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 rootswake.com 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!
BEYOND SOCIAL MEDIA
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.
BE A FRIEND
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.
Feeling disappointed with her previous performance in wakeboarding, Becca Ballantyne found her focus and made an awesome comeback! She demonstrated that sheâ€™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
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.
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
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.
PHOTOGRAPHY: karilldiaz.com EMAIL: email@example.com
Bucket Kickers a publication of
ÂŠ THE BUCKET OF LIFE 2014
Published on Sep 18, 2014
Published on Sep 18, 2014
For this issue of Bucket Kickers, we spent some time hanging out with Becca Ballantyne – a rookie athlete in snowboarding and wake sports. O...