attitude and a great sense of humour. What

Great Season of Wake! A rewarding wake season for this 14-year-old rookie athlete

Displaying her skills on the water and landing on the podium repeatedly this season, Becca Ballantyne is on the radar as an athlete to watch out for. -4-

What an awesome season it has been in the world of wake for Becca! This summer, she made it on the podium for wakeboard and wakeskate at each provincial event. In the Canadian Wake Nationals, she placed 1st in Wakeskate and took 5th place in Wakeboard. She also came in 2nd place for the first ever wakesurf competition at the 2014 Wakestock World Championships. We look forward to seeing her ride on the snow this winter season.

really stood out to us about her, was how nurturing she was with younger children. She may not realize it, but she’s a child magnet!

Go Team Ballantyne! It takes a village to raise an athlete. And Becca is definitely backed by her own tribe. Bob and Jancey-Lu Ballantyne are Becca’s

Perhaps her warm smile and playful nature is what draws them to her. Whatever the case, we caught her chatting and playing with children on

Also supporting Becca are her older

more than one occasion. At only 14 years old, she is a natural role model that younger athletes admire and look up to.

Katie take Becca under her wing. They met at a

siblings. We didn’t have the pleasure of meeting

snowboarding competition last winter and with

them, but we heard ‘groovy’ stories from

their common interest in wake sports, she has

Jancey-Lu about her “other awesome babies”.

guided Becca in training for the wakesurf

They sound like a fun bunch to be around.

competition at Wakestock Canada.

number one fans! They are active participants in

Another source of inspiration for Becca is

Becca Ballantyne has a promising athletic

their daughter’s athletic pursuits. Their presence

Katie Tsuyuki – a Canadian champion in halfpipe

career ahead of her, which also includes

at sporting events infuses Becca with positive

snowboarding who also competed as an

snowboarding. There’s no doubt in our minds

energy; they help her stay grounded from the

Olympian at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. It

that she will continue to ‘kick bucket’ in the

pressures that arise from competitive sports.

was uplifting to see an experienced athlete like

world of board sports!

Becca Ballantyne 1st Bucket Kicker


Questions & Answers An interview with Becca Ballantyne, about her life in action sports.

Photo Credit: Rittel Diaz

When did you start competing in snowboard and water sports?

What goals do you want to achieve when it comes to sports?

I starting competing in snowboarding when I was about eight. And then in wakeboarding when I was about eleven/twelve.

For snowboarding, I want to go to Nationals this year and get on the podium.

What do you like most about competing?

What about for wake sports?

I like the atmosphere. [The environment] in my sports is very uplifting and encouraging. Everybody cheers you on and are helpful. And I just love competing because I’m a very competitive person.

For wakeboarding next year, I just want have a lot of fun with it. It’s more about improving your wakeboarding skills then? Yeah.

What thoughts go through your head when you are about to compete?

That’s awesome. So, who are your role models and why?

I need to win my run; but I also need to have fun. Do you visualize those thoughts, or are they just words in your head? It’s mostly just words I use in my head. But I do visualize my body movements – the body movements I will compete with. What do you do to prepare before a competition?

Katie Tsuyuki definitely is one of them. She’s my role model because she’s so connected to all the young girls. Normally when you see a famous person you think ‘they are above me’ and they might act like it. But when you see Katie and talk to her, she doesn’t act like she’s above you. She acts like she’s just a face in the crowd. I think that’s a great thing for her to show-off her skills, teach other kids and help them be better athletes. And as a role model yourself, what would you say to other young athletes?

I get lots of sleep. Lots and lots of sleep! I kinda take it easy the night before. How much sleep would that be? On a usual night I go to bed about 10pm and fall asleep by 11pm. Before a competition I’m usually in bed around 8:30pm.

I would say it’s ok to fall, because if you don’t fall, then you’re not learning. You’re going to spend more time on your butt than you will on your board. If you’re on your board more, you’re not learning. That’s pretty good advice, Becca! Thanks for your time. Ah, thank you!

What else do you do besides sleeping? I prepare all my gear before competition. I take it out and lay it out. I place my stuff exactly where I need it, so I know where everything is.


Highlights in Snaps


Dear Ballantyne Family, This was one of the most memorable summers we’ve had. We are so grateful that you welcomed us into your home and let us share your story. And thanks for being “groovy” about lending Rittel a hand (or a leg) her first time aboard a power boat. It was our pleasure and an honour getting to document Becca wakeboard, wakeskate and wakesurf her way onto the podium this season. We look forward to kicking it with you again! Sincerely, The Diaz Sisters Photo Credit: Jancey-Lu Ballantyne

About Bucket Kickers

Contact Information

About the Author

This is a publication of ‘The Bucket of Life’ – a lifestyle blog dedicated to encouraging individuals to live their dreams and celebrate their accomplishments. ‘Bucket Kickers’ shares the stories of inspiring people who exemplify that mission.


Karill Diaz is the founder of ‘The Bucket of Life’ and is a commercial and editorial photographer. She is fascinated by people who actively pursue their dreams and enjoys sharing their stories, to inspire others to do the same.

A special thanks to Rittel and Duany Diaz, for working hard behind the scenes to make this publication possible.



Bucket Kickers a publication of


Bucket Kickers – issue #2  
Bucket Kickers – issue #2  

For this issue of Bucket Kickers, we spent some time hanging out with Becca Ballantyne – a rookie athlete in snowboarding and wake sports. O...